On March 7, Acting Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer and other state and local education officials welcomed a delegation from the Taiwan Ministry of Education, as part of a partnership designed to promote joint projects and academic exchange in language education and the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

In addition to a meeting with New Jersey Department of Education officials, the five-member delegation from Taiwan visited a fourth-grade Mandarin Chinese dual-language immersion program at the Village Elementary School in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.

In 2023, the district was honored by the New Jersey School Boards Association as an exemplary program for its  “Dual Language Immersion Program. ”

As a model for dual-language immersion opportunities, West Windsor-Plainsboro offers programs in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish from kindergarten through grade five, in which instructional time in all subjects is equally split between English and the partner language.

“This unique partnership underscores the growing number of language immersion programs that provide diverse learning opportunities for students and help prepare them to succeed in a global economy,” Dehmer said. “We are proud of the academic programs offered here in New Jersey, and we share the philosophy that we can always take new approaches and implement innovative ideas to further improve our schools.”

“The memorandum of understanding between MOE in Taiwan and NJDOE marks a significant step for international collaboration in education,” said Dr. Min-Ling Yang, director of the education division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York. “We firmly believe this partnership will enrich the educational experience for students and teachers for both sides.”

In the 2022-2023 school year, 77 of the 667 school districts, charter and renaissance schools in the NJDOE’s School Performance Reports offered instruction in the Chinese language, translating to a total of 15,790 New Jersey students from kindergarten through grade 12. Last year, 174 high school seniors graduated with the State Seal of Biliteracy in Mandarin Chinese.

The recent visit, coordinated by the NJDOE, stemmed from a 2023 memorandum of understanding signed by the NJDOE and the Taiwan Ministry of Education as a way to discuss and exchange innovative approaches to educating students.

The memorandum of understanding includes Mandarin exchange programs for both New Jersey students and educators to learn in Taiwan. In addition, the Sister School Partnership program allows schools in New Jersey and Taiwan to pair with suitable counterpart schools for cultural exchange and language-learning programs.

To complement this effort, the NJDOE is also participating in the Mandarin Chinese Language Teachers Program, in which school districts can hire highly qualified Mandarin Chinese educators by leveraging NJDOE regulations that allow a limited certificate for noncitizen teachers.