Woodstock Elementary School Chinese Program

Shu Ren is a non-profit 501( c )(3) organization made up of parents whose children are in the Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) of Portland Public Schools.

The character "Shu" means tree, and "Ren" means person. "Shu" also means cultivate, nurture or rear. Together, the characters refer to the belief that it takes 10 years to grow a tree, but 100 years to rear a human being. "Shu Ren" is often used as a title for schools, groups or organizations in China that educate or nurture children.

Shu Ren is governed by a board of directors and is supported through membership dues, grants and fund-raising activities. The goal of Shu Ren is to raise money to support the development of the MIP program and provide opportunities for the students and parents in the program.

What Shu Ren does for the Immersion Program

  1. Shu Ren serves as an advocate for parents. For example, we made trips to Salem last year to testify to la legislative committee on all-day kindergarten. This fall we are watching Ballot Measure 58 closely, but have not yet formally adopted a position. We serve as a diplomatic liaison when there are concerns about teaching or scheduled school events. We work with the PTA as a partner in fostering a better school environment for all.
  2. Shu Ren serves as a liaison between PPS, the MIP, and the parents. For example, in January 2008 we held a meeting where parents could meet with MIP administrators and have their questions answered about curriculum, etc. We have also arranged a class in Mandarin for parents, provided tours of Woodstock School for prospective parents, and provided orientation sessions for kindergarten parents.
  3. Funds for classroom materials requested by our Chinese teachers.
  4. Funds for field trips related to learning Chinese language, arts, and culture
  5. Materials for school libraries to allow kids who want to challenge themselves to improve their Chinese. Kids can also check out some fun, entertaining Chinese materials to look at on their own at home.

    Books are available in Simplified Chinese, Pinyin, and English translations. Other multimedia materials include movies, audio book CDs, and a learning game for the Nintendo DS called "My Chinese Coach.”

  6. Hosting and Managing the largest fundraiser for the program. Shu Ren's Gala (auction and dinner) provides the bulk of the funds for helping offset the cost of the 8th grade China Research Residency (CRR). For many this trip seems very far off; often people wonder what all the fuss is about over a two week trip to China.

    Actually the research residency is much more than an elaborate field trip. Planning for the trip is integrated into the 8th grade immersion curriculum.

    Much of the students’ 8th grade year is spent discussing, planning and organizing their trip. Thus the kids are using Chinese to discuss a multitude of topics related to the trip. Students understand their world better, and how countries deal with one another when it comes to travel visas, preparations and more.

    On the trip students get to use their Chinese for practical purpose. For many, they get to see the culture they have been studying for the past 7 years for the first time. They often come back excited to be learning Mandarin and how they might be able to use the language in the future. The cost per person for this Research Residency can easily reach $4000 or more. Because of the funds raised by Shu Ren we were able to keep costs for parents down to around $500 per student, and hope to do this into the future.

(503) 916-6380