January 31st was the Chinese New Year, though not a lot of people in Wyoming celebrate it. But students at Paradise Valley Elementary put on a show Friday for their parents, to show off the skills they've been learning in the pilot year of dual language immersion.
They spend half the day studying in English with an American teacher, and the other half in Mandarin Chinese with a native teacher. And while it hasn't been easy, parents and kids say it's very rewarding.
Lindsay Coryel, the mom Of DLI kindergartner, says it's been amazing. "You never think that your five year old is going to be smarter than you but they are! They know something that you don't know at all," Coryel said.
Brian Deurloo is now Chairman of the DLI Steering Committee, and he's happy to finally have this program for child. "As the world gets smaller globally, if we want to give our children the best advantage possible with education, travel, a business, whatever... we can give them the gift of a second language," Deurloo said. He adds progress has been good, with others hoping to piggy back on Natrona County School District's success.
"We're right where we want to be, I mean with mandarin we've filled next year's class already I believe, we've got a waiting list, the Spanish immersion class is full already... Evanston, Rock Springs, Cheyenne, are saying 'hey we heard you've got this going can you help us out?" Deurloo added.
And that Spanish class would be at Park Elementary. The school has to meet certain criteria first but they've gotten preliminary approval, and News 13 will keep you updated on progress there as well.