Frequently Asked Questions


Will my child be at a disadvantage if our family does not speak Chinese?

No. The majority of our students are from non-Chinese speaking households.

What are the advantages of a dual language education over a monolingual education?

Dr. Duarte Silva of the Stanford University School of Education states that a bilingual child has a higher level of mental flexibility and is more original. He or she will be more divergent with his or her thinking and will always have two or three solutions for a problem. It has been proven that bilingual children demonstrate a higher level of academic performance amongst students. They surpass or at least are equal to the monolingual students and no negative effects are found in bilingualism. In addition, bilingualism promotes the development of multiple perspectives about people and about cultures.

How can I assist with schoolwork if I do not know the Chinese language?

Parents can best support their child by showing an interest in the Chinese homework and by asking the child to recite or show what he or she learned in the classroom each day. Chinese teachers assign homework that can be completed without parental assistance. In our after school extended day study hall program, Chinese teachers are available to assist with homework.

Will my child be deficient in English if she or he only studies it for half a day?

No. Numerous studies indicate bilingual children surpass their monolingual peers in test scores and comprehension and acquire advanced problem-solving skills. The consistent high achievement levels in English standardized tests at CAIS and our outstanding high school placement records support and validate these studies.

Why is it important to learn Chinese?

Any immersion language program has proven benefits for your child. However, given the strategic, cultural, political and economic importance of China, Mandarin cannot be ignored. Mandarin is the official Chinese dialect of China and Taiwan. It is the most commonly taught Chinese dialect in Asian countries and in colleges and universities around the world. Mandarin Chinese is also the dominant language for commerce and culture in East Asia. The relationship between the U.S. and greater China is the most important strategic relationship in the world today. Those who have knowledge of Mandarin — as well as Chinese culture, values and history — will be positioned to have an impact on the economic, political and cultural well-being of the United States, China and the world.

What are the racial and ethnic backgrounds of CAIS students?

For the 2017-2018 school year, 42% Asian American; 35% Multiethnic; 18% White; 3% Latinx and 2% Black / African American. Our community consists of at least 18 different nationalities and we have 15 different home languages spoken.

How is CAIS different from other schools?

CAIS is the nation’s leader in pre-collegiate Chinese English dual language immersion education. As an independent elementary and middle school, we offer immersion education in Mandarin Chinese and English to students from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. Most after school and weekend Chinese schools teach Chinese language arts only. CAIS teaches the core subjects including math, social studies and language arts — in both English and Chinese. By learning through instruction in each language for half of each day, our students learn to speak, read, write and understand both English and Chinese fluently.

How involved do parents need to be at CAIS?

Parents are encouraged to support school fundraisers and to participate in volunteer activities throughout the year. The CAIS Family School Alliance oversees volunteer committees. We believe that parental involvement enhances a student’s academic performance and learning experience. We enroll families, not just students.

Is CAIS accredited?

Yes, CAIS is fully accredited by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the California Association of Independent Schools.

Is tuition assistance available?

Socio-economic diversity is important to our board, administration and our community. Each year we set aside a portion of tuition revenue for tuition assistance/financial aid. For the 2016-2017 school year, 16% of families received tuition assistance. Awards totaled $1.45 million and ranged from $3,500 to $26,000. Awards are for one year and include assistance towards auxiliary and international programs. Continuation is dependent upon demonstrated future financial need.

Is after school care available?

Yes. CAIS has a variety of programs including after school study hall (3:00-4:00 p.m.), extended day (3:00-6:00 p.m.) and numerous enrichment programs which take place after school at an additional fee. Complimentary morning care begins at 7:30 a.m.