China on the Potomac

China on the Potomac
China on the Potomac

Sidwell Friends earns national accolades for its Chinese Studies Program.

This April, the National Chinese Language Teacher Association (CLTA), an organization devoted to the study of Chinese language, culture, and pedagogy, lauded Sidwell Friends at its annual conference. The CLTA Journal editorial board awarded the School and its teachers “Distinguished K-12 Chinese Program in the United States.” This honor is only given to a small number of schools across the country and is based on the strength of the curriculum, student achievement, community engagement, and the experience and quality of the teaching staff across divisions.

As if to prove the point, junior Max Snow ’24 also earned recognition from the CLTA just one month later. Snow’s writing went up against hundreds of other Chinese-language students, and his in-class essay will be included in this year’s Selection of American K–12 Outstanding Chinese Works. “It was a very competitive process because the committee received countless submissions from K–12 Chinese programs in the United States,” says Upper School Chinese teacher Qihui Tang. What’s more, 8th grader Gardiner Dietrich ’27 took third place nationally in the 2023 National Chinese Speech Contest sponsored by the American Academy of International Culture and Education and the CLTA. This year’s theme was “How My World is Changed Because of Chinese.”

“Our teachers are second to none,” says Chinese Studies Chair John Flower of the many achievements in his department. For the teachers, the “Distinguished K-12 Chinese Program in the United States” award is just icing on the cake. “The icing is meaningless without the cake,” says Middle School Chinese teacher Fei Reed. “The cake is the work we do in and outside the classroom every day.  It’s wonderful to see students broaden their worldview by learning and experiencing the Chinese language and culture in a fun and engaged way.”

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