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Bulent Tarman Wins 2008 Alumni Achievement Award for Charter School Work

Article about Bulent Tarman, winner of a 2008 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award

Tarman_Bulent_02.jpgby Joe Savrock (February 2008)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Bulent Tarman ’06 Ph.D. recognizes the importance of introducing foreign languages to students in their early elementary school years. “Children who learn another language at an early age tend to reach higher cognitive levels earlier in their lives than do their monolingual peers,” he says.

On that premise, Tarman spearheaded the establishment of Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School (YSCPCS) three years ago. YSCPCS students are learning two foreign languages—Spanish and Chinese—as part of their regular curricula, starting in kindergarten.

Tarman, the school’s principal and chief executive officer, is the winner of a 2008 Alumni Achievement Award. The University-sponsored awards recognize high-achieving alumni 35 years of age or younger for outstanding accomplishments in their field. Alumni Achievement Award winners are invited by the University president to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators.

YSCPCS is the product of Tarman’s great vision and hard work—and, as he asserts, intense planning. “Turning hopes and dreams about a new school into reality is a demanding project,” he says. “Wishful thinking and good intentions are no substitutes for realism.”

Located in State College, YSCPCS has filled a void in the region’s educational offerings; it is the first multicultural and multilingual elementary school in Centre County to provide a dynamic global learning environment by teaching foreign languages at all grade levels.

“Research shows that the youngest brains have the greatest ability for absorbing language and that someone who is bilingual at a young age will have an easier time learning a third or fourth language later on,” he says. “They are cognitively, affectively, and socially more flexible than adolescents or adults.” 

YSCPCS is reaching the goals of success that Tarman had envisioned when he first founded the school. “But once we reach our goal, we keep raising the bars for dynamic improvement,” he says. “Therefore our ongoing goal as an alternative to the traditional school system centers on creating a dynamic global learning environment that works best for students’ needs, fostering individual interests and a love for learning in the broadest sense.”

The school recently earned a Keystone Achievement Award for meeting its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets for two consecutive years.

YSCPCS administrators are getting positive feedback from parents. Surveys show that 98% of the parents are highly satisfied with the education their children are receiving. The school’s unique program has strong appeal in the community—some 150 children are on a waiting list, hoping to be able to enroll someday.