By Naeisha Rose
New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced last week that over 200 bilingual programs opened or expanded in the last four years in the city’s public schools and there will be an additional 48 opening this fall, including the first of its kind Albanian dual language class.
“Everyone in our city, including immigrant families and undocumented students, deserves a high-quality education, and language should never be a barrier to equal access,” Carranza said May 2. “When I started kindergarten, I only spoke Spanish and my parents trusted public schools to teach me English — I want to make sure every English Language Learner in New York City has the same experience I did growing up.”
The new schools chancellor replaced Carmen Fariña in March and is the son of working-class Mexican immigrants.
The expansion of the language classes, which cost $1.2 million and are either taught as Dual-Language or Transition-Bilingual Education courses, will affect 13 schools in Queens, according to the city Department of Education.
IS 77 (Ridgewood), PS 305 (Ridgewood), PS 330 (Corona), PS 22 (Flushing), PS/IS 268 (Jamaica), PS 92 (Flushing), PS 148 (East Elmhurst) and PS 384 (Brooklyn near Glendale) will all have expanded dual-languange programs in Spanish, according to Carranza’s office.
PS 13 (Flushing) will have a dual-language course in Chinese, William Cullen Bryant High School (Long Island City) will have a TBE course in Bengali, and PS 7 (Elmhurst) will have a dual-language course program in both Chinese and Bengali. Forest Elementary (Ridgewood) will have a dual-language program in Polish and IS 25 (Flushing) will have one class in Korean.
“As the world’s borough, you can hear hundreds of languages and dialects spoken around Queens daily. However, it is one thing to hear your neighbor, but to understand their words and their culture connects us on a deeper level,” said state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens). “Teaching our children to speak and read a different language will help them develop skills they need to navigate the modern world.”
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) shared Hyndman’s sentiments.
“I am pleased that students at PS/IS 268 in my district and all around the city will be given the opportunity to participate in this innovative, immersive dual language program,” Comrie said.
In dual language classes, 50 percent of students are English Language Learners and the other half are English-proficient students. Both groups are instructed in English and a target language, according to the DOE.
In Transitional Bilingual courses, English Language Learner students who speak a common home language receive instruction in that language with support in English, then gradually are taught more in English until they are proficient in English.
Parents of English Language Learner students can request the program that they believe would be best suited for their child.
“Growing up bilingual has been vital to my work as an educator, and I have seen the impact bilingual education has had on so many of my students,” said Amy Hom, the principal at PS 1 in Manhattan. “For so many of our families, bilingual programs allow their children to maintain their native language and celebrate their culture while developing important skills.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose