From 2007 to 2021 the Center for Equity for English Learners, CEEL, offered the STARTALK Mandarin Summer Immersion Program, through competitive grants funded by the National Security Agency and administered by the University of Maryland. This program included no-cost Mandarin in-person and virtual summer immersion programs for students and professional development for teachers. STARTALK administration transitioned as of Dec. 2021, please see the announcement from the University of Maryland. During this transition, LMU-CEEL will not be offering a program as of Summer 2022. We will continue to update our website to keep you informed as to future funding opportunities.

View our STARTALK scholars page for highlights of our program scholars.

  • For 13 years the Center for Equity for English Learners, CEEL, proudly offered the STARTALK Mandarin Summer Immersion Program, including no-cost language learning courses for students and professional development opportunities for teachers in critical need languages.

    STARTALK is a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency. STARTALK grants fund several types of innovative programs that create strong language learning outcomes for K-12 students, provide in-depth, quality teacher development, and develop support materials and resources for educators in order to meet the goals for critical need languages in the United States. Those goals include increasing the number of students enrolled in critical language studies, increasing the number of highly effective critical language teachers in the U.S., and increasing the availability of quality teaching and learning materials. STARTALK grants currently support programs offered in the following critical need languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian.

  • The STARTALK Program is part of a federal initiative to enhance the national capacity for critical language needs. LMU’s STARTALK program goals are to offer participating students experiences in discipline-based language instruction, including visual and performing arts and extended Mandarin language learning for young learners. To offer this program, LMU-CEEL maximizes partnerships with public and charter schools' Mandarin elementary immersion programs. 

    The STARTALK-LMU Mandarin Student Summer Immersion Program was a grant-funded no-cost Chinese Summer Immersion program designed for students who are currently in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades and who will enter 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades in the upcoming academic year.  Students from any school/district participate as long as they meet the registration requirements.

    Outcomes and Impact

    Over the years, the LMU-STARTALK Summer Immersion Programs served an average of 120 students annually from districts and schools in the greater Los Angeles area. Host sites included Castelar Elementary School, Walnut Elementary, and other neighboring sites currently providing Mandarin Dual Language Programs.  During the 2020-21 year, and in response to the COVID-19 impact on schools and families, we offered a fully virtual summer immersion program. Through this virtual program, we were able to reach families and students across the state and nation.

    The LMU-STARTALK Mandarin Student Summer Programs are based on ACTFL Standards-Standards for Foreign Language Learning and Preparing for the 21st Century, as well as aligned with the Common Core, Visual/Performing Arts, and Physical Education Standards for California Public Schools. The LMU STARTALK Mandarin Student Summer Immersion program has an established reputation in the community and is well known in the Los Angeles area.

    Expected program outcomes are that students will be able to:

    1) Perform Chinese folk art dancing, sing, recite Chinese poetry, complete and describe hands-on culture, art, and craft projects;

    2) Guide family/community members through a marketplace simulation during a culminating experience representative of the year’s theme, Discovery through the Virtual Journey along the Silk Road;

    3) Integrate Chinese language and cultural learning through the Virtual Journey and engage in interdisciplinary instruction with language arts, math and social studies.

  • Pathway 1: Chinese Bilingual Teacher Education

    The LMU Chinese Bilingual Teacher Education (CBTE) program prepares qualified Mandarin teachers to teach in both Chinese and English in K-12 bilingual immersion or foreign language classrooms. Prospective enrollees can complete the Bilingual Authorization in Mandarin, concurrently with an Elementary Education Multiple Subject Credential or a Secondary Single Subject Credential. The CBTE program meets the California teaching requirements through a research-based curriculum delivered by expert faculty. Small class sizes, along with the support and guidance from the faculty, administrators, and staff, will ultimately lead to the certification of Chinese teachers eligible to teach at any elementary or secondary school in California and in many other states.

    Upon acceptance into the School of Education, Chinese-proficient teacher candidates will take the required coursework. For thirteen years, our STARTALK grant provided scholarships for scholars. To participate in this program, applicants must first be accepted to the LMU School of Education.

    Pathway 2: Certificate in Teaching Mandarin – Professional Development

    The Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) offers a professional development certificate in Teaching Chinese in PreK-12. This hybrid (online) program is taught primarily in Mandarin by experienced and exemplary instructors and is geared specifically for Mandarin speakers and teachers in immersion, bilingual/dual language, and heritage language programs for the purpose of increasing their instructional skills. Course content is designed for credentialed teachers and non-credentialed teachers who have intermediate or advanced skills in Mandarin. The 12-unit continuing education program of study was offered through a combination of virtual live webinar meetings and online activities.

    Credentialed and non-credentialed and heritage language teacher candidates complete this 4 hybrid course-series offered through LMU Extension for 12 credit hours. Upon completion of this Summer Institute, participants will:

    • Deepen knowledge and skills in teaching Chinese grammar (Chinese Grammar Pedagogy course);
    • Expand knowledge of content-based Mandarin language, with a focus on the arts and movement education (Content-based Instruction in Mandarin and Methods in Content-Based Instruction); and
    • Apply new skills in content instruction in Mandarin and engage in reflection about their practices (Practicum in Mandarin).

  • Written Testimonials
    I've been enjoying the daily STARTALK lesson with [my daughter]. It's very encouraging to see that all the teachers care about each student by giving them oral affirmation. They are filled with patience and always have a warm smile on their face. Daily instruction is solid, sound, and engaging. Hats off to all the teachers, especial thanks to 1st grade's Ms. Ying & Mr. Chen!-- STARTALK LMU 2021 Parent
    As a former MDLP classroom teacher of 8 years, a National Board Certified teacher, and presently a consultant for dual language schools, I'm wondering if CEEL is looking to recruit new staff? If so, I'd be very interested in joining your amazing team because I believe in the work you are doing. Thank you.-- STARTALK LMU 2021 Parent and Prospective Teacher
    WOW! The Zoom meeting blew me away! Thank you for all your hard work in setting up this rich STARTALK workshop. I was unable to attend in person, yet the recording of the meeting was informative and packed with a thrilling agenda. Thank you!—STARTALK LMU 2021 Parent
    Video Testimonials
    Parent Testimonial: Mr. Stephen Jiang
    Parent Testimonial: Ms. Karem Loyola
  • Video Testimonials
    Student Compilation