NewsOn6.com

JENKS, OK -- Jenks Public Schools has been awarded about $1.5 million to fund the first Chinese language immersion program in Oklahoma, according to Jenks Director of Communications Tara Thompson.

The grant is funded through a U.S. Department of Education program that develops intensive study of languages considered critical to U.S. national security.

The Jenks project, called "The Chinese Initiative," will create a partial Chinese language immersion program at Southeast Elementary School.  The immersion program will roll-out gradually over the next five years and eventually serve at least one class (30 students) per grade, kindergarten through fourth grade.  

The grant will also provide teachers and administrators substantial professional development and training in immersion instruction from nationally acclaimed experts in the field, as well as train and certify the Chinese speaking teachers needed in the immersion program.

The project includes the development of a University of Oklahoma Chinese language curriculum so students can continue the intensive study through college level.

The school learned of the grant Wednesday from Senator Jim Inhofe, according to Thompson.