By Samuel Glasser
The Asia Society, a leading educational organization, has given the Herricks school district a grant to be used for various programs that would bolster the district’s Chinese language courses.
The board formally accepted the $8,210 grant at its meeting last Thursday. It will be used in connection with the Confucius Classroom day activities along with travel to the National Chinese Language conference to be held in April in Houston, and other Asia Society events.
Mandarin Chinese is offered at Herricks Middle School and Herricks High School. The funding has been used to provide classroom materials and Chinese cultural performers for student assemblies.
The Herricks schools are part of the Confucius Classroom Network, a group of 100 schools nationwide that come together to promote the teaching of Mandarin Chinese, a spokeswoman for the district said.
The Asia Society, based in Manhattan, distributes funding from the Chinese government to the network schools to support their programs.
Rob de Picciotto, assistant director of the China Learning Initiatives at the Asia Society, said that Confucius Classroom day is an annual project, “essentially an effort to celebrate Chinese culture in a way that involves students and community members beyond just those enrolled in Mandarin language classes.”
Herricks has been a member of the network since 2009, he said.
The mission of the Asia Society, founded in 1956, is to promote mutual understanding of the arts, business, culture and educational institutions of Asia and the United States.
Also at its meeting on Thursday, the Herricks school board deleted about two dozen policies from the district’s policy manual and adopted five revisions.
In response to a question from the audience on their significance, Fino Celano, the district superintendent, said the changes were just a matter of “systematically going through the policy book to update it.”
“It’s consolidating and updating the policies, many of which are just one line,” Celano said. This was last done 10 years ago, he said.
The board also approved two summer programs.
Camp Invention, in partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is a weeklong summer program offering lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. It is geared for children entering first through sixth grades.
The district is also partnering with the Glen Cove YMCA to run the day camp this coming summer from July 5 to Aug. 11 at the Denton Avenue School and Herricks Middle School.
District administrators will present an overview of the district budget at the next meeting on Feb. 16.
It will also be discussed at subsequent meetings in March and will be voted on by the board in April.