About Us

Program Description

Portland Public Schools (PPS) is home to an innovative K-12 Mandarin Chinese program. Beginning in kindergarten, students spend half of the school day learning in Mandarin Chinese, and half of the school day learning in English, according to a 50/50 immersion model. Students in the program continue their studies in middle school with Social Studies and Chinese Language Arts taught in Mandarin. The high school Mandarin Immersion Program continuation offers both face-to-face and blended online courses incorporating language and content-based instruction. For students at participating schools, multiple levels of Chinese as a World Language and Chinese as a Heritage Language classes are also available.

The PPS Mandarin Immersion Program began at Woodstock Elementary School (K-5) in September 1998 as a grassroots effort by parents and educators who saw the need to accommodate the desire of a growing interest in learning Chinese language and culture in the community. As the program expanded with each entering class of Kindergartners every year, the program grew to include Hosford Middle School (6-8) and Cleveland High School (9-12). Students in the K-12 Mandarin Immersion Program learn Mandarin Chinese and are exposed to various aspects of Chinese culture as they study various core subjects through developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction.

In 2005, the National Security Education Program (NSEP) awarded PPS and the University of Oregon with a generous grant and challenging task: To establish the nation’s first K-16 Chinese Flagship program that not only graduates students who are professionally proficient in Mandarin (at the Superior level based on ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines) but also provides a model for replication by other schools. The Oregon Chinese Flagship is unique for its continuity and program coordination from the elementary level through college. Portland Public Schools work closely with the University of Oregon in professional development, curriculum articulation, and assessment, leveraging intellectual and logistical resources from both communities.

As a K-12 Mandarin Immersion Program, Portland Public Schools is especially proactive in providing students with real-world experiences, as well as offering flexibility in learning through online instruction. In 8th grade, Mandarin Immersion Program students participate in a year-long capstone project where they prepare for, experience, and reflect upon two weeks living and learning in China. Woodstock Elementary School, Hosford Middle School, and Cleveland High School are also honored with a strong relationship and exchanges with their respective sister schools in Suzhou, China. Upon high school entrance, students are also offered the flexibility to choose online coursework to better coordinate with their academic and extracurricular schedules, and increase time spent learning in Chinese.

The World Languages Institute serving heritage learners came into being in 2004 as PPS embraced a large number of newcomer families from China. At the World Languages Institute at Franklin High School, students work toward strong bilingualism in English and Mandarin Chinese with course offerings in Mandarin 5-6, Mandarin 7-8, and AP Chinese.

September 2006 was a pivotal year for the Oregon Chinese Flagship. Woodstock Elementary doubled its capacity for Mandarin Immersion, making the entering class of Kindergartners approximately 60 each year. Also, the first group of Chinese Flagship Scholars entered the UO Chinese Flagship that autumn. Students graduating from the PPS K-12 Chinese Flagship aim to be qualified to apply for a number of Chinese Flagship Programs at prestigious universities across the country. Part of The Language Flagship, these programs help students pursue their chosen area of expertise while continuing their education in Mandarin. Past graduates have studied in majors ranging from International Relations, Mathematics, to Art History, all the while taking university-level academic requirements in Mandarin.

The Oregon Chinese K-16 Flagship Program will create unparalleled opportunities for students who are enrolled in the Mandarin Immersion Program and World Languages Institute at PPS. Currently, there are over 400 students participating in the Mandarin Immersion Program, and over 700 students altogether learning Mandarin in the Portland Public School District.

For program entrance information in the Portland Public School District, please click on How to Apply.

Mandarin Immersion at Woodstock Elementary School

The elementary school portion of the K-12 Mandarin Immersion Program sets a solid foundation for the long-term goal of students becoming bilingual and bi-literate. Students spend half their day learning in English and the other half learning in Mandarin. Through age-appropriate curriculum and instruction, students develop strong academic and language skills (targeted to Novice High to Intermediate Low by the end of 5th grade).

Mandarin Immersion at Hosford Middle School

Students in middle school continue their Mandarin language and cultural skill development during daily content-based, theme-based Social Studies classes and Mandarin Language Arts classes. In continuing to move students toward a high level of functional proficiency (Intermediate Mid by the end of 8th grade), the three-year middle school experience culminates with an opportunity to participate in a two-week research residency in Suzhou, China. Students participating in the China Research Residency utilize their language and cultural skills to navigate day-to-day aspects of living and to conduct research based on student-centered inquiry projects.

Mandarin Immersion at Cleveland High School and World Languages Institute at Franklin High School

PPS offers rigorous core academic courses in Mandarin along with advanced-level face-to-face and hybrid online Mandarin language courses. Both heritage and immersion students enroll in these courses with the targeted outcome of Advanced Low to Advanced Mid based on ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines in speaking and writing by the end of high school.

Students applying to become a university-level Flagship Scholars are strongly encouraged to participate in special preparation courses both locally and abroad along with community-based language learning experiences. Examples of some of these opportunities can be found on the Resources page.



September 1998

First group of Mandarin Immersion Program students enter Woodstock Elementary

September 2003

Atkinson Elementary establishes Chinese Heritage Program

September 2004

World Languages Institute at Franklin High School offers Chinese Heritage Program


First group of Mandarin Immersion Program students enter Hosford Middle

September 2005

K-16 Chinese Flagship grant awarded to Portland Public Schools and University of Oregon

September 2006

Woodstock Elementary Mandarin Immersion Program classes double in capacity


First cohort of students enter University of Oregon Chinese Flagship

September 2007

First group of Mandarin Immersion Program students enter Cleveland High

April 2008

Eighth Grade China Research Residency begins in Suzhou, China


First Chinese Language Flagship Capstone for undergraduates in Nanjing, China

September 2009

Adoption and realignment of new Woodstock Elementary Mandarin Immersion Program curriculum