West Contra Costa Unified to expand Mandarin dual immersion school
By popular demand, West Contra Costa Unified will expand its landmark West County Mandarin School from grades K-6 to TK-8 in the 2024-25 school year.
West County Mandarin School was initiated in 2016, and is the first Mandarin dual immersion public school in California to be authorized as an international baccalaureate school. The district’s school board, at a meeting March 1, unanimously voted to expand the program to include grades seven, eight and transitional kindergarten.
While community members enthusiastically welcomed the expansion, not all agreed on the district’s plan for locating the school. The school is currently housed at the Pinole Middle School campus, but needs more room to accommodate the additional students. Some parents have urged West Contra Costa Unified to move the school back to its original location at the district’s Serra campus in Richmond, which they said is a more central location for families since the school enrolls students from all over the district.
The district proposed keeping grades TK-5 at the Pinole Middle School campus and moving grades six to eight to Betty Reid Soskin Middle School in El Sobrante. The school board approved that plan with only two board members, Mister Phillips and Leslie Reckler, voting no.