The Mandarin Immersion Program & Redwood City Real Estate


I just learned that Nǐ hǎo means hello in Mandarin. Students at John Gill Elementary will learn that simple phrase and so much more in the school's Mandarin Immersion Program. The language program finished its inaugural year in June and there has been a bit of buzz in the neighborhood about it. 

We're already seeing from parents outside the Redwood City School District — from San Carlos, Palo Alto, and even San Francisco — who are interested in enrolling their children. At my listing at 1301 Harrison earlier this year, a parent came by with her 5-year-old daughter, and in chatting with them, I heard her count, speak, and sing a song in Mandarin. It was like she had been speaking the language for years, when actually she'd been studying for less than a year as part of the Immersion Program.

Natalie and I happen to live in the district for John Gill and took a tour in the spring even though our son is a few years out from attending Kindergarten. We wanted to share what we've learned so far here on The Front Porch.

What the program is:

The Mandarin Immersion Program is an optional language program offered at John Gill Elementary School.  A portion of the class is taught in Mandarin and the other is taught in English. The 2015-2016 school year was the first year, which was only offered in Kindergarten. Every year, the program will extend another grade until it's offered in grades K-8 at the John Gill and Mckinley campuses.

What it will do for the school:

As far as we know, this is the first program of it's kind to teach Mandarin in Redwood City public schools. I'm not an expert in public education, just the parent of a kid who will be a student, but I do think that including the immersion program will be great for the students and the schools. The program will help fill classes with a more diverse student body and create a bigger support network for the school. With higher enrollment and more support from parents and the district, I think the hope is that students will have more resources to be successful in school. My guess is that all of these factors could help the school's API and state rankings as well.

What it will do to real estate in the Mount Carmel/Redwood City area:

I think the program will have power to influence the real estate market and that it's part of the recent buzz in Mt. Carmel in terms of properties receiving multiple offers and selling for over asking. 

Over the next few years, I could easily see it becoming a big draw for John Gill and McKinley and in turn create a higher demand for homes in the area. John Gill is currently accepting students from out of the district, but once classes fill up, it may be more difficult to enroll if you live outside of the district. In that case, my guess is that priority will be given to people who live within the school's designated area, which will continue to drive up the demand for homes in the area.

Find out more about the Mandarin Immersion Program:

Website // Blog // Facebook 


Cliff Whearley has been a resident of Redwood City for 23 years. He is a Realtor at Dwell Realtors, Inc. and has been practicing real estate since 2007. If you have any real estate questions, he would love to help!