How are English and Mandarin curriculum introduced to students at College Park and at Bayside Academy?

All students receive a differentiated, standards based, academically enriched and challenging education. Students in grades K-5 receive content-based, thematic Mandarin immersion instruction in at least half of their classes. This means that students learn to understand, speak, read, and write Mandarin and they use Mandarin to learn other subjects such as math, social studies, and science.  Students have both English and Mandarin teachers, materials, textbooks, and classrooms.  More information about the school’s Mandarin immersion program is available on the school’s website.

At Bayside Academy, the students in the Mandarin program receive two periods of instruction in Mandarin.  They then continue the rest of their classes with the other students at Bayside Academy.

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How much does it cost to support the Mandarin Immersion program at College Park?

Because the Mandarin immersion program is part of the overall school curriculum at College Park Elementary School, the majority of its costs are incorporated into the regular school budget.  Certain enhancements at the school, such as the Technology and Music programs funded by the PTA and SMFC Education Foundation, are also incorporated into the Mandarin immersion program, since it is part of the overall school curriculum. Friends of Mandarin Scholars raises supplemental funds to enhance the Mandarin immersion program at College Park Elementary School and Bayside Academy.  We are now raising funds for the Mandarin Immersion program in 2017-2018 – please note that funding for the 2017-2018 year must be raised by Spring 2017 to ensure that the following items are in place prior to the start of the school year (listed in priority order):

Friends of Mandarin Scholars Fundraising goals

Funding priorityGoal
College Park Mandarin Teaching Aides$165,000
Bayside Academy Mandarin Program
Professional Development$3,000
Operating Costs$4,000

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How do the Mandarin aides support the Mandarin immersion program at College Park?

There are five Mandarin aides that provide before and after school Mandarin assistance to all the students at College Park that attend those activities in the library.  The rest of their in-school time is distributed among the grade levels according to where the school has identified the greatest classroom needs.

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Who benefits from the professional development funds available for the teachers?

The professional development needs are identified by the teachers, including curriculum development for expansion of the Mandarin immersion program to all students in the 5th grade this year (completing a full K-5 Mandarin immersion curriculum at College Park) and coaching for some of the Mandarin teachers, again as identified and requested from within the school.

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How does Friends of Mandarin Scholars differ from other fundraising efforts at College Park and Bayside Academy and in San Mateo Foster City School District?

There are actually three major organizations that directly support students at College Park Elementary School and the district as a whole:

  1. The College Park PTA supports parents, teachers, and staff at College Park Elementary School directly through such activities/programs as field trips, Art in Action, the technology program, Music for Minors, Confucius Day, Art & Science Day, International Day, library materials, the yearbook, social events, staff appreciation events, and many other activities that support student learning and student/family/community engagement in the school. It is also part of a larger state and national PTA organization that helps advocate for children and education in the Legislature and Congress. The PTA aims to raise approximately $90,000 to support all students at College Park (Mandarin immersion program and GATE students), approximately $225/student.
  2. SMFC Education Foundation was established in 1992 as a nonprofit organization committed to benefiting every child in the 20 elementary and middle schools that are part of the San Mateo Foster City School District. The SMFC Education Fund ensures consistent programs in all SMFC schools, supporting such key programs as the libraries and library staff, middle school counseling and the district music program. The Education Foundation is supporting the music at all district schools, an estimated $450,000 for the 10,000 students in the district, or approximately $45/student.
  3. Friends of Mandarin Scholars was established in April 2011 specifically to raise support for the Mandarin Immersion program in the San Mateo Foster City School District. It is a community organization that involves parents, educators and community members in supporting the mandarin immersion program at College Park and Middle School mandarin immersion program at Bayside Academy. Our goal is to maximize support from within the school community, while also engaging the larger community in supporting our efforts. FMS aims to raise approximately $196,000 to support Mandarin immersion education for the nearly 400 K-5 students at College Park and 75 6-8 students at Bayside Academy. The recommended donation for College Park is $500/student and for Bayside Academy is $350/student.

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Why was Friends of Mandarin Scholars (FMS) established as a separate organization from the PTA and SMFC Education Fund?

The Mandarin immersion program in the San Mateo Foster City School District was originally supported through federal magnet and Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) funds.  FMS was established in April 2011, in anticipation that community funds would be needed to provide long-term support once those funds were no longer available.  As an educational foundation, FMS has the express purpose of raising funds specifically to support the Mandarin immersion program within the San Mateo Foster City School District.  The SMFC Education Fund (also an educational foundation) raises funds to support all students in the district, so it could not raise funds specifically for the Mandarin immersion program since not all students in the district benefit from the program in the same way.   The PTA is a membership organization and part of a national organization, bound by strict by-laws which dictate how fundraising is achieved and how funds are implemented into programs.

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Why do FMS, PTA, and SMFC Education Fund need to raise so much money for our public schools?

Public school funding is very complicated.  Click here for a very good overview of education finance in California Public Schools by San Carlos School Board Member, Seth Rothblatt.  Other great sources of information on school finance include EdSource, WestEd, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).  For funding purposes, California has two different kind of district: revenue limit and basic aid.  In a revenue limit district, the state provides aid to meet the revenue limit of funding set by the state.  In a basic aid district, the district gets to keep the extra property taxes that exceed the revenue limit met by its property taxes.  San Mateo Foster City School District tends to fluctuate between being a Revenue Limit and Basic Aid district; it is currently a Basic Aid district.  In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown introduced a new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to bring greater clarity and equity to how revenue limits are calculated and how categorical funding is distributed.  Please check out the EdSource, WestEd, and LAO resources above for more information.  State education funding provides for the basic needs of each school, but many districts rely on local school foundations to provide supplemental support for existing educational programs or they use bond/tax measures to fund capital improvements.  In many local districts, school foundations ask as much as $2500/child in Hillsborough or $1200 in Belmont-Redwood Shores School District.  At SMFCSD schools like Baywood, the PTA is asking for a donation of $800/child.

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How can you help?

There are many ways that you can support our work:

Get to know us: Read through our site and spread the word!

Stay connected: Go to OR LIKE our Facebook page or email list.

Help us raise funds to support FMS: Help plan or attend our events, make a donation, leverage corporate matches, host a garage sale, encourage people to donate to FMS in lieu of birthday gifts, etc.

Items Needed for Mandarin Resource Center: Kid-friendly musical instruments, Chinese books / media

Mandarin-Speaking Volunteers Needed: Mandarin classroom assistants, before/after school Mandarin homework assistance, Mandarin book sales, cultural exchange program, Chinese pen pals to correspond with students using traditional characters, recess or enrichment activities that reinforce the Mandarin language and Asian culture – music, sports, dance, instruments, etc.

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