[lg policy] Wyoming: Parents ask for Spanish dual-language program at Casper school

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 9 15:53:04 UTC 2013

Parents ask for Spanish dual-language program at Casper school

   - [image: Park Elementary
   - [image: Park Elementary
   - [image: Park Elementary

  [image: Park Elementary Spanish]
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Alan Rogers | Star-Tribune

Spanish teacher Maria Garcia helps a student write a Christmas card in
Spanish during a fourth and fifth-grade lesson Friday at Park Elementary
School in Casper. All Park students in kindergarten through fifth grade
currently receive 90 minutes of Spanish instruction per week, and the
school has sought to implement a dual-language immersion Spanish program.
   21 hours ago  •  By LEAH TODD Star Tribune staff
(3) Comments<http://trib.com/news/local/education/parents-ask-for-spanish-dual-language-program-at-casper-school/article_46de8532-415a-5eb1-9d8c-a1acb40d820c.html#comments>
 Chinese and English: Dual language program grows in

Anastasia Lite Li is a soft-spoken woman until her students enter the
Chinese classroom. Read
 Parents, officials call for school board's commitment to dual language in

Parents and school officials asked the Natrona County School Board on
Monday for a long-term commitment to a Chinese dual-language immersion p… Read
 Natrona County School District to host dual language information

Parents of incoming kindergarten students for the 2014-15 school year can
learn more about the Natrona County School District's dual-language … Read
  Interested in dual language?

*Dual language immersion information meetings:*

When: Noon on Dec. 11; Noon on Jan. 21

Where: Central Services Facility, 970 N. Glenn Rd. in Casper.

*Dual language immersion open houses:*

When: 4 - 6 p.m., Jan. 9

Where: Paradise Valley Elementary School

When: 6 p.m., Jan. 9

Where: Park Elementary School

Interested parents should contact Beth Millay at 307-253-5322 to reserve a
place at one of these meetings.
  NCSD Board meeting Monday

The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees will meet Monday to
give a first reading to its policy for approving dual language programs.

The board will also:

   - Interview candidates and appoint a new trustee to fill a board seat
   vacated by former Trustee Audrey Cotherman, who resigned last month
   after five years on the
   - Hear an update on facilities construction.
   - Consider authorizing district staff to negotiate a contract with AP
   Wyoming for the construction of a new Lincoln Elementary School.

The trustees' work session will begin with candidate interviews at 5 p.m.
in the district's Central Services Facility at 970 N. Glenn Rd. in Casper,
followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.

As Natrona County school officials craft a policy to approve future
dual-language immersion programs, a group of local parents is revamping its
efforts to advocate for a second such program in Casper.

Park Elementary School was one of three schools to apply for a
dual-language immersion
interest first surfaced here last year. Though the district this
spring approved a proposal for a Chinese dual-language immersion program at
Paradise Valley
and not Park's proposal for a Spanish dual-language immersion program, a
contingency of parents and school officials are still passionate about the

"We are pretty excited and hopeful here," Park Elementary Principal Dawn
DeWald said. "Dual-language, to me, has always been an exiting opportunity
that I think is out there for our children."

DeWald, in her first year as principal at Park, was formerly principal of
two bilingual elementary school campuses in Texas. Park Elementary has
offered a traditional Spanish language class to its K-5 student body for 11
years, she said.

"As a new principal, the first parents I met were those who said, 'Is it
true you believe in dual-language immersion? Because we want Spanish,'" she

With the support of the school's new principal and a school board that has
expressed enthusiasm for the dual-language philosophy, Park parents crafted
a task force to help draw interest to a Spanish dual-language immersion
program at their school.

A Spanish immersion program would fit well into the Park community, said
Nohora Groce, the parent of a kindergartner at Park Elementary. There, her
daughter receives 90 minutes of Spanish instruction each week.

The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees meets Monday to talk
about standardizing its procedure for approving dual-language immersion

Groce plans to attend.

"So they know that we're still there, still interested," Groce said.

Park parent Melissa Martorano also supports a Spanish dual-language
immersion program at the school, where her 5-year-old daughter, Bianca,
enjoys what Spanish instruction she is already getting.

"Bianca just can't get enough Spanish," Martorano said. "She has an ear for

Park Elementary uses multi-age classrooms to use older students' knowledge
to leverage younger students' progress. Pending district approval, DeWald
said, the inaugural group of Spanish dual-language learners at Park could
include one class of kindergartners and one class of first graders learning
part of the day in English and part of the day in Spanish.

"The interest is pretty strong," NCSD's associate superintendent of
curriculum and instruction, Mark Mathern, said of Park Elementary's
proposal. "I think we’re close to, but not quite there yet, on the numbers
of students we would need."

Mathern said board support for the dual-language concept is high, due in
large part to enthusiastic parent efforts over the past year.

"You're seeing real positive comments from the board about how to make this
part of our culture here in Natrona County," Mathern said.

At its meeting Monday, the board will give a first reading to its proposed
policy to standardize the approval process for dual-language immersion
programs. According to a draft of the policy, the board is considering
requiring schools interested in a dual-language immersion program to
demonstrate strong parental support, a positive consensus from the school,
viable enrollment numbers and adequate available budget and staff resources.

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