Japanese Plus is a new citywide afterschool Japanese language, culture, and career exposure program offered at no cost to students from DCPS and DC public charter high schools across the city. It was created and is managed by Globalize DC, a local nonprofit organization. In its inaugural year, the Japanese Plus program ran October 2016 – May 2017, meeting two times a week – Wednesdays 4:30-6:30 pm and Saturdays 9 am-noon (except holidays), with optional additional activities. Classes were hosted at Columbia Heights Education Campus. Students who successfully completed the program were eligible to earn world language high school credit for Japanese I.
Plans for SY17-18
After a very successful first year program, Japanese Plus is expanding in the current school year. Planned programs are:
- Japanese Plus Level 2: Students from the SY16-17 school year Japanese Plus Level 1 Program are continuing their studies this year. Eshita sensei (Yoko Eshita) will again co-teach this year’s group with Sally Schwartz. We call this group JP2 (Saru), signifying the Year of the Monkey, when this group’s program started.
- Japanese Plus Level 1: After the first of the year, we plan to start a new Level 1 program for a new group of DC students from across the city. Students who successfully completed the summer 2017 Japan in DC program, and who wish to enroll in this new Japanese Plus program, will automatically be accepted.
- Japanese Level 1 Course at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC): Second semester 2018, Globalize DC will offer a single introductory Japanese course during the school day to high school students at our host school, Columbia Heights Education Campus (Bell HS). Information about enrollment will be announced at the school. We are excited about this new model for opening access to Japanese language and culture study to DCPS students.
We are currently recruiting Japanese teachers for our two new Level 1 programs. If you are interested or know others who might be interested, please look here for information about the positions and how to apply.
Funding and Partner Support
The Japanese Plus program is privately administered and privately funded. We are extremely grateful to the United States-Japan Foundation for generously funding our first-year program, which included not only the SY16-17 Japanese Plus program but also our new Japan in DC six-week summer program. We continue to raise funds to enhance and expand our Japan programs.
The Japanese Plus program also depends on a wide local and global network of community-minded organizations, institutions, and individuals with Japan-related expertise, resources, and connections to share with our students. We could not do this program without our partners, who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with our students.
To learn how you can support the program, click on our Get Involved page.
Japanese Plus students are selected through a competitive citywide application process. Criteria for selection include academic record, teacher recommendation, and most importantly, ability and commitment to fulfill the rigorous requirements of the program. Twenty-three (23) highly motivated students from nine (9) different DCPS and DC charter high schools (Ballou, Banneker, Bell, Capital City, Dunbar, EL Haynes, School Without Walls, Washington Latin, Wilson) were accepted into the the pilot year program. We were proud that eighteen (18) of those students completed the year with us. Ten (10) have continued with our second year, SY2017-18 Japanese Plus program (JP2 – Saru).
Learn about the 2016-17 Japanese Plus students here.
To really get to know our students, we encourage you to read their posts in the Student Blog on this website, where they will share their experiences, insights, and lessons learned from the program.
Yoko Eshita is the Japanese Plus Japanese language teacher. She is originally from Fukuoka, Japan. She majored in English Literature at Kyoto Women’s University, and International Relations at Linfield College in Oregon. She was trained as a Japanese teacher through the ALLEX program at Portland State University and has taught Japanese to high school students in Australia, adults in Kyoto, and college students and diplomats in the US. She studied Special Education at Baltimore City Community College, and currently is completing a master’s program in Second Language Acquisition at University of Maryland, College Park. She also has interned at Kizuna Across Cultures as a liaison between high school students in Japan and the US.
Sally Schwartz is the Japanese Plus program coordinator and co-teacher. She is Founder and Executive Director of Globalize DC, and former Director of International Programs for DC Public Schools. Earlier in her career, she was a social studies teacher at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She earned in her AB in Government from Cornell University and her MA in History from Howard University. She also coordinates the TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program, in partnership with American Councils in International Education.