Barrington's “Bridge to Chinese” is a K-12 language and culture program designed to develop pre-advanced speakers of Chinese by graduation from Barrington High School. This program was initiated with the support of a 2010 Federal Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant, a long standing program of the United States Department of Education. This federal grant was discontinued nationwide in the spring of 2012. However, the Barrington 220 Board of Education decided to continue the program in order to fulfill the original vision.
The Chinese immersion program (a 50-50 model) began in the 2011-12 school year with both a kindergarten and a first grade cohort (approximately 90 students). More than 160 students are currently enrolled in grades K-3 across 2 separate schools in the district. Each year, an additional grade level cohort will be added to the program until a complete K-12 track is established. When the immersion students reach the middle and high school levels, they will continue their study of Chinese through the content areas, while the amount of class time devoted to Chinese Language Arts will decrease. The specific design of the secondary program is under development.