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Mommies and Daddies of New York, Voice Your Preference: Go Italian!

The role of NYC families in the promotion of bilingual programs at public schools

by Stefania Puxeddu e Benedetta Scardovi
A Dual Language program has a balanced population of students in both languages, which means that an Italian DL will need children whose mother tongue is Italian. This program is made available by the DOE only if a solid family base wants it. There is so much that the Italian families of NY have to offer and time has come for all to be represented within the multicultural school community of New York City.

I read with interest the article by Enza Antenos “Enrollments in modern languages in the US”  Continue to Fall: Italian Drops by 20%.   I’d like to add some thoughts and considerations about the Italian case in NYC public schools. 

As you may already know from our common friend Francesco Fadda, together with a group of Italian parents living in the NY metro area, I am currently involved in a project which aims at the creation of an Italian DL Program in a public school in NY. At the moment, my friend Benedetta and I have been able to count as many as 26 (Italian native speaking) families who are interested in a DL Pre-K and 11 families interested in a K (both groups are happy to start in September 2018) plus 17 families with children born in 2015 (therefore eligible for a Pre-K DL in September 2019). Many of those whose children are too ‘old’ to be in a DLP, are interested in sending their children to an after-school enrichment program in Italian at their local public school. 

DL programs are bilingual programs in NYC public schools, which can only be activated if there is a sincere interest amongst families with children speaking a language different from English. Besides the many celebrated health benefits, DL programs are a very effective way to integrate different cultures. With the support of the Italian American Committee on Education IACE, each Italian DL school community will be able to receive partial financial assistance for the Italian teacher, teaching materials and resources, professional development.

We don’t know how far we are going to get with such numbers, and are continuing to network and talk to the NYC DOE. We hope to find one or more school communities in New York City, interested enough to give us a chance. There is so much that our families have to offer and time has come for us all to become an active part of the multicultural community of New York City.

Alle famiglie italiane interessate al DL, soprattutto quelle con bambini nati nel 2013, 2014 e 2015 chiediamo di mettersi in contatto con Stefania e Benedetta.


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