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Our Town: 'Nice to meet you'

Original post made on Mar 26, 2008

The six girls and two boys smiled shyly as they got off a small white bus on a recent Saturday at JLS Middle School in Palo Alto.

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Comments (2)

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Posted by Ann Pianetta
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2008 at 9:29 am

This is a great program that has been in existence for 16 years. Keiko Nakajima, PAUSD Japanese teacher at JLS and Jordan has been running this on her own for the past 6 years. It is truly one of the best exchange experiences I have ever seen. I was a chaperone on this exchange in 2006 and for 2 weeks were were given VIP treatment on behalf of the city and school district officials of Tsuchiura City, Japan.

It would be really great if this could be replicated with other language teachers. Short of that, it would be great to have language immersion classes (4 hours a day) in Summer School sessions to give kids an idea of the language and culture they are interested in.

Like this comment
Posted by Belle Griffiths
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 5, 2008 at 8:48 am

Keiko Nakajima should be commended for her dedication to foreign language learning and the PAUSD language program. Japanese language teaching is not fully integrated into all grade levels within the secondary school program so Ms. Nakajima continues to offset this with after school programs. She also spends an enormous amount of personal time on the exchange program to ensure it happens. While the exchange program has been integrated into the school system in Japan, it has yet to be in Palo Alto. Given the current emphasis on language learning and cultural experience, PAUSD needs to find a way to better and more fully integrate these into all grade levels within the district. I am not sure the language task force, which concluded the first quarter of this year, had much impact in this regard!

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