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School District Moving Forward With Dual-Language Immersion Pilot Program

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

The Natrona County School District will go forward with an optional dual-language immersion pilot program slated to be implemented next school year.

The amended curriculum approved Monday night would utilize two class sections of 22 kindergarten students at Paradise Valley Elementary School. In the pilot program, participating kindergartners would spend half of their school day learning in Mandarin Chinese.

Thea True-Wells, a parent representative with the Wyoming Dual-Language Immersion Steering Committee, says, though the committee didn’t get everything it asked for, many parents left Monday’s board meeting pleased.

“We had quite a contingent tonight come here and advocate for both Spanish and Mandarin,” True-Wells said. “I know some people left sad today, but there are a number of us that are thrilled to pieces.”

The pilot program was approved by a 7-2 margin. Board members Rita Walsh and Elizabeth Horsch voted against the recommendation.

Under the approved plan, board member Dave Applegate says implementation would cost the district $20,000 in its first year and is dependent upon the district finding a qualified Mandarin DLI teacher by June 30. Full implementation would cost at least $100,000.

The program would be subject to a critical review period after its first nine weeks.

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