Getting Ready for the New Year...and Our Bright Future!

January 21, 2020

We are on the eve of the lunar new year season, the most important holiday of the year in Chinese and many other Asian communities throughout the world. Of course it is also one of the most exciting and cherished times of year at CAIS, and we celebrate it together as an extended community at our annual Mass Greeting or tuánbài 团拜 which will happen this Friday in the school gymnasium. Traditions around the lunar new year vary from region to region and family to family; it’s fun to learn about various traditions observed by our own CAIS families and teachers (if you’re interested, you can learn about my own first lunar new year experience in China here). Regardless of the tradition, all new year celebrations share a universal feeling of hope and optimism. As people look into the new year, they imagine life—for themselves, their families, their communities—being even better than the previous year. A frequently exchanged blessing in China at the new year is “may your child become a dragon” wàng zĭ chéng lóng 望子成龙, which wishes a life of success for your child. 

This is an especially hopeful and optimistic lunar new year celebration for our school, a year in which we look—and plan—for the success of all of our children, that they all may “become dragons.” For over a year now, I have been writing you with news about our strategic visioning process, and since the fall I have been slowly rolling out parts of it—our revised Mission, CAIS Core Values, and exploration of ways to increase instruction in Mandarin in the early years beginning in the fall of 2021. Now, I’d like to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the arrival of the lunar new year to introduce the complete Strategic Vision: “Reimagining CAIS 重新构思中美”. Each CAIS family will receive a printed, dual-language copy of the Strategic Vision for CAIS’s next five years. I am delighted that this “hard launch” of the school’s vision coincides with the hope and optimism universally associated with the lunar new year. 

With our school’s hard-won wisdom from almost four decades of pioneering Mandarin immersion, we are distinctly positioned to define just what success looks like in the 21st century. Through decades of groundbreaking work in immersion, we have evolved from basic markers and metrics of success to a nuanced view of the whole child and, importantly, how they will make a difference in the world. These lessons and community insights have led not only to the directives outlined in the Strategic Vision, they have also informed the evolution of our Mission and the codification of Core Values. I am proud of our thoughtful, dedicated community that contributed to the formulation of our vision, and I hope that you see some of yourself and your contributions in “Reimagining CAIS 重新构思中美”. Happy new year, everyone, and don’t forget to check your mail boxes next week. 

Best regards,

Jeff