Trustees with the Natrona County School District have unanimously approved a recommendation establishing a second dual language immersion program at a Casper elementary school.

Trustees approved the new Spanish immersion program at Park Elementary School during Monday night’s regular meeting. Trustees also approved an expanded 20-1 class size radio for the program.

Mark Mathern, the district's associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, says the approved recommendation will open up 20 immersion seats at Park next year. He also says Spanish immersion interest has been high since trustees established a pilot Mandarin program at Paradise Valley Elementary School last year.

“52 parents expressed an interest just in the Spanish program, so we have 52 parents interested in 20 seats,” Mathern said. “So, we’ll use a computerized randomization program to pick those seats.”

English-speaking students enrolled in the program spend half of their school day learning in a foreign language. The district’s Mandarin program has drawn recent praise from Gov. Matt Mead.

Mathern says the district will now look to hire a qualified teacher for the new program.

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