By Juan Soto
City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants parents to be more involved in their children’s education. But that involvement must go beyond classrooms and textbooks.
As the need for new public schools grows, Fariña asked parents in District 26, which stretches from Bayside to Bellrose to Glen Oaks and Douglaston, to contact the superintendent if they know about suitable spaces to rent or lease to build new educational centers .
.“If you have any ideas or suggestions about new space give them to [Danielle Giunta] and she will pass them to me,” said Fariña during a town hall meeting last week held at Little Neck’s Middle School 67, at Marathon Parkway.
Parents raised concerns about high school options, computer-based testing, dual-language programs and the Common Core requirements, among other issues, at the meeting.
Their input and questions was written on cards before they were read.
About 200 people attended the town hall meeting for School District 26.
“In terms of middle schools, this one is one of my favorites,” Fariña said.
One parent wanted to know “how much support” does the chancellor have for the dual program languages. The response was unequivocal.
“Dual program language is a priority,” Fariña said. “Speaking two languages is a must, is not an option in this global economy.”
Fariña explained that in these specialized programs, half the students are English language learners and proficient in a target language and the other half are proficient in English and learn the second language.
She noted that in middle schools it is difficult to implement the target language because it is “much harder to decide the language and the location.” She added that in elementary schools, officials “understand the value” of knowing a second language.
A day before the town hall meeting in Little Neck, Fariña announced the launching of 25 new dual language programs and the expansion of 15 others.
In the next academic year, a total of eight borough schools will offer these programs (PS 19, 110, 127, 212, 228, IS 230, MS 72 and Waterside Schools of Leadership).
“In some ways, we are all immigrant children,” Fariña said when announcing the expansion of the program. “I know education makes the difference and these new dual language programs will give students new pathways to college or a meaningful career.”
The programs will receive $1 million in federal funds. Each school will then get $25,000 to plan the implementation of the program.
Milady Baez, executive director of the DOE’s Department of English Language Learners and Student Support, noted the dual program provides “learning in two languages, and at the same time, foster respect and appreciation of cultures.”
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4564.