DOE announces new bilingual programs in Queens

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The city’s Department of Education will be opening 24 new Dual Language and Transitional Bilingual Education programs in Queens schools this September, part of a citywide initiative to launch 68 new programs, the most additions at the start of a school year since 2010.

“As a first-generation American and former English Language Learner, I know firsthand the many benefits of being bilingual, and this expansion will expose many more students in our city’s schools to multiple languages,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said at the new programs’ announcement Feb. 28.

The Queens schools benefitting from the new programs span the entirety of the borough, from Forest Hills High School, which will have a Spanish Dual Language program, to Hillcrest High School, which will benefit from a new transitional bilingual education program for Chinese. The languages included in the new Queens programs are individual to each school, but include Spanish, Chinese and Bengali.

The schools with dual language programs will receive a $20,000 planning grant, while schools with a transitional bilingual education program will get a $10,000 grant. The grants will partially be funded through the Federal Title iii Language Instruction for ELLs Program. The DOE will also be offering an Urdu bilingual program for the first time.

“As the representative of one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the country, I’m thrilled to see the expansion of dual language programs across our schools,” U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said. “Programs like these not only enrich our students’ own development, but by fostering the understanding of new cultures, it strengthens communities.”

In addition to the languages being offered at Queens schools, there are also programs in place for Russian, Arabic and French. The new bilingual programs include 28 in elementary schools around the country, 16 in middle schools and 14 in high schools. With the start of the new school year and the new bilingual programs, there will be 507 total programs around the city, according to the DOE.

In Dual Language programs, about half the students will be ELLs, with the other half proficient in English, and instruction will be carried out in both languages. In the transitional bilingual education programs, ELLs are the primary target of focus, with instruction initially conducted in the students’ home languages with a gradual transition into English instruction until the students become proficient.

“We are a city of immigrants that is stronger because of our different cultures and languages,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said about the new programs. “This bilingual expansion will provide thousands more students with high-quality programs, and sends a clear message that we welcome all families in our school system.”

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Unbelievable from Queens says:
How about making sure kids know English. Or are we making sure that they know their native languages in case they get deported? What is the goal here, to hire extra teachers to pad the payroll?
March 9, 2017, 11:49 am
English from Queens says:
They should just learn English when they come here. Why do Americans have to bend over backward for these people? Learn English and quit complaining about us not knowing a different language!
March 10, 2017, 10:43 am
Helton from Flushing says:
Here's 3 surefire ways to find out who REALLY wants to be an American:

1) Schools only teach in English, like it was until 30 years ago.
2) Voting guides and voting booths only in English.
3) NYC publications and written driving test given only in English.

Immersion in English in schools works just fine. Sink or swim. Kids will adapt successfully, as they did for decades.

Voting and driving are the 2 biggest privileges around. Make it English only and we'll find out real fast who wants to be an American.

Not to mention NYC and NYS will save hundreds of millions of dollars by printing in just one language.
March 11, 2017, 9:53 pm

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