Natrona County School District trustees have unanimously passed a new district policy that advocates the expansion of an optional dual-language immersion pilot program that has, in recent months, gained popularity among parents and state officials.

District trustee and policy committee chairperson Dana Howie says the new board policy that was passed on second reading Monday night supports the expansion of dual-language immersion throughout district elementary schools as long as certain benchmarks are met.

Howie says those benchmarks focus on parental support, school staff consensus, viable enrollment and budget.

“(This policy) will open the door for any interested K-5 school in the district to explore the idea of dual-language immersion in that school,” Howie said.

Howie says trustees will now further explore a possible Spanish immersion program at Park Elementary.

“There’s probably going to be more demand for Spanish, so, I’m looking forward to seeing how this is going to play out,” Howie said. “But I know the parents that want this program are very passionate about it.”

A popular Mandarin immersion pilot program is already in place for kindergarten students at Paradise Valley. It has garnered near-universal praise from parents and Gov. Matt Mead.