Frequently Asked Questions

School Overview Questions
What is immersion education?
Why immersion?
Is immersion only for above-average students?
Why Chinese?
Why Yinghua?
Is Yinghua Academy a public school? Does Yinghua academy charge tuition?
What is a charter school?
Does Yinghua Academy have a sponsor?
What geographical area do the majority of students come from?
What does the word Yinghua actually mean?

Enrollment Questions
What is the age cut-off for Kindergarten?
How many students attend Yinghua Academy?
Is there a wait list or enrollment preference at Yinghua Academy?
Does the wait list by grade carry over from year to year, or do I need to re-apply during the Open Enrollment period each January for the following year?
What are the chances of getting into Yinghua once my child is on the waiting list?
Can students apply to any grade?
Can families schedule a school tour?

Special Programs and Services Questions
Does Yinghua Academy provide Special Education Services?
Does Yinghua Academy have specialist classes?
What extra and co-curricular activities are offered at Yinghua?
Does Yinghua Academy have busing?
Does Yinghua Academy have a school lunch program?
Is there a school uniform at Yinghua Academy?
Does Yinghua Academy have an extended care program?

What is immersion education?

Immersion education is an approach to teaching language where the majority of subject content is taught in the second language. Studies show that immersion education students outperform students in traditional language classes, do as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests, and have a greater appreciation of cultural diversity.

Why immersion?

Research has shown that immersion students consistently meet or exceed academic expectations, especially in the following four areas:

  • Second-Language Skills
    • Immersion students are functionally proficient in the immersion language according to their age and grade level.
  • Performance on Standardized Tests
    • Immersion students perform as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests of English and math administered in English.
  • Cognitive Skills
    • Immersion students develop greater cognitive flexibility demonstrating increased attention control, better memory, and superior problem solving skills.
  • Cultural Sensitivity
    • Immersion students are more aware of and show more positive attitudes towards others.

Is Immersion Only For Above-Average Students?
Immersion education has been proven through research to be effective for all learners, including students with many special education needs, socio-economic challenges, gifted-talented students, and non-native English speakers (of any language).

Why Chinese?

Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world, extending beyond the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Mongolia.

As America’s economic, social and political ties to China develop, it is increasingly important that we prepare to work effectively with the one-fifth of the world’s population who speak Mandarin. Yinghua Academy provides the knowledge and skills necessary for our students to do so.

Why Yinghua Academy?

“Yinghua Academy is remarkable in its accomplishments! I have been an immersion educator and consultant for more than 30 years and have worked with immersion programs throughout the United States and in several other countries. I would put this program in the top five percent of those that I have seen!” (Dr. Helena Curtain, 5/20/2009)

“Yinghua Academy has a happy, children-are-cared-for-here energy.” “The level of Mandarin spoken and used in the school is outstanding!” (Dr. Tara Fortune, 2/8/2008)

“The program is among the best STARTALK Grant Award sites we have seen.” “There is ample evidence of students learning resulting from excellent instruction.” (Dr. Myriam Met, 7/13/2009)

Is Yinghua Academy a public school? Does Yinghua academy charge tuition?

Yinghua Academy is a public charter school and, therefore, is tuition-free for all students. Most of Yinghua Academy’s operating expenses are paid for with the federal and state funding that the school receives based on the number of students who attend Yinghua Academy. Some expenses are paid for through grants that the school has been awarded and through fundraising.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are independent public schools. They are part of the state’s public school system, but operate independently of the traditional school district in which they are physically located.  Yinghua Academy is its own independent Minnesota public school district, #4140.

Each charter school has its own governing board. Typically the founding board is a group of parents, teachers, and community members who came together to create a school with a particular focus (e.g., language acquisition, arts, math and science) or with a particular educational philosophy or approach to teaching (e.g., Montessori, classical education, project-based learning). After the school is operational, the school community (parents and school staff members) elects board members who become the governing board of the school. By Minnesota law, by the end of its third year of operation, a charter school must have a fully-elected board.

For more information on charter schools visit the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools.

Does Yinghua Academy have a sponsor?

All charter schools in Minnesota are sponsored by an “authorizer”, an existing public or nonprofit organization such as a school district, a higher education institution, a nonprofit organization, or a foundation. Charter schools are accountable to their authorizer, their parents and families, the state, and the public for achieving measurable results in student academic achievement and for practicing sound financial management. Yinghua Academy’s authorizer is Friends of Education, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Minnesota corporation that was founded in 1999 and is based in Wayzata.

What geographical area do the majority of students come from?
The student body has been growing in its diversity each year. For the 2012/13 academic year, students reside in 97 unique zip codes (40+ cities/towns) within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. While a slight majority live in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, other cities represented include Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Farmington, Savage, Eagan, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Princeton, Lino Lakes, Stillwater, and Saint Anthony, among many others.

What does the word Yinghua actually mean?
Ying signifies English language as well as hero, outstanding person, and intelligent. Hua signifies Chinese language as well as magnificent, resplendent, splendid, prosperous, and flourishing.  Therefore, Yinghua is the English-Chinese Academy.

What is the age cut-off for Kindergarten?

Kindergarten students must be 5 years of age on or before September 1 of the year they enter kindergarten.

How many students attend Yinghua Academy?
There are presently more than 800 students in grades K-8 (2016-17 academic year).

Is there a wait list or enrollment preference at Yinghua Academy?
Wait lists are determined annually following the open enrollment period. Enrollment preference is only given to siblings of students already enrolled at Yinghua Academy and to children of staff.

Does the wait list by grade carry over from year to year, or do I need to re-apply during the Open Enrollment period each January for the following year?
Wait lists are only carried through the year for which you applied. If you wish to apply for the next year, you must apply again during the Open Enrollment Period.

What are the chances of getting into Yinghua once my child is on the waiting list?
Yinghua has a low attrition rate.  For kindergarten, the number of applicants admitted off the wait list varies from year to year. The 2016-17 school year began with 78 students on the kindergarten wait list. In February 2017, 34 students remain on the kindergarten wait list. In the past, Yinghua has offered enrollment to anywhere from 10-25 originally wait listed applicants.

Can students apply to any grade?
Students may apply for enrollment in any grade without any prior Chinese language experience; families of students applying for 1st grade and higher will be asked to meet with the Academic Director to discuss immersion learning expectations.

Can families schedule a school tour?
Availability of tours varies throughout the year.  See the Visiting Yinghua tab under Prospective Families for current information, or call/email the office.

Does Yinghua Academy provide Special Education Services?
Yes, Yinghua Academy has Special Education staff including a bilingual speech pathologist. Yinghua also contracts with the district for additional special education services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, school psychology, and developmental adapted physical education (DAPE).

Does Yinghua Academy have specialist classes?
Yes, Yinghua Academy offers specialist classes in physical education, music and art in all grades, plus media, culture, and orchestra in grades 4-8.

What extra and co-curricular activities are offered at Yinghua?
Yinghua Academy offers recreational soccer for grades 3-8, volleyball for grades 5-7, and basketball for grades 3-8; Yinghua Academy also offers Middle School classes in Health and Wellness and Technology and Middle School student clubs such as Outdoor Drawing, Chinese Calligraphy, Mahjong, Local and Global Service Projects, Asian Food Club, Debate, Yearbook, Chinese Jianzi and Student Council.

Does Yinghua Academy have busing?
Yes, Yinghua Academy provides busing for families inside the Minneapolis school district and offers fee-based service to families outside Minneapolis.  See here for more information.

Does Yinghua Academy have a school lunch program?
Yes, Yinghua Academy provides a daily school lunch with nutritional offerings including dietary considerations through Taher.

Is there a school uniform at Yinghua Academy?
Yes, there is a school uniform at Yinghua Academy consisting of black bottoms (skirts, pants, shorts, etc.) and light blue tops, which may include the school name.  Sweaters and socks must be black, light blue, or white.  Any shoes may be worn as long as they have closed-toes and are suitable for playing on the playground.  See full policy on the Dress Code page.

Does Yinghua Academy have an Extended Care program?

Yinghua Care consists of a pre-pay before-school program (6:45 – 8:30 a.m.) that provides a quiet time to color, finish assignments or do other work, and a pre-pay after-school program (3:30 – 6:00 PM) that includes outdoor play, homework time and tutoring. In addition, after school enrichment programming is offered and features cultural classes, music lessons, and opportunities for various sports and arts.