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Vietnamese Dual-Language-Immersion School Opens in California

The Westminster school system in California's Orange County has opened the state's first English-Vietnamese dual-language-immersion program.

Kindergarten students at DeMille Elementary School will be taught in English and Vietnamese, with staff planning to expand it to 1st grade for the 2016-17 school year. The program could include other grades in coming years if it proves popular.

The school's principal told the Los Angeles Times that more than 30 Asian, white and Latino students have enrolled in the program. Demille is located in Little Saigon, a Vietnamese enclave in Orange County.

The Orange County Register reports that just three other schools nationally have English-Vietnamese dual language programs. The schools in Austin, Tex., Portland, Ore., and the Highline school system in King County, Wash., primarily serve students in the early elementary grades. Television station KVUE reports that officials in Austin are considering adding classes for middle and high school students as well.

Here's a video highlighting instruction in the Highline schools:

Highline Public Schools Dual Language - Vietnamese from Highline Public Schools on Vimeo.

The scarcity of instructional materials in Vietnamese led the Westminster district to partner with California State University-Fullerton's National Resource Center for Asian Languages to develop texts, the Times reported.

The Times reported that registration is open to students outside the district's established attendance boundaries.

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