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About Mandarin Immersion in RWC


Back in 2013, a group of parents interested in bringing Mandarin Immersion learning opportunities to Redwood City came together to garner support from the community to start a program in the public school district. Through grassroots organizing and in close collaboration with Redwood City School District (RCSD) administration, the group’s proposal to establish a K-8 Mandarin Immersion Program was approved by the RCSD School Board. The inaugural Kindergarten and first grade classes started in the fall of 2015.

Today, the Orion Alternative School campus houses the TK through 5th grade Mandarin Immersion program and Kennedy Middle School is home to the 6th through 8th Mandarin Immersion grades. You can find more information about the curriculum for TK-8th grade here

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Ms. Katherine Rivera is the principal for the TK-5th grade program at the Orion Alternative School campus. She has been instrumental in developing and growing the MI program since its inception. She is not only bilingual herself, but also has a background in bilingual education and a long history of teaching in Redwood City School District. Learn more about her on the district website.


1. Creating a nurturing learning environment.

2. Supporting mutually respectful relationships.

3. Having families actively participate in the school.

4. Developing our children's self-esteem.

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Mr. Nick Fanourgiakis is the principal for the 6th-8th grade program at Kennedy Middle School. He has worked as a middle school teacher and administrator in Redwood City School District for the past 12 years. He advocates for teamwork and shared leadership and believes all children deserve the best education possible. Learn more about him on the district website.


The school is centrally located in Redwood City, about 10 minutes driving distance from 101, 15 minutes driving distance from 280, and a 20 minute walk to the Caltrain station and downtown. The school is surrounded by mostly single home neighborhoods with Red Morton Park and Community Center within close walking distance.

The historic campus is situated on Eagle Hill, with one side bordering Jefferson St. and the other sides surrounded by homes in the neighborhood. Several huge beautiful redwood trees shade the campus with plenty of outdoor space, sports fields, and playgrounds for students to explore. As of Fall of 2019, the campus is undergoing renovations and certain parts of campus are not accessible.

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