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Italian Dual Language Program in New York: An Endangered Species?

The low numbers of enrolled pre-k children DL @ PS242  in Manhattan may put the Italian DL at risk: Parents, act now, we can still make it!

di Benedetta Scardovi-Mounier e Stefania P. Clegg

Dear Direttore,

You may remember the official launch of the Dual Language program in Italian of June 13, at the Italian Culturale Institute, at the presence of Giorgio Van Straten and Consul General Francesco Genuardi. The event was well attended by people from different boroughs and school districts, it managed to attract several Italian speaking families who knew nothing about the DL as well as many who had a special connection with our culture, lived in Italy at some point in their life, and are eager to re-connect in a way or another. During the presentation, we had the pleasure to introduce the principal of the first Italian DL – based in Brooklyn – Ms Louise Verdemare – as well as principal Ms Denise Gomez Desjardin, the staff and children of PS242, who have opened their school doors to the Italian DL program starting next September 2018. However, we were recently informed by the DOE that the low numbers of enrolled pre-k children may in fact put the Italian DL at risk! This has turned out particularly disappointing – especially if you consider the work, the commitment of many of us to try to reach that special “magic” number needed to fill a pre-k and a K class.

The event held at the Italian Cultural Institute

“Summer is always hard” was one of the comments made during our recent conference call with the DOE leaders. We all know that there are many reasons why parents may choose to enroll their child to a non-DL program somewhere else (distance from school may be a good enough reason for some). On the other hand, if we were to think about the reasons why a parent should send his/her child to a DL program we can certainly add the following arguments:

A DL may accept new children up until 1st grade, it has to start with a pre-k and /or a k class, and the school needs to have the space, i.e. 6 or 7 classrooms.

There is no guarantee of any new DL programs in the future, partly due to school overcrowding (especially in Manhattan), but also because of the current and future allocation of funds which will be spent to deal with several other aspects of education inequalities (e.g. special needs, disabilities, gender etc).

If a family is the only Italian family registered at a local public school, the only thing it is expected to do is blend in and get assimilated culturally, that is, to do what all Italians have done so far, sadly, despite Italy’s contribution to contemporary culture (think about education, arts, science, maths, sports etc).

Please help us increase those number – Enroll your child in the DL!

This is how YOU can help the DL Italian DL @ PS242  ps242.com

by August 9 – email to forward your interest in having your child enrolled at pre-k and k  COrtega2@schools.nyc.gov , Dual Language Program, can come to the school for REGISTRATION ON MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, and FRIDAY from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

also open UNTIL 6PM on MONDAY AUGUST 6 and THURSDAY AUGUST 9

WHAT YOU NEED TO HAVE IF YOU WANT TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD

1) Birth certificate
2) Two proofs of address
3) Immunization records

CALLS CAN BE MADE TO THE MAIN OFFICE AT at (212)678-2908 extension 1073

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE IF THERE IS NO ANSWER. DO NOT GIVE UP!
bscardovi@gmail.com / Matteosmummy@gmail.com

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