NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A committee of parents, teachers and administrators is working on redesigning the City School District of New Rochelle's world language offerings at the elementary level to provide equitable access to high-quality language instruction from an early age throughout the District.
A robust language program in schools is invaluable in preparing students for an increasingly international society. The 40-member World Languages Committee has been meeting and brainstorming to develop ideas for language programs that are consistent throughout the elementary schools and that continue into the higher grades. The Board of Education has charged the committee with proposing potential solutions that do not add to the cost of the program.
The committee is scheduled to present options to the school board later this month.
"Speaking two-or more languages is a great asset which offers mental benefits," said Dr. Magda Parvey, Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. "Studies have shown that improved memory, decision-making skills and heightened multi-tasking abilities are all benefits of learning a second language. We want all of our students, starting at the elementary level, to have equitable access to the benefits of learning a second language."
Grade school students in the District currently have various opportunities to begin becoming bilingual or multilingual with classes in Spanish and other languages. The World Languages Committee members have been reviewing the current status of the program and discussing scholarly journals to propose ways to improve access to language offerings at the elementary level.
Representatives of the committee updated the Board of Education on their progress in a recent meeting at the Daniel Webster Magnet School.
Their options include reconsidering the number of languages offered within the District, the grade level at which foreign language instructions begin, the length and frequency of classes, and how students would be grouped during the classes.
The committee also offered the school board the following timeline for the World Languages program redesign:
Jan. 11: Meeting of the World Languages Committee to finalize options
Jan. 30: Presentation of options to the Board of Education
Feb. 6: Community input forum through PTA meetings
Feb. 27: Board of Education discussion of the options presented, but no action
March 6: Decision on program
Spring 2018: Plan program, communicate program to community, and schedule courses
Sept. 2018: First year of implementation.