Dual Language Middle School offers bilingual opportunities for New York City’s youngest learners. Students come from many Latin countries and are learning English for the 1st time. Most of the ASAS staff speaks English and Spanish in the hopes of attracting parents and encouraging diversity. Having a bilingual staff is very important for building trust with the parents and getting them engaged with the program. Low-income families find it very challenging to fully participate in their students’ education. (Dax has a write-up about this) ASAS New York is using parent empowerment techniques and meaningful participation to encourage parent engagement. 20 parents, along with their kids, participated in an outdoor culminating event as part of their environment program. The semester long program consists of nature hikes thru Central Park and culminates with a trip to Bear Mountain in upstate New York. “Most of these schools don’t exist near large areas of green spaces and this is a great way to get our kids out and exploring, Out of the city.”
This is the third year that ASAS New York partners with Dual Language and they have been granted a two-year extension. “What makes this partnership work is the relationship with the school. It’s a collaborative relationship.” Student attendance is high because of the relationship that students build with the staff and because of the mobilization of both sides of the community – the schools and the families.