Night of Celebration Nominations Open through April 30

Friends of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools,

On behalf of our co-chairs Ms. Betsy Cohen of the St. Louis Mosaic Project and Mr. Kevin Lee of DeSmet Jesuit High School and the community at St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, it is my pleasure to announce that the Nomination Process is now open for our 2015 Night of Celebration: Light the Fire to be held Friday, October 16 in the Ballroom at the Four Seasons St. Louis.

St. Louis Language Immersion Schools will be honoring outstanding local leaders in three award categories:

Social Equity      Love of Language      Global Understanding

 Each honoree makes the mission of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools possible – to position all children for success in local and global economies through holistic, intellectually-inspiring language immersion programs. This year, nearly 900 students are served in our three separate language-based elementary schools – The French School, The Spanish School and The Chinese School –  and The International School, our secondary program that opened in August 2014.  Funds raised from the Night of Celebration support the expansion of our academic programs & our annual operational growth.

I hope that you will consider nominating an individual, group or organization for one of these awards.  Nomination criteria can be found here or can be accessed through our website at  The Nominations process closes on April 30th and we look to make our honoree announcements in May.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Rachel D’Souza-Siebert, Director of Development, with questions at or 314-633-8318


Continue your Spring Cleaning at the TIS Rummage Sale THIS SATURDAY!

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Learn Chinese in a Day Event at TCS!



Why Study Chinese?

What you might already know

  1. China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old.
  2. China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people.
  3. One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
  4. In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.
  5. China is the second largest economy in the world.
  6. China is one of largest trading partners of the United States.
  7. Many US companies do business in China and have long-term investments there.

Things to consider

The study of the Chinese language opens the way to different important fields such as Chinese politics, economy, history or archaeology. But to study Chinese finally means to study a culture, a people. At the heart of Chinese civilization is its rich heritage of novels, short stories, poetry, drama, and, more recently, film. They reflect the values, the struggles, the sensibility, the joys and the sorrows of this great people and often offer insights even into the most intimate feelings of people in the past or into high-level Beijing politics at he present that cannot be found anywhere else. These works help you understand what is behind the language, what makes it powerful, and how it actually functions in Chinese society. To be at ease and effective in a Chinese environment learning the language is half the battle, but knowing about the culture behind the language is the other.

Some surprising facts

Chinese has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Unlike French, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation (no need to memorize verb tenses!) and no noun declension (e.g., gender and number distinctions). For example, while someone learning English has to learn different verb forms like “see/saw/seen,” all you need to do in Chinese is just to remember one word: kan. While in English you have to distinguish between “cat” and “cats,” in Chinese there is only one form: mao. (Chinese conveys these distinctions of tense and number in other ways, of course.)

The basic word order of Chinese is subject — verb — object, exactly as in English. A large number of the key terms of Mandarin Chinese (such as the terms for state, health, science, party, inflation, and even literature) have been formed as translations of English concepts. You are entering a different culture, but the content of many of the modern key concepts is familiar.

Remember these two facts:

  1. Currently Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world, about one fifth of the global population;
  2. Each year more and more students around the world whose mother tongue is not Mandarin are studying it with enthusiasm and success. If they all can learn it, so can you!

The study of Chinese literature and culture will help you bridge the cultural gap, better understand your Chinese counterparts, and create a platform of knowledge and understanding with them that is crucial for effective communication.

Chinese is important for your career!

  1. International businesses prefer to hire people who speak more than one language. China has become a huge market, and business leaders are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context.
  2. Knowing Chinese may give you an edge when competing for an important position.
  3. China will play a major role in world affairs in the future. As China now has opened up to the West, there are opportunities for employment in all areas.
  4. China is a wonderful country in which to teach English while developing your language and cultural skills. The experience is great, and it’s something you will never forget.
  5. Teach in China A program offered through the Council on International Education Exchange.
  6. China Employment Center at China Online.
  7. Greater China Job Listings from Wang & Li Asia Resources.
  8. Job Information Journal: China ESL Cafe’s journal of various job experiences in China, including places you should avoid when looking for employment.

Study Abroad

At Boston University we offer a Shanghai Study Abroad Language and Culture Program and an Internship Program.  Our programs are at Fudan University, which is ranked as the number three university in China. Students have the opportunity to spend a summer, semester, or year studying Chinese, taking elective courses in English, and even having an internship in the vibrant city of Shanghai.  No prior knowledge of Chinese language is required to study abroad in Shanghai, but students will be required to study Chinese while in the program. Students in the Language and Culture program study two semesters’ worth of Chinese in one term.  In the Internship Program, students can choose to study Chinese at the normal semester pace or at an intensive pace.  More information on studying Chinese in China is available here:

Chinese Events

Each year students and faculty organize a celebration of the Chinese New Year with food and student performances. More than a hundred students participate. There also is a student competition and prize for the best Chinese-English translation, the best short story and the best essay or poem written in Chinese. We also invite guest speakers to talk about China-related topics. The lively Chinese-language club is one of the more active student organizations on campus.

Opportunities to Support The International School

Stop by The International School this Saturday, April 18th for a Rummage & Bake Sale – Doors open at 8:00am!

Don’t think you can make it but still want to support our 6th grade students? Check out their GoFundMe page to help them put on their first middle school dance!150413 TIS Flyer-page-001

Join us at St. Louis Earth Day in Forest Park

Experience the tradition of the 26th annual St. Louis Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 26th from 10 am to 6 pm on the Muny Grounds of Forest Park.


Participate in a variety of hands-on educational activities, meet area non-profits that share the mission of Earth Day, and learn about sustainable products and services offered by local businesses. Enjoy three stages of entertainment, great food, and family-friendly programming throughout the duration of the festival. This year’s event will include special features, like yoga classes all day for both adults and children, a rock climbing wall, and a Metro Bus mural painting.

Event entry is FREE; the Earth Day Festival is a welcoming place where all are invited for celebration and learning.

Visit the SLLIS booth in the Youth Experience Area – This year’s booth activities include the following objectives

-How to create a toy from upcycled materials
-How to tell a story
-Listening to a story
-Identifying other cultures
-What does sustainability look like around the world?
-Hearing other languages
-Interacting with bilinguals

For more information or to volunteer at the SLLIS booth, contact Whitney Sewell, Enrollment Coordinator, at

Upcoming Club SLLIS Dates & Deadlines


There is no school on Friday, April 24 due to Parent-Teacher Conferences and Monday, April 27 due to Staff Professional Development.

Club SLLIS will be in session both days – the theme for 4/24 is Earth Day & for 4/27 is Space.  Registration forms can be found here and are due on Friday, April 17. Please contact Club SLLIS Coordinator, Lisa Berman, at 314-398-6839 or with any questions.

Faces Around SLLIS: Emilie Lytton, MSW, LCSW

If you spend any time at The French School, The Chinese School or The International School, chances are you’ve met our founding School Social Worker, Emilie Lytton.

Emilie is a native of Moline, IL.  She has an undergraduate degree in Jewish & Near Eastern Studies, with minors in Anthropology and Hebrew, from Washington University.  After a few years of work in the St. Louis Jewish community, she returned to Washington University to earn her Master of Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in Children, Youth, and Families and a specialization in school social work from the Brown School.

Emilie has worked in the St. Louis Jewish community at the St. Louis Hillel, the organization for Jewish life at St. Louis area universities, and in Rockwood School District’s early childhood program.  In 2013, she received her Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) certification.  She is a member of the School Social Work Association of America and is involved with several other organizations in the community.

Here’s our Q&A with Emilie:

  • What drives you to work at a school/serve children?

I have known to some extent my whole life that I wanted to work with children. I loved working with younger kids and my younger cousins when I was growing up, and that never faded – it just took a long time to figure out the capacity.  My mom worked in a school so I got to see that environment from her perspective, and it really motivated me to work in a school too.  I love the opportunities I get through my position at SLLIS to work with so many kids of all ages on so many different things.  Every day they open my eyes to a new way to see the world and make me smile!

  • If you could have dinner with 5 people (dead or alive) who would they be?

It’s so hard for me to narrow it down to just 5, and it’s not even that intrepid!  I really would just want to have dinner with my mom and dad and all of my grandparents – and that’s 6; but how to you eliminate one of them?!  It’s so good to be with family and we always have such a fun time together and such great conversations.  I love to hear my grandparents’ stories about growing up in times that were so very different than life today and always want to hear more.  And maybe my mom would cook – she’s very good at that!

  • In your opinion, what is St. Louis’ best kept secret?

Bobo Noodle House on Skinker, near the northeast corner of the Washington University main campus.  I don’t know how secret it is, but it’s really excellent pan-Asian food for a reasonable price, fresh with house-made sauces.  My favorite thing to get there is the vegetable dumpling soup with shiitake mushrooms.  So yummy, and always enough for leftovers the next day!  My husband likes the selection of Asian beers.  Plus, you get a tasty sesame ball for dessert.

  • What do you do when you’re not at work?

Yoga, mostly!  I have been practicing for over 12 years and I just completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training.  I love the centering, grounding, strengthening, and flexibility it brings me – in body and mind.  It keeps me balanced and present.  Part of my goal with completing my teacher training was to be able to bring yoga and meditation to the students I work with at SLLIS, so I’m excited about developing that aspect of my role here.  Aside from yoga, I spend time with my husband and my dog, and I love cooking, baking, reading, and working in the garden.  And traveling, when I can!