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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Thursday, December 01, 2011

HISD Gathers Experts in Chinese Language and Culture Education

District explores options for offering more students access to rigorous Chinese programs to prepare them to thrive in a global economy


National leaders in Chinese language and culture education will visit HISD on Friday, December 2 to discuss the district’s desire to expand its global language offerings for students interested in learning about the country that now boasts the world’s second-largest economy.


Thursday’s public presentation before the HISD Board of Education, HISD staff, and community leaders will feature remarks from Trustee Harvin Moore, who recently joined College Board officials on a fact-finding trip to China, and Dr. Grier. Other presenters include:


·         Asia Society Chairman Charles Foster, who will discuss the need to keep Houston competitive on a national and global level;


·         Bob Davis, executive director of the College Board’s Chinese language and culture initiatives, who will speak on successful programs in Chicago Public Schools; and


·         Ed Park, principal of the Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School in San Diego.


“This informational gathering is in direct response to the community’s demand for HISD to offer a diverse portfolio of relevant and rigorous educational programs that prepare Houston’s next generation to thrive in a global economy,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier.


Houston is uniquely positioned to offer a robust Chinese language and culture curriculum. The nation’s fourth-largest city boasts an economy that would rank as the world’s 30th-largest economy if Houston were an independent nation. Sixty-two of the world’s top 100 non-U.S. based corporations have a presence in Houston. Ninety-two countries have consular offices here.


As part of its effort to expand Chinese language and culture course offerings, HISD has applied for a $150,000 seed grant from the College Board to create a prestigious Confucius Institute, which would serve as a central hub of HISD’s Chinese language program, offering information and instructional resources, coordinating professional development for teachers, and strengthening partnerships with local and national organizations and institutions who have expertise.


The district, in partnership with the Asia Society, currently operates Confucius Classrooms at three schools: International High School at Sharpstown, Houston Academy for International Studies, and Kolter Elementary School. HISD also plans to expand the number of these classrooms and to seek additional models to increase access for students to learn about the language and culture of China.


Friday’s public meeting begins at noon in the Board Auditorium at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 West 18th Street.


The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.


For more information, visit the HISD Web site at

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