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January 16, 2015
Push for bilingual pre-K classrooms gains strength as city expands both programs
The city's dual-language programs are something of a citywide secret, though there is strong research on the educational power of those programs for young learners.
September 22, 2014
Bilingual programs get the royal treatment
The visit, complete with balloons and a song-and-dance performance, added bit of royal flair to Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s continued focus on dual language programs and English language learners.
March 4, 2013
Parents work to provide support they didn't receive as students
Dreysser Cano reads a letter he wrote to his daughter aloud to participants in a literacy workshop. (Photo by Scholastic) For many parents who graduated from Scholastic’s “Rise and Read” program this month, the experience was bittersweet: They had learned new ways to support their children’s education, but they had also been reminded about how their own education had fallen short. “I want to prepare my children so they don’t have to go through what we went through,” said Rafael Encarnacion, who participated in the program with his wife Nikiesha. “So they have a basic foundation. We want to show them the basics of doing well in school, keeping up and staying focused.” Scholastic’s six-session Rise and Read workshop series aims to give parents tools to practice reading with their children — by handing out new books, but also by talking about everyday ways to introduce reading, whether through sounding out signs or reading along to lyrics of a favorite song.
October 12, 2011
Required to help ELLs, city to open 125 new bilingual programs
The city will launch 125 new bilingual programs under the terms of a required plan to improve the treatment of students who are classified as English language learners. Test scores and high school graduation rates for ELLs lag far behind the city average, and last summer the state told then-Chancellor Joel Klein to produce a "corrective action plan" for how to serve the students better. That plan, released today and posted below, sets out an ambitious remediation schedule — and also highlights just how much the city has lagged in providing legally mandated services to ELLs. In the plan, the city promises to reduce the number of ELLs whose teachers are not trained to work with them and to punish schools that fail to provide services to which ELLs are entitled. It also promises to launch 125 new bilingual programs by 2013, including 20 this school year, on top of the 397 that are already open. The new programs will open in districts with many ELLs and where parents say they prefer their children placed in classrooms where instruction takes place in two languages, rather than in English-only classes with extra help for non-native speakers. The city has hired Ernst & Young, an auditing group, to monitor whether parents' choices are honored. Some of the new programs will open in high school campuses where no bilingual instruction currently takes place. When he approved several school closures in July, State Education Commissioner John King expressed concern about whether new high schools would serve the same students who attended the schools that closed. The plan commits to opening new programs when existing ones phase out along with their schools.
May 6, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
Latest on Jeffco schools budget cuts - Get in on Denver Public Library's summer reading programs - Dougco vouchers a hit - A school with no grades and no grade levels - School with American Indian focus.
April 29, 2011
This week's teaching & learning tidbits
Two Colo. teachers earn top honors in math/science - Mixed reaction to teacher eval plans in Colo. - Many H.S. classes 'advanced' in name only - Colo. could ditch more school tests.
April 4, 2011
Ask an Expert: Getting a child to learn a second language.
Spanish is the most accessible language for public school children to learn in Colorado, but there are ways to immerse your child in other languages as well.
January 14, 2011
Week of 1/10/11: Teaching & learning tidbits
Special ed fair in Aurora, Race to Nowhere screenings near you, Denver School of Science and Technology touts 100 percent of grad class accepted to four-year college, decline in computer science education, schools prep for national standards, NY teacher rankings rankle, enrollment growth in Colo., DPS Educa radio show lauded.
January 13, 2011
Denver parents: Need a tutor for your child? Deadline Friday.
Free tutoring is offered to qualified students in Denver Public Schools. The deadline to apply for the tutoring is Friday. Read more in this post.
January 10, 2011
Ask an Expert: Best approaches to ESL instruction.
The law requires all students - even those with limited English skills- have access to a quality education. Schools should be able to pull this off without marginalizing any students.
October 28, 2010
Ask an Expert: How to choose a good bilingual school.
Do you want your child to be bilingual? In this post, learn about the questions you should ask and information you should seek out from bilingual schools in your area.
July 9, 2010
City reopens hiring for ESL, science, Latin, Chinese teachers
With eight weeks to go before the 2010-2011 school year begins, the city is letting principals hire more teachers from outside the school system. An update to the city's year-old teacher hiring freeze means that principals are now free to hire people who are licensed to teach earth science, middle school general science, English as a second language for grades 7-12, Chinese, and Latin, even if they aren't already working in the school system. There are more open positions in these areas than there are teachers whose jobs have been eliminated, according to Department of Education spokeswoman Ann Forte. Principals were already permitted to look outside the city for special education, speech, and some Spanish bilingual subject teachers. New schools are also allowed to bring on new teachers for up to 40 percent of their hires. The most recent change suggests that the city might be starting to get a handle on how principals decided to staff up for the coming school year.
June 16, 2009
Report: High school closures hurt students learning English
The rise of small high schools has decimated programs for students whose native language is not English, making the students more likely to drop out. That's the conclusion of a report released today by two watchdog groups that look out for immigrant students, Advocates for Children of New York and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The groups studied two large, low-performing high schools that the city decided to replace with small, themed schools and found that students who are classified as English language learners enrolled in smaller numbers in the new schools. Students who did enroll often did not receive the services they needed, the groups found. What's more, according to the report, most of the new schools are too small to offer a range of language services: State law mandates that schools create bilingual programs if they enroll more than 20 students in the same grade who speak the same native language. The DOE has interpreted this mandate to mean that parents of 20 students in the same grade who speak the same language must "opt-in" to select a bilingual program - and that merely meeting the numerical enrollment threshold is insufficient.
April 20, 2009
New public school ads hit the subways, some in Spanish
A Spanish-language Keep it Going NYC subway ad. <em>GothamSchools</em> Spanish has been making more and more appearances at the highest levels of city government as Mayor Bloomberg hits the campaign trail, so I wasn't surprised last night when I boarded a subway car and saw one of the by-now-familiar Keep it Going NYC ads boasting about the city's escuelas. When translated, the ad, which is pictured above, reads, "Because we think that the opinion of each person counts, the New York City Department of Education asked all parents, students, and teachers what they think about their schools — 800,000 of them responded." (Our resident Spanish expert offers one correction: The first words after Ciudad de Nueva York should be les preguntó, she notes, lest native speakers think the ad copy is in the first-person.) The ad is part of an ongoing campaign by the Fund for Public Schools, the nonprofit fundraising organization associated with the Department of Education, to promote developments in the city schools since Bloomberg became mayor. The organization purchased subway ads for the first time last fall, and the colorful ads are also at bus stops and on taxi marquees. Below the jump is a (bad) picture I took of the ad atop the taxi that brought Elizabeth and me home from the airport on Friday night.
September 30, 2008
Debating bilingual education, English immersion, and the election
At the New York Times blog Campaign Stops this week, two education scholars are debating the best policies for English Language Learners. Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at UC Berkeley, argues that research backs up bilingual programs, which provide instruction in both English and the child's native language: Even a Bush administration review of controlled classroom experiments — seeking to identify what works in language teaching — found stronger achievement gains for students enrolled in quality bilingual programs, compared with English-immersion classrooms. Yet a skilled bilingual teacher is crucial, one who understands the knowledge and social norms that children acquire at home, and how to build from the first language to advance rich oral language and then written literacy. It’s a no-brainer for students attending schools in Europe and East Asia. Fuller notes that Barack Obama favors transitional bilingual programs, which aim to move children to English-only instruction as quickly as possible, but provide support in the native language along the way. This is different from dual language programs, which promote written and oral fluency in both languages. Of course, as commenters at the Campaign Stops blog point out, the quality and language background of the teacher matters immensely if either type of bilingual program is to work, and in schools with a wide range of native languages spoken, bilingual instruction may not be realistic. Fuller adds that other Obama proposals, like quality preschool programs and recruitment of excellent teachers, can also help close the achievement gap for these students. He emphasizes the importance of education for Hispanic voters in a number of swing states, and writes that John McCain has had "little to say to Hispanic parents" about education. In response, Lance T. Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, uses Sixth Street Prep, a high-achieving southern California charter school, as anecdotal evidence that English immersion is better for students:
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