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Petition to add AP Chinese Language and Culture Course and AP Chinese Exam at Eden Prairie High School

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Dear Mr. Rollin, Mr. McCartan, and other leaders of Eden Prairie Schools,

The Eden Prairie Chinese Association has initiated this petition on behalf of both parents of Chinese heritage and those with children learning Chinese at different levels in Eden Prairie, to request that Eden Prairie High School (EPHS) and the leadership of our school district offer an Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture curriculum and Advanced Placement Chinese exam. We urge the Eden Prairie High School to restart to administer the AP Chinese exam in May 2018.

We, as parents, deeply believe in the Mission of our Eden Prairie Schools, which is to “inspire each student to learn continuously so they are empowered to reach personal fulfillment and contribute purposefully to our ever-changing world.” The advancement of technologies and the rapid growth of economic, cultural and educational exchanges between different parts of the world are creating a global community that is border-less and filled with unprecedented opportunities.

There are approximately 9000 K-12 students learning Chinese in Minnesota, and this number will keep growing because of China’s growing influence in the world. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoke first language in the world, and is considered a critical need language. As the most important trade partner of United States, China will offer increasing opportunities for young people in this country. Chinese language education will give our Eden Prairie students a valuable advantage for their future education and career development.

Our city of Eden Prairie has been proudly the home of one of the largest Chinese population in Minnesota. Eden Prairie Central Middle School also hosts one of most successful community weekend Chinese school, MN Huaxia Chinese School established in 2004. Counting all the Eden Prairie kids who are taking Chinese classes at community Chinese schools in Eden Prairie, Edina and Plymouth, we estimate there are about 200 students taking Chinese classes over weekends. All these have provided a great environment for the Eden Prairie Schools to work with these local resources to build a strong partnership for Eden Prairie students to advance their Chinese language learning. AP Chinese course and exam at EPHS shall be an indispensable part of our students’ result-driven Chinese learning experience.

We appreciate that EPHS offers Chinese 1-5. However, it is very disappointing that AP Chinese Language and Culture is not offered and that the AP Chinese exam was discontinued, though students are prepared to take it each year. The AP Chinese exam, a widely-accepted standard test of college-level Chinese language skills, would demonstrate our students’ accomplishments and make their college applications more competitive.

Last year’s request for EPHS to provide the AP Chinese exam was turned down. As a result, students found it frustrating and difficult to get access to the exam at other schools.

The offering of the AP Chinese Language and Culture curriculum and AP Chinese Exam aligns with the stated strategies of Eden Prairie Schools, which is to “create partnerships with educators, students and parents to develop and utilize personal learning plans to shape instruction so that each student achieves the strategic objectives.”

Thank you for your consideration.

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