Casper Dual Immersion

Archive for the category “How can I make this happen in Casper?”

News about Spanish DLI

Park Elementary got one step closer to being approved to be Casper’s first (and Wyoming’s second) Spanish Dual Language Immersion elementary school at last night’s NCSD Board of Trustee meeting. Second (and final) vote will happen in two weeks at the January 27th Board meeting. Way to go, Park!!!!


Trustee’s board meeting- January 13th, 2014

The Board will have the second and final hearing for the Dual Immersion Program (DLI) for any school that want to implement the program in Natrona County. If it is approved, then they will start considering Park’s proposal.

We will love to see all the interested parties there. We need your support!

Monday January 13th, 7:30 p.m at Central Services.

Spanish DLI Parent Task Force

There is a new group for Spanish Dual Immersion on Facebook, if you are interested in the program and willing to help please join us:

Mandarin is coming to Casper! Spanish possible in 2014!

Late night update on Board decision….

Mandarin at Paradise Valley beginning in kindergarten 2013! IF PROGRAM IS SUCCESSFUL, Park may go Spanish in 2014.

There are many stipulations that go into this decision, but for now, that is what we have. I will post more information tomorrow.

While this decision does not get everything for everyone, it is a start. For those that stood up and spoke about your passion for DLI, thank you. The crowd was impressive and the testimonies moving. You were amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For those programs that did not get the go ahead for next year, we are still pulling for you. PV will be amazing so there WILL BE ADDITIONAL GROWTH!

DLI Vote – April 8th, 7:30 pm – Suggested Talking Points for Public Comment Period

Dual Language Immersion – Suggested Talking Points

Thank you for attending the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees meeting tonight to show your support for Dual Language Immersion programs in the Natrona County school district.

For your convenience, below are three Dual Language Immersion (DLI) talking points.  These are provided to help our supporters stay focused on our two objectives of two languages (Spanish and Mandarin) to begin in the Fall of 2013 for kindergarten students.

You will have only 3 minutes to state your case at the beginning of the Board meeting which starts promptly at 7:30pm Monday April 8th.  After this time, you will not have an opportunity to voice your opinion in this meeting.

As an example, you may choose to focus on one or more of the talking points below when you deliver your address to the Board:

  1. Please tell a personal story to illustrate why dual language immersion is important to you as a parent:
    1. Why is it important to you that your child learn a second language?
    2. Do you travel or do business overseas where a second language would benefit you or eventually help the children of this county/state?
    3. Have you traveled, or travel often, to places where knowing a second language would benefit you?
    4. Are you involved with a Wyoming business that could benefit from selling exports to countries that speak Mandarin, Spanish and/or French?
    5. Has a cross-cultural experience affected your family?  Examples may include, but are not limited to, adopting a foreign child or having a family member that speaks another language.
  1. DLI should be implemented in the Fall of 2013, to take maximum advantage of the current momentum for DLI programs in Natrona County.  Parental involvement should demonstrate that this is a wanted and needed program in Casper.
  1. I understand that learning a second language can have a powerful impact on my child’s future.
  1. Spanish is important due to the number of Spanish speakers in the US, the proximity to Spanish speaking countries, vast travel opportunities, employment opportunities, etc…
  2. Mandarin is one of the most challenging languages to learn as an adult but not for a child.  Learning Mandarin will help our children be competitive in tomorrow’s global market.  It is important to me that my child learn Mandarin first and then possibly learn an easier language such as Spanish, French, Portuguese at a later date because…

PLEASE THANK THE TRUSTEES and tell them that by adopting DLI programs they are sending a powerful message to the community that the Board is being proactive in preparing our children for the future.

Thank you very much for your support of the Dual Language Immersion program.  This will be such a gift for our children!

Casper Star Tribune Article – Critical Phase for DLI 4/6/13


Casper school dual-language immersion proposal enters critical phase


G. Ron Akin’s response Perspective piece to Norm Carrell’s anti-DLI Guest Editorial

Parents and citizens know the problems

Joel Dvorak’s DLI recommendations to the Trustees

Well…..Joel Dvorak has submitted his two top recommendations to the Board of Trustees for DLI. They are copied below. Discuss…..

Recommendation #1:

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend the implementation of a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program the District beginning at Paradise Valley Elementary School fin 2014-2015. I further recommend that the first targeted language be Spanish.

RATIONALE: In the Fall of 2012, staff began working with the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Parent Task Force to present interests to the C&I Board Committee and Trustees in January and February, 2013. In March, 2013, principals, teachers, and parents of interested schools visited dual language sites in Utah seeking answers to questions about student performance, costs, implementation, and sustainability. Updates were provided at regular committee meetings and to Trustees in March.

To date, parents of 99 Kindergartners and 62 first graders have expressed interest in DLI programming.

Paradise Valley is an optimum site to start DLI programming. According to their application of interest, 100% of staff are supportive of the program and are interested in either Chinese or Spanish. In addition, the school is a “right sized” 4:3 school, so they can accommodate the design of the dual language immersion model and provide options for parents not interested in DLI.

Offering Spanish as the targeted language is in line with survey data from parents indicating that 39% prefer Spanish and another 41% of respondents would enroll in either Chinese or Spanish. Research and findings from the Utah visit indicated that no single language is “more useful” or “less useful”: what matters is having more than one language in the brain and giving the students the multi-language experience.

Starting the program in 2014-2015 gives staff more time to fully deploy this recommendation with three areas requiring attention: hiring quality dual language elementary teachers, establishing regular enrollment processes, and aligning curriculum.

Recommendation #2:

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that parents of Kindergartners committed to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) be allowed to enroll now at Paradise Valley, with an understanding that DLI instruction will begin in both Kindergarten and First Grades in 2014-2015.

RATIONALE: To date, parents of 99 Kindergartners have expressed interest in DLI programming and have signed a “first come – first served” enrollment list. Without this enrollment option, those children would not be able to participate in the program. Momentum from the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Program – Parental Task Force would be severely stifled. Committing to enrollment helps to sustain that momentum and sends a signal that the District is committed to DLI over the long term.

Paradise Valley has seats available for 68-72 Kindergartners. Thirty-nine of these children are siblings, or neighborhood, or employee children. Some of these children will be able to enroll in the dual language immersion program. There will be room for two classrooms of DLI students, while accommodating siblings, employee, and neighborhood children.

Enrolling DLI-interested students now allows school staff and parents to prepare the children and the school community for the dual language experience. Parents have committed to several culture-building practices that can move forward at this time.

Starting the program in 2014-2015 gives staff more time to fully deploy this recommendation with three areas requiring attention: hiring quality dual language elementary teachers, establishing regular enrollment processes, and aligning curriculum.

Update before Board DLI Vote

Just a few more days to go! The Trustees are worried that next fall may be too soon to start the program. Many believe that we need more time to work out a plan. Many parents whose children would lose out disagree. We are pushing to start next year. By doing this, we need to assure the Trustees that, as parents, we are willing to work through mistakes, hurdles and whatever roadblocks may happen due to the rushed nature of this implementation. We must support the teachers, principals and students as they learn a new language, a new curriculum and a new teaching framework along with the Trustees. Utah has gone overboard in their willingness to help so there will be support and encouragement from them.

Please re-read the following items that were on the DLI student application form. Make sure that you have thought about them and know where and for what language you would be willing to place your son/daughter. IF APPROVED, the enrollment office has a very short timeline to get commitment phone calls out to parents to verify if they are still interested in the program. You will not be able to think about it. Kindergarten placement letters will go out later that week.

Key Items of Agreement:

o I understand parental support is the key to success for the program.

o I understand that learning a language is a slow process and that the program has cross-cultural goals as well as linguistic and academic goals.

o I do not anticipate a move from the district within the next 5 years.

o I realize that children enrolled in the program will remain together from kindergarten through 5th grade.

o I understand that core courses such as math, science, and social studies will be taught in Spanish or Mandarin, and language arts and core material reinforcement will be taught in English. As students advance in the program subjects taught in the target language can change or be added.

o I understand that by signing this waitlist I am willing to consider changing the enrollment of my child to the dual immersion program ofmy choice when it is placed in a school.

More information on the board meeting to follow either this weekend or on Monday.

Vote on April 8th – What you can do now!

The NCSD School Board needs to hear from YOU!

Yes, the Board will be VOTING on April 8th whether or not to fund a (or many) pilot program of DLI.  There are some individuals who have contacted the board in opposition to the program.  It is now up to us (READ: YOU) to help move this along.  Below, you will find email addresses and phone numbers for each board member.  Please, please, please take a few minutes and write or call each one.  Let them know that there are parents who are passionate about this program and who want it started next fall.

Thoughts to remember:

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. ”  Dalai Lama or African Proverb (regardless, it is good!)

Rita Walsh, Chair

235-3587 (home) 262-8303 (cell)

Dave Applegate, Vice-Chair

234-8975 (home) 258-0406 (cell)

Audrey Cotherman, Treasurer

333-1517 (home) 265-2227 (work) 797-6354 (cell)

Suzanne Sandoval

235-3475 (home) 577-2190 (work) 259-2221 (cell) 577-2265 (fax)

Kevin Christopherson

234-0711 (home) 235-3367 (work) 267-6908 (cell)

Elizabeth Horsch

235-5895 (home) 472-5427 (fax) 262-6177 (cell)

Dana Howie

234-2824 (home) 267-4162 (cell)

Pat Keefe

235-1945 (home) 473-5616 (work) 277-9931 (cell)

Paula Reid

265-0021 (home) 262-3875 (cell)

Update on 3/25 Trustee meeting


Thank you to the parents who got up and spoke in favor of DLI last night at the Trustee’s board meeting.  As many of you were new faces, thank you, thank you.  Your efforts matter!

The DLI presentation from Dr. Mathern described the results of the parent survey as well as the next steps.  Many questions were asked by the Trustees that were on target (but tough) and the Trustees have obviously been think about what a DLI program would need for success.  Their questions and worries centered on quality implementation, budget issues, attrition of students and the potential need to add teachers during year 4 and 5 when the schools decrease their classroom count from 4 to 3 (or in Park’s case from 3 to 2).  These are good questions but we do worry about their worries!

To access the survey results as well as answers to some board questions, please see the below link.  At the link, scroll through the agenda to the Dual Language Immersion update.  When you hit on that link, you will see the two files.

So, keep getting supporters to write or call the Trustees.  They have to know the community is behind this.

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