SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Knowing a second language can provide a number of benefits for students.

Iliana Becerra is a second-grader at Irving Dual Language Elementary School in Sioux City. She’s hoping to keep learning Spanish to do something many students enjoy every day.

“I can talk to my parents a lot better because they only speak Spanish,” she said. “It feels nice to talk to them in their language, instead of talking to them in English and them not knowing what I’m saying.”

Right now, she’s learning the basics.

“I’ve learned to say lots of numbers and lots of letters,” she said.

Teacher Maria Guzman is not only helping Becerra but students who already speak Spanish, as well.

The school offers a 50/50 program, which means Guzman spends half the day teaching in English and half in Spanish.

“We switch quarterly, so students receive social studies and math in either English or Spanish quarterly,” Guzman said. “So that switches quarterly, and literacy is taught twice a day, so they receive that all quarters.”

The goal is for the students to be bilingual, bi-literate, and have a better understanding of Hispanic culture.

Stacey Alex has watched her son Oliver learn Spanish thanks to the school’s program.

“My kid’s grandparents do not speak any English at all,” she said. “So, I think that every kid has the right to have a great relationship with their family, so it means a lot to us personally.”

Her son talks to his grandparents in Spanish every weekend over Zoom.

“I really feel that without the dual language program, my son’s skills would not be as strong as they are right now.”