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Utah’s immersion surge

April 21, 2013

 

Michael Friberg for The New York Times

Lily Buneo, teaching Portuguese at Lakeview Elementary in Provo, Utah.

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Published: April 19, 2013
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PROVO, Utah — In this deeply Mormon state, the school day is being translated into Chinese. Strains of Taiwanese pop songs float through the hallways. School cafeterias serve dumplings. Third graders pass notes in Mandarin. And when visitors enter a classroom, the students shout, “Ni hao!”

Michael Friberg for The New York Times

Chinese art at Wasatch Elementary School, where 360 students take Mandarin classes. Officials say a bilingual work force could lure international companies.

“If I close my eyes, I see a room full of Chinese children,” said Colleen Densley, the principal of Wasatch Elementary School here in central Utah, recalling the words of one amazed teacher. “If I open my eyes I see my American students.”

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