A popular dual-language immersion program at a Casper elementary school will continue next school year.

Trustees with the Natrona County School District unanimously approved a recommendation Monday that expands the Mandarin immersion program at Paradise Valley Elementary School to first grade. Currently, the program only exists for Paradise Valley kindergarten students.

“We want to continue that program next year and move those 40 kids to first grade and then bring in another 40 kindergarten students to begin (the) Mandarin (immersion program),” associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction Mark Mathern said on Monday.

Trustees, however, did not vote on a recommendation Monday that would have supported district-wide expansion of the dual-immersion learning concept at other district schools.

Trustee Elizabeth Horsch told the board that more work needed to be done to the draft policy that would advocate district-wide expansion. The policy that was in the packet Monday championed program expansion as long as parental support, school staff consensus, enrollment and budget requirements were met at district schools.

Mathern says district officials are currently trying to gauge interest in adding a Spanish immersion program at Park Elementary.