On September 27, 2022, Chinese Consul General Zhao Jian visited the Minnetonka School District. Superintendent David Law and the principals of five elementary and middle schools which offer immersion Chinese extended a warm welcome to Consul General Zhao and his delegation, and introduced him to the District's Chinese Immersion program.
If learning a second language during elementary school is an important value for your family, enroll in our Language Immersion Program beginning in Kindergarten!
Our District is home to Minnesota's largest Language Immersion Program with more than 3,000 elementary students enrolled in either a Chinese or Spanish full immersion program.
Chinese is offered as a school-within-a-school program at Excelsior and Scenic Heights Elementary Schools. About half of all Kindergarten students at each school enroll in Chinese Immersion and half enroll in the English Kindergarten program. All of our Chinese Immersion teachers at Minnetonka are native speakers.
In our Immersion Program, 100% of the classroom instruction is taught in Chinese from kindergarten to 2nd grade. Students begin English Language Arts and reading instruction in third grade. Our students perform exceedingly well in both English and Chinese. By 5th grade, our Chinese Immersion students score as well on English reading and writing tests as their peers in the English program.
As a District, we have had a strong connection with China and Chinese education for over 25 years. We have been exchanging teachers with Hangzhou Foreign Language and teaching Chinese language and culture since 1985. We have established sister schools from Hangzhou and Beijing for our High School, Middle Schools and Elementary Schools. In addition, we have exchanged students at every level in order to enrich our understanding and pass cultural values between our two great nations.
Why Learn Chinese?
- Chinese is spoken by one-fifth of the world’s population and is the number one first-spoken languages. Learning Chinese will open many career opportunities for students who can acquire fluency.
- In Minnetonka, we have a longstanding and positive history teaching Chinese Language. We were one of the first school districts in Minnesota to offer Chinese as a world language in 1989. Today, more than 750 students (K-12) study Chinese in Minnetonka.
- Sister school arrangements with elementary and high schools in Xian, Beijing and Hangzhou allow students authentic exchange opportunities. We also host an exchange teacher from the Hangzhou Foreign Language School each year. In turn, Minnetonka teachers have taught in Hangzhou and Beijing.
- Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, both our state and federal government have made Chinese language and culture an important educational investment. China's growing economic presence will only make Chinese Language more of a factor in a global economy. Currently, China holds the largest portion of American debt and is quickly becoming one of the world's economic superpowers. Many Minnetonka businesses regularly conduct business with China.