Des Moines Register of Iowa, U.S. reports:

The West Des Moines school district will offer a high school Mandarin Chinese curriculum for the first time in fall 2008, thanks to a roughly $600,000 federal grant.

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Valley High School will be the second and third schools in metropolitan Des Moines to teach the language, said Phyllis Staplin, director of curriculum for the West Des Moines district. The other is Des Moines’ Central Campus, a regional academy for central Iowa students.

“We have wanted to do this for quite awhile,” Staplin said. “We want our students to have not only global awareness and understanding, but we want them to build proficiencies in language. … The grant has enabled us to do this.”

The district received word last month that it was awarded a three-year U.S. Department of Education grant that will funnel about $197,000 into the new program for each of the next three years, said Donna Wilkin, associate district superintendent for teaching and learning services.

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