NYC Will Add More Dual Language Pre-K Programs

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left front, and Chancellor Richard Carranza, center front, were joined by other elected officials at P.S. 128 in Washington Heights to announce an expansion of pre-K dual language program. (Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office, via Chalkbeat)

New York City plans to add 47 new pre-K dual language programs for the 2019-2020 school year, bringing the total to 107 programs across the five boroughs, more than triple the 30 offered in 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced on Feb. 4.

The new programs will include the city’s first first French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew and Japanese pre-K dual language programs.

Christina Veiga reports in Chalkbeat about the new offerings:

In dual language programs, children are taught in both English and another language, and enrollment is typically split between native speakers of each language. The approach can boost learning for non-native speakers and is often seen as a potent integration tool since many white, middle class families seek out such programs.

“This is how we embrace diversity, we reflect our communities, and we prepare our future global citizens,” said Chancellor Richard Carranza.

The Hispanic Federation lauded the city’s addition of new dual language programs, Chalkbeat reports, and federation President José Calderón called the new programs “a testament to the importance of mayoral control. It is an incredible gift of education and multi-language acquisition for our children and their families that will strengthen communities across our city for generations to come.”

In announcing the additional dual language programs, a press release from Mayor de Blasio’s office stated:

Dual language classes are comprised of 50 percent children whose home language is the target language of the program and 50 percent English-proficient students. Instruction is held in both languages, and students in pre-K dual language classes may continue on the dual language track in kindergarten and beyond.

 In addition to the City’s pre-K dual language programs, there are currently 545 bilingual programs across every borough for students in grades K-12. Approximately 200 bilingual programs have opened or expanded since the 2013-14 school year. Bilingual programs are available in schools citywide in 13 languages, serving approximately 40,000 students.

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