The Olympia Schools and Portland public school (USA) Establish cooperation ties

17 April, 2023

On April 6th, The Olympia Schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with the Portland Public Schools District (PPS), Oregon, United States, where the Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program (VDLI) has been implemented in alignment with the Oregon State Standards. The event is not only a significant milestone for the participating schools but it is also a vivid example to mark the 10th anniversary of the VDLI Program and the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive partnership establishment between the United States and Vietnam, particularly in the education sector.

The Portland Public Schools delegation (United States) and representatives from Olympia school participated in the signing ceremony.

Attending the program, on the Olympia side were the Head of School, Ms. Elizabeth Shannon Wellwood-Koga; Representatives of the Board of Directors; Members of the Principal Board of Olympia Primary, Secondary and High Schools and Heads of Departments. On the Portland Public Schools side were Mr. Guadalupe Guerrero - Superintendent; Dr. Esther Omogbehin and Ms. Margaret Calvert - Regional Superintendents; Principals of Rose City Park Primary school, Roseway Heights Middle School, McDaniel High School; and Leaders of the VDLI’s Parent Association.

Additionally, the event was honored to welcome Ms. Kate Bartlett - Cultural Affairs Officer, Ms. Nguyen Dang Minh Chinh – Education USA Program Advisor (U.S. Embassy in Hanoi); Mr. John D. Wilhelmi - Former Advisor to PPS Superintendent, Dr. Truong Hoang Van - PPS Representative, former PPS Interim Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Founder of Oregon Vietnam Economic, Education and Culture Association (OEECA).

At the opening ceremony, Ms. Shannon Koga, Olympia’s Head of Schools, expressed her joy and appreciation for the Public Portland Schools when Vietnamese language was selected to be 1 of 5 main languages for the dual language immersion programs from Kindergarten to High School. She also thanked Portland Public Schools for the trust they have built up for Olympia and hope that Olympia and Portland Public Schools students stand together united in language and in heart.

The signing ceremony between both sides includes the contents related to the cooperation that promotes the comprehensive development of students, empowering and preparing students for life through a diversity of activities: academic and interdisciplinary projects, global classrooms; professional training and teachers’ exchange as well as other initiatives. This aims to provide the best preparation for multicultural and multilingual educational opportunities for Olympia and Portland Public Schools students.

Ms. Kate Barlett - Cultural Affairs Officer, US Embassy in Vietnam, delivered a speech in the program.

 "It's wonderful when any school community offers a vibrant school experience for its students and brings educators and families together," said Portland Public Schools Superintendent – Mr. Guadalupe Guerrero. “And it's even more special when that spirit extends to a partnership between The Olympia Schools and three schools inside the Portland Public Schools school communities. In this collaboration, we have contributed to fostering students’ educational understanding, formalizing a national and global repository of educational knowledge, and promoting connection, compassion and empathy among people."

Attending this special event at the Olympia Schools, Dr. Truong Hoang Van -, PPS Representative, former PPS Interim Superintendent, Executive Director Office of Teaching and Learning, Founder of Oregon Vietnam Economic, Education and Culture Association (OEECA) said: “It is my pleasure to represent PPS in this ground-breaking event. It is important in many ways, professionally and personally. As a Vietnamese-American educator for the last 40 years in the United States, I am so honored to have been among the founders of the VDLI program in the hope of introducing the Vietnamese language and culture to others”.

At the ceremony, Ms. Kate Barlet - Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy - said that: “In the past couple of years, we have seen so many universities in Vietnam and the United States eager to cooperate with each other, and we have definitely encouraged that cooperation as a mechanism for promoting faculty ties and research cooperation, and student exchange. What is exciting here today is that we are looking at partnerships occurring at the Kindergarten through 12 grade level, really addressing student needs when they are younger so that American students can better understand Vietnam and Vietnamese students can better understand the United States...”

"In the future, we hope you will consider the United States as one of your top destinations for studying. We always open the doors to welcome international students to the United States," Ms. Kate Barlett said.

Olympia believes that the inter-school collaboration will create valuable educational opportunities, develop our students’ global skills and enhance their understanding of each other's culture, history and language. Together, Olympia and Portland Public Schools will build a diverse and enriching learning environment that will help students grow holistically and become future global citizens.


The Portland City School District, established in 1851 with a history of more than 170 years, is Oregon's largest K-high school district with more than 42,000 students and 86 schools. Portland Public Schools strives to ensure academic excellence and personal success for all students, especially students of color and/or disabilities.

The Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program (VDLI) has begun since 2012. Since then, Vietnamese language is being taught to mainstream American English speaking students as core contents, and as one of the 5 dual language programs in PPS. VDLI program is at 3 schools, Rose City Park Elementary School, Rosaway Heights Middle School and McDaniel High Schools 


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