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Mandarin Chinese Classes Back at Fewer Bibb Schools

Mandarin classes are back at Bibb County schools, but on a smaller scale.


"This school year, we have reduced the number of teachers we have. Instead of 25, we now actually have 14," said Jane Drennan, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning.


Kids at seven elementary schools are being taught Mandarin. In those schools, kids from Pre-K to fifth have Mandarin class. Last year, it was grades K to 3. That's down from 25 last year. Drennan said some principals miss it.


"That were disappointed that they didn't have it, and some parents have said that they were disappointed that their children didn't have it," she said.


"I teach them numbers, your body parts, some like your nose, your ears, your mouth, your hair in Chinese. I teach them the color words, your family members," said Shengnan Gu, one of the Chinese teachers.


Former Superintendent Romain Dallemand wanted to teach Mandarin to every Bibb student in every grade, but the school board cut the program's budget after he left this winter.

Drennan said there's still enthusiasm for the program, even though Dallemand is gone.


Chinese teachers will get training from American teachers.


"Classroom management, to talk about lesson planning, to discuss specific themes, and some dos and don'ts that they may need to know about," said Drennan.


Drennan isn't sure of the future of the Chinese program once Bibb County's next superintendent comes.

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