Chinese classes have returned to Chavez, but concerns follow

Students and staff are thrilled to hear Chinese classes have returned but grow uneasy as the situation becomes arduous


Since the news that Chinese classes at Cesar Chavez High School may be canceled next school year, the administration recently announced that the classes are now back on as scheduled. Though there has been some celebration, concerns still loom over the future of the Chinese at Chavez.

Many are still hesitant because the continuation of Chinese classes is contingent on the number of students enrolled. If there are not enough interested students, the status of the class may be called into question again.

Skylar, a 9th-grade student who wrote the original petition expressing his concern for this matter, “I was heartbroken when I heard Chinese might be canceled so I knew I had to try as hard as possible to help keep Chinese at our school. I’m glad Chinese has returned but I’m nervous for the future.” He added, “I don’t want to fight for this every year. I just hope that Ms. Wang can continue to teach us Chinese at Chavez for a very long time.”

Students and staff have also been concerned about the fact that Chinese returned during registration week. Students who recently registered for classes did not get the Chinese option on their course selection form, meaning they did not get the opportunity to sign up. One 11th-grade student, Leo says, “My sister and her friend in 8th grade wanted to enroll in Chinese 1 and 2, but it wasn’t available so they had to enroll in Spanish. I’m worried that since they aren’t students on this campus yet, it may be too late for them to sign up.” Up until last Friday, there had been a temporary solution made available through Synergy/StudentVUE to change their upcoming classes. This option is no longer available. “Students need more time to utilize this solution.” Teachers say.

According to Ms. Wang, “A student, Chloe, who was interested in Chinese was called to the office for pre-registration and the old registration form was given to her in which there was only Chinese 2 listed.” This has created confusion and worry from students and staff alike, “I fear that many students may not even be aware that Chinese classes are available.” Wang says.

Even staff have felt the weight of this announcement as Mrs. Gibbons, the English Language Development (ELD) teacher, is concerned for the future of Chinese classes. “I’m glad that Chinese has returned but I’ll feel nervous about the future for a while. I hope it doesn’t leave in the future because we’re very lucky to have Chinese classes at Chavez.” She then adds, “As an ELD teacher,  I feel terrible for students who feel a sense of belonging in Chinese class because they aren’t from America. The thought of having it taken away from them worries me.”

Ethnic Studies teacher Mrs. Lewis shares, “I’m glad we’re keeping Chinese classes because it’s important to have non-European languages. Removing the only Asian-focused class sends a negative message, intentionally or unintentionally, to the Asian community on campus.”

Lewis further adds, “It’s crucial to show administrators how important these classes are by being proactive in working together to make Chinese stay. As an Ethnic Studies teacher, it’s important for students to hear languages fundamentally different from English to build empathy for peers who are learning English and aren’t proficient in a language so different from their own.”

Regardless of the unnerving circumstances, the staff is proud of the students as well as each other. Wang states, “I feel touched. The efforts of students and staff have all paid off since the beginning of January. It feels like we’re a Titan family again. We’re working to keep diversity, equity, integrity, and justice for our students.” 

Wang concludes with an inspiring message for students, staff, and community alike, “The process going forward may not be easy, but we can’t give up, even if we have to keep fighting for this year after year.”