Teachers and staff members from Mesita Elementary last week waited anxiously at the El Paso International Airport to welcome their newest co-worker: a Chinese exchange teacher who will provide Mandarin instruction to students in the Early Childhood Development Center throughout the 2019-20 school year.
After some unforeseen flight delays that moved her arrival for a day, teacher Yan Liang finally arrived in El Paso on Friday, Aug. 9. Mesita teachers greeted her with flowers, cheers and a big welcome sign.
“We are so excited to add Yan Liang to our staff for this year. With her help and guidance, our students are sure to have an invaluable experience learning, not just the Mandarin language, but also Chinese culture,” said Principal Laila Ferris. “We know that she will be a wonderful fit at Mesita and that she will help us meet the academic goals of our students.”
Mesita’s renown Connecting Worlds/Mundos Unidos dual-language program offers students instruction in both English and Spanish. But for several years, the school has added Mandarin Chinese to the curriculum to help students be ready for a 21st-century economy.
Yan is in El Paso as part of the Teachers of Critical Language Program, which placed 28 teachers in U.S. schools this academic year.
The program is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages in U.S. schools. This program enables primary and secondary schools to strengthen their teaching of critical languages by bringing Chinese, Egyptian, and Moroccan teachers to the U.S. to teach their native Arabic and Chinese language for an academic year.
It is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, an international nonprofit organization that prepares individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.
Story by Gustavo Reveles | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD