OC elementary school offers Vietnamese immersion program

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (KABC) -- DeMille Elementary School in Westminster will be offering the first-of-its-kind Vietnamese immersion program starting this fall.

Kindergartners will have the opportunity to learn both English and Vietnamese.

"The goal is for our children to graduate and be biliterate, bicultural and bilingual," Westminster School District Superintendent Marian Kim-Phelps said. "Research shows that dual immersion programs elevates the academic achievement of all children. So they have a tendency to do a lot better."

It is the first ever Vietnamese dual language immersion program in California and only the fourth in the country. Students who enroll will spend half the day learning Vietnamese and the other half learning English.

Enrollment is now underway and the school district is confident the classes will be filled.

DeMille Elementary is just a few minutes from Little Saigon. People who live in in the area make up one of the largest populations of Vietnamese people, outside of Vietnam.

"They have a desire for their children to learn their heritage language and so the demand is definitely from the community. But more importantly, we think that it will better equip out children to be more successful," Phelps said.

School officials are holding a parent information night Wednesday at the Westminster School District offices.

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