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Higley Celebrates Confucius Classrooms

Middle School Performing Dragon Dance
Dance, song, art and pageantry set the stage for a celebration January 31 to honor the three Higley schools selected into the ASU Confucius Institute Confucius Classroom program.

The students are all part of Mandarin language learning programs at Coronado Elementary, Cooley Middle and Williams Field High. In addition, Mandarin students from the Cooley Early Childhood Education Center presented songs they have learned.
“It is such an honor to be recognized and to be officially accepted as a Confucius Classroom. We are joining a small and elite group of schools around the world. In fact, we are the first school in the greater Phoenix area to be a part of this elite group. Last night was a celebration of language learning, culture, and our partnership with ASU's Confucius Institute. I'm very proud of our students and staff for all of their hard work to make this event possible,” Coronado Principal Micaela Swan said.
The Confucius Institute at Arizona State University collaborates with Arizona K-12 schools to offer Chinese language and culture programs that match each school’s unique strengths. This collaboration includes curriculum development, visits from members of the ASU community and connections with schools in China.

“We are very excited to welcome these three new Confucius Classrooms in the Higley Unified School District:  Coronado Elementary School, Cooley Middle School and Williams Field High School. I want to thank the leadership of the Higley Unified School District and the administration at each school for their commitment in developing successful K-12 articulation in Chinese instruction,” said Robert Joe Cutter, Director of Confucius Institute at Arizona State University. “This articulation is helping students reach AP Chinese-level proficiency.  We at ASU are enthusiastic about our collaboration to build a continuous K-16 Chinese program and look forward to having the students in these three new Confucius Classrooms continue their Chinese studies at Arizona State University."

The event included special visitors, including the Education Consul Chair of the Los Angeles Consulate Office of The People’s Republic of China, member of the ASU Confucius Institute, HUSD Governing Board Members and Superintendent Dr. Mike Thomason.

The event also included a musical presentation by Sabina Fu.

“I am so proud that the preschool is now a part of this,” Early Childhood Education Director Patricia Gleason said.

“It was a wonderful night that showcased the terrific Confucius programs we have in the Higley Unified School District. It was so nice to see our students have so much fun performing,” Cooley Principal Shawn Varner said.

Students sang songs in Mandarin and performed cultural dances, as well as presented traditional Chinese performances: a lion dance and a dragon dance.

“I was blown away by the student performers and the terrific costuming,” said Williams Field High School Interim Principal John Ewing. “There were lots of smiles in the audience. Parents who enrolled their children in the Confucius Institute have to be really pleased with that choice.”

Higley schools offer Mandarin instruction at all school levels