Hadley, Mass—December 14, 2015—The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, one of the top performing Charter Schools in Massachusetts, is the recipient of the 2015 Confucius Classrooms of the Year Award—presented to ten schools across the world for excellence in teaching and learning, curriculum, cultural richness, community engagement, and extracurricular activities. Only three schools in the United States received the award.
“This is a tremendous honor for our public charter school and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Richard Alcorn, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS). “It recognizes the hard work by our teachers and students and shows that language immersion schools offer an innovative and beneficial approach to public education.”
The Confucius Institute presented its 2015 awards at its World Conference in Shanghai. Alcorn accepted the award from China’s Vice Premier, Liu Yandong. The Institute, also known as Hanban, was established in 2004 and provides resources for overseas Chinese language and cultural courses.
PVCICS opened in Hadley, Mass. in 2007 as the state’s first Chinese immersion school. It serves a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse student body comprised of 440 students in grades K-11 and will add Grade 12 in the 2016–2017 school year. Alcorn says that will position the school as the first fully articulated, K–12 Chinese language and culture immersion public charter school in the U.S. Entrance to the school is by lottery.
“We’re thankful to Hanban for this award. As an International Baccalaureate World School we aim to graduate students who are global citizens,” said Kathleen Wang, the school’s principal. “As a tuition-free, public charter school, we give students access to learning Chinese that has not been available to them.”
Long an advocate for removing the barriers for entry for new and innovative charter schools in Massachusetts, Alcorn recently testified before the state Joint Committee on Education telling lawmakers that Massachusetts – and the New England region – are behind the national curve in adopting language immersion programs.
“State law should reflect the fact there is no single school model that is the best for all students, and it should support innovation and choice with a variety of quality alternatives,” Alcorn testified.