Mandarin Chinese Immersion School
The HISD Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS) opened in August 2012, initially serving pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. Thanks to an HISD bond passed in November 2012, the school is expanding to serve pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. It is the first fully immersive Mandarin Chinese magnet program in the Houston area.
As a magnet school within HISD, the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School has no religious affiliation. Students’ religious convictions do not factor into admissions, and the curriculum does not include theological material. While there is no institutionalized prayer in the school, there is a daily minute of silence during which students may choose to pray. Additionally, absences due to religious holidays do not count against a student's record, though the student is still responsible for make-up work.
Location and Facilities
MCLIMS is currently located in the independent municipality of Bellaire just inside the 610 West Loop, opposite Episcopal High School and the Post Oak School. An affluent neighborhood of single-family homes lies to the school’s south and east. This is not MCLIMS's permanent home, however; it will be moving to a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility in 2017. Construction of the new campus began in December 2014.
The new facility will be located at the intersection of McCulloch Circle and West Alabama, adjacent to the School at St. George Place, with which MCLIMS will share athletic fields and other outdoor space. $32 million from the 2012 bond has been budgeted for construction of the new campus, which will feature architectural motifs inspired by the Mandarin characters for "sun" and "moon." The building will feature an open, multi-story "learning commons" which will serve as a computer lab and technology center, as well as a multi-purpose "maker space" workshop. Other campus features will include open and enclosed playgrounds and a vegetable garden.
All students seeking to attend MCLIMS must apply through the standard HISD elementary magnet application. Applicants must submit 1) proof of HISD residency 2) proof of age (kindergarteners only) 3) previous year’s final report card or Pre-K Progress Report (if applicable) 4) first grading period of current report card and 5) an application.
During the 2014-2015 school year, only grades PreK-4 will partake in the immersion program. Each year, the program will expand by one year as students move up, and in 2018, the school will complete its expansion to grade 8. While no prior knowledge of Mandarin is required for PreK or kindergarten students, new students entering at higher levels are required to attend a Mandarin “boot camp” in early August.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
Students have daily classes in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The school offers PE, Technology, and the Fine Arts as ancillary classes. All MCLIMS students participate in the language immersion magnet program. Starting in Pre-K, students spend half their instructional day in a Mandarin class and the other half in an English class. Initially, students are taught to read and write in simplified characters. They are gradually introduced to traditional characters in the upper grades.
Students who are identified as Gifted and Talented (G/T) receive additional support and instruction through a Vanguard Neighborhood program.
Accommodations are available for students with special needs who meet the requirements for admission. If the parents already have documentation about the student’s special needs, the school will need a copy of that documentation. After receiving the documentation, the school will set up an annual ARD meeting that the parents, the student, an administrator, a core subject teacher, a special education teacher or 504 representative, and an HISD advocate will attend to discuss the specific modifications necessary for the student and to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student. Every teacher will receive a copy of the modifications for the student after they are set in the ARD meeting.
If the parents want to request modifications for their child, then the special education teacher will give the student’s teachers paperwork to document the student’s behavior and any modifications the teacher uses for the student. After 6 weeks of documentation, the teachers will turn in the paperwork, and the special education teacher or 504 representative will call a meeting similar to an ARD meeting. If the meeting determines that the student needs accommodation, then the school will have documentation of the student’s special needs and will follow the same procedures as above.
MCLIMS focuses exclusively on immersion in Mandarin Chinese. Standard subjects are taught in the language, and the curriculum also includes a focus on Chinese culture.
MCLIMS’s art teacher is bilingual in Mandarin and English. Classes are taught in both languages.
No information concerning MCLIMS's technological facilities or technology policy is available at this time.
Students have many opportunities to explore Chinese culture with their classmates through events such as the Chinese New Year Festival and Chinese Culture Day at Asia Society Texas.
On Halloween, the school celebrates "Storybook Character Day," during which students dress up as their favorite literary characters and share those characters' stories. The school also hosts a field day.
No information concerning MCLIMS's athletic programs is available at this time.
Parents can join MCLIMS’s PTO or partake in HISD’s VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) program. On Saturdays, the school is typically open to all students, parents, and teachers who would like to volunteer around the school or in the Chinese garden.
The school also has a Shared Decision Making Committee, through which interested parents can join with teachers and community members to advise the principal on important administrative matters.
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6300 Avenue B, Bellaire, TX 77401
*Many of the HISD schools we profile are among the most selective, popular, and coveted magnet schools in the district. For schools which rank in the top 10 in their level, we have presented the ranking alongside the data.
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