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English Language Learner parent conference to focus on high school and college application process and services for English Language Learners
Chancellor kicks-off a series of language specific conferences in Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, and Mandarin
Citywide gains in attendance at parent-teacher conferences and school-based workshops
NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today hosted a College Access for All Conference for English Language Learner (ELL) middle school students and families at the Tweed Courthouse. College Access for All – Middle School, one of the City’s Equity and Excellence initiatives, provides student and parent workshops around high school, college, and career success. The event also kicked-off language specific parent conferences in Spanish, Arabic, Bengali and Mandarin taking place this fall and winter.
“Parents are integral partners in our schools and I encourage families to attend conferences in their native language to get valuable information about the high school and college application processes,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “All students, whether they speak English at home or not, should have the opportunity to attend and succeed in college and these conferences will give families the resources and information to start on that path.”
The Division for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) increased its efforts to reach families and all parent engagement indicators increased during the 2015-16 school year; Parent Coordinators responded to 602,000 more phone calls than last year; 73,000 more families attended parent-teacher conferences; and school-based parent workshop attendance increased by 60,000. This growth is attributed to a renewed focus on family engagement including schools now hosting four parent-teacher conferences during the evening each school year, 40 minutes of weekly time for educators to connect with families in creative ways, ongoing professional development opportunities for Parent Coordinators and training for parent leaders and volunteers.
“As part of our commitment to providing services and resources to all families, these exciting new conferences will ensure we reach parents, grandparents, and guardians in their native language,” said Yolanda Torres, Executive Superintendent of FACE. “Parent engagement is critical to raising student achievement and we are dedicated to empowering families with information in languages they speak and understand.”
The Equity and Excellence for All initiatives support progress across all schools so that, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time, two-thirds of graduates are college-ready, and all students are reading in 2 nd grade. Through College Access for All, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus. This school year, 167 middle schools across ten districts will bring over 20,000 students to college campuses during the school year, and offer new workshops and resources for students and families around high school, college, and career success.
Earlier this fall, as part of the College Access for All initiative, the DOE announced the elimination of the CUNY application fee for low-income students, removing a significant financial barrier to students applying to college. An estimated 37,500 high school seniors will qualify for fee waivers, which allow a student to complete and submit an application listing up to six CUNY schools free of charge. Currently, over half of college-bound graduates of NYC public high schools enroll in CUNY colleges.
In addition, last school year, the Translation and Interpretation Unit expanded language access services with the creation of nine new positions across Borough Field Support Centers to ensure that schools are providing families with limited English proficiency full access to translation and interpretation services. The expansion also included an increase in the translation and interpretation services for Citywide and Community Education Councils, as well as new direct access to over-the-phone interpreters for schools, available after 5 p.m. for the first time. Interpreters are available in 200 languages.
“Citywide parent conferences have been instrumental to our Chinese American community,” said Mary Chu, Parent Coordinator at PS 160 . “Engaging parents is a crucial part of meeting the whole needs of every child and improving learning in and outside of the classroom. These conferences are about building relationships with the school community, and I look forward to continuing this important work with my school community.”
During today’s parent conference, representatives from the DOE, City Council, Mayor’s Office, City University of New York (CUNY), and community-based organizations provided information to students and their parents about the planning process for college. Interpretation and childcare for children four years old and older were made available to families.
Native Language Conferences for ELL families:
November 5, 10 am – Parent Conference for Spanish speakers at Port Richmond High School, 85 St. Joseph’s Ave., Staten Island
November 19, 10 am – Parent Conference for Spanish speakers, Monroe College, 2501 Jerome Ave., Bronx
December 3, 10 am – Parent Conference for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers, PS 94, 5010 6th Ave., Brooklyn
December 17, 10 am – Parent Conference for Arabic speakers, PS/IS 30 7002 4th Ave., Brooklyn
January 28, 10 am – Parent Conference for Bengali speakers, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Queens
For more information families can visit their nearest Family Welcome Centers or visit http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/FACE/default.htm.