Barnard Mandarin Magnet students celebrate groundbreaking

Beach & Bay Press, March 6, 2024

On Feb. 29, the UTK fifth-grade school in Pacific Beach kicked off the beginning of construction on its Whole Site Modernization project with a “3 Treasures” student lion dance and a performance from its fifth-grade Beijing Opera. Students and district leaders celebrated from the Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School’s joint-use field, which offered a clear view of active construction.

When completed in the spring of 2025, the site will provide a new classroom building and renovations to all other existing classrooms, the UTK/kindergarten area, student services offices, the multipurpose building, hardcourts, and play courts.

To improve safety, an expanded parking lot with an on-campus student drop-off and pick-up area will be constructed.

“I see our students and I feel the excitement for a completely transformed campus,” Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson said. “With a new campus, we hope Barnard students will thrive and deepen their immersive language learning.”

Barnard Elementary added the Mandarin Chinese Immersion program in 2007 to give students instruction in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

The program integrates the Six Ancient Chinese Arts, including abacus, Kuiban, calligraphy, tai-chi, arts, music, dance, and literature. As part of the Mission Bay Cluster, students participate in a unique program where they can graduate high school fluent in Mandarin.

“Our students come to Barnard knowing little about Mandarin arts and leave here with a comprehensive understanding of the language, the culture, and the arts,” said Kingsley Chao, principal of Barnard Elementary. “We are setting them up to become global leaders in whichever career they choose.”