About 500 Boyle County students will take advantage of the district’s first Mandarin Chinese classes when school resumes Aug. 14.
Samuel Tan and Nears Chen, fellows with the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University, will teach their native language in classes offered to Boyle students in grades three to 12. Tan and Chen, who are career teachers in China, recently moved to Danville and are looking forward to learning more about American culture while teaching local students about Chinese culture.
“This year we’re having a major infusion of foreign language classes for all interested students,” said David Young, assistant superintendent for the school district. “We know that foreign language skills are going to be so beneficial in our students’ lives, especially since we now have such a global economy.”
Tan and Chen are roommates in a Danville apartment that is a short bicycling distance from most Boyle County schools. A welcome party, which is open to the community, will be at 6 p.m. today at the Boyle County Public Library.
The new Chinese teachers already feel welcome in Danville, they said.
“People here are really warm and we really appreciate it,” Tan said.
Both men have agreed to stay for the 2012-13 academic year, though Young hopes both will stay longer. Chen, who has a wife and 14-month-old daughter back home, said he likely only will stay this year. Tan, who is not married, said he would consider staying in Boyle County longer than a year.
Tan and Chen plan to connect their students in China with their soon-to-be Boyle County pupils using Skype.
“The school community and the community at large are really embracing Samuel and Nears,” Young said. “People have donated furniture and other items for their apartment and invited them for many home-cooked dinners. School hasn’t even started yet, but it’s been a really good experience for everyone.”
The rest of the 2012-13 calendar is pretty close to the schedule for 2011-12, Young said.
The last day for students will be May 20 unless they must make up days due to inclement weather.
Fall break will take place from Oct. 8 to 12 and holiday vacation days are slated for Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. Spring break is scheduled for April 1-5, and students get the usual days off for Labor Day, Thanksgiving andMartin Luther King Jr. Day. Students also will not attend classes on Nov. 6, 21 and 23.