Post Oak Academy welcomes diversity in many ways, but the most prominent way is the Chinese Immersion program that is recognized by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
The immersion program is rigorous. Students enrolled in grades K-6 spend almost half their days being taught entirely in Chinese.
While that may seem intimidating, the school’s Executive Director for School Improvement, Camela Diaz, said that learning is different for children.
“As adults, we’re afraid of things we don’t understand,” she said. “The little ones are just not afraid.”
Diaz is known around the school as an expert on the Chinese immersion program since she was the principal there for 13 years, and helped start the now 12-year-old program. She said one of the most rewarding parts of her work in the district is seeing the kids grow and improve over the years.
With the current program lasting only until the students are in sixth grade, that leaves a two-year gap between Post Oak and Eastern High School’s Chinese language program.
Since Post Oak’s school enrollment is steadily growing, despite Lansing School District’s overall downward trend, the district recently received a bond allowing Post Oak to expand their school size.
This will allow the school to incorporate grades seven through eight, giving students the opportunity to have 13 years of language study before high school graduation. The district hopes that this will prepare students for the real world and give them an advantage that very few schools offer.
Diaz said the teachers recognize that language isn’t for everyone. While the school does its best to teach each student, sometimes it just doesn’t click, and she said that is OK. She said that what matters is that they’re given the opportunity to try.