One of a kind school in the Central Valley attracting attention from around the world

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A small school in Clovis is catching the eyes of parents and students throughout California and from the other side of the world.

Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School is the only Armenian school in the state between San Francisco to Los Angeles.

"Because of a lot of programs that we are doing I've been getting calls from different countries, different states, and different cities. People are going to be moving here to go to this school," said Principal Curtis Shamlin.

In addition to the basics of reading, writing and Arithmetic Shamlin pointed out each student learns about the culture of Armenia through cooking, music, and dance.

And they learn to read and write in Armenian by the end of Kindergarten and use those skills in the classroom all the way through sixth grade.

"Everybody here learns to speak Armenian, read and write in Armenian. And we have two different dialects, Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian," said Shamlin.

The school has about 15 teachers and 90% of the 114 students are Armenian, including a few who have moved to the United States from Armenia.

Some are learning to read and write in English. Teachers see this as an opportunity to give those students the help they need that public schools may not be able to provide.

"Here they have the nurturing environment to be able to use their home language but also learn the language that we have here as well," said teacher Kelsey Prince.

She is a former student of Keyan Community School and now teaches 3rd Grade with a class of eight students.

Prince understands the importance of a small student to teacher ratio.

"These kids go through these grades as very small classes and being able to appreciate one another and work off one another so often during school and outside of school as well," said Prince.

Keyan Community School is looking at the possibility to expand to 7th and 8th grade next school year.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.