New York City Schools to Add Dual-Language Programs at 40 Schools

By Corey Mitchell
January 14, 2015

New York City Schools will add dual-language programs at 40 schools next fall, boosting the number of programs in the district by close to 10 percent.

The initiative will include instruction in Mandarin, French, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Japanese, or Spanish, depending on the school site.

 In dual-language programs, lessons are taught in English and a second language, with the goal of students becoming fluent in both. City schools already offer about 480 bilingual programs.

One in seven students in the 1.1-million student system is an English-language learner.

"In some ways we are all immigrant children, and as an English-language learner, I know education makes the difference and these new dual-language programs will give students new pathways to college or a meaningful career," schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement. "We are also recognizing that speaking multiple languages is an asset for students, families, schools and our entire city."

Federal Title III language instruction funds will cover the cost for the programs. The city's Department of English-Language Learners and Student Support will lead the effort, which will feature new programs in each of the five boroughs.

The district will host parent engagement workshops in May that focus on all programs offered to English-language learners.

In the fall, Fariña created a new position to oversee all English-learner programs and tapped a long-time dual-language educator and administrator Milady Baez to run it. Milady Baez, whose title is senior executive director of the department of English-language learners and student support, will be a member of the chancellor's senior management team and report directly to Fariña.

Last month, the New York State Board of Regents approved an emergency order to ensure students are able to enroll in the state's public schools regardless of their immigration status. The policy prohibits schools from asking about immigration status of students or their families during the enrollment process.