Mandarin bilingual program expands to south Calgary middle school

Calgary's public school board is expanding its Mandarin bilingual program in the south end of the city. Parents were upset when they were told their kids would have to bus to the north Calgary if they wanted to continue in Mandarin beyond grade six.

Midnapore School students can continue at Harold Panabaker School in Southwood

Darlene Casten is relieved her children will have the chance to continue learning Mandarin in south Calgary now that the CBE is expanding the program to Harold Panabaker School in Southwood. (Stephanie Wiebe/CBC)

The Calgary public school board is expanding its Mandarin bilingual program in the south end of the city.

Last year, there was no place for students finishing Grade 6 at Midnapore School to continue studying Mandarin in the south, which meant they would have to travel to Colonel Irvine School in Highwood in the city's north end.

On Tuesday, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) told parents it had been determined there was sufficient demand for it to offer the Mandarin program at Harold Panabaker School in Southwood for children in Grade 5 to Grade 7.

The program will eventually expand to Grade 9, assuming a minimum of 20 students per grade enrol.

The Midnapore School program will continue to offer Mandarin in Kindergarten to Grade 4.

Darlene Casten, who is part of a group of parents that was pushing for the program's expansion, says she's relieved.

"My son is going into Grade 6 in September. And for me, I feel like it would have all gone to waste," she said.

"I don't think, if he would have just finished in Grade 6, that he would have retained it. So, I'm really excited."