It is our pleasure to welcome you to the NYS Manhattan/Staten Island Regional Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center website. In addition to the Districts in Manhattan and Staten Island, we also serve Special Education District 75.
As a parent of a child who is learning English, we understand that you may have many questions about the services available to your child to help him/her succeed in school.
The following is a short description of the kinds of services your child should receive in order to learn English. Since your child speaks another language at home, that instruction is called English as a Second Language (ESL).
- When you and your child come to school, you will be given a Home Language Survey, which asks questions about the language you and your child speak at home. This survey is available in 12 different languages, and you should get the one that is in English and the one that is in your own language. If you speak a language for which there is no translation, you may request that a translator be made available so that you can understand the questions on the survey. A staff member at the school will talk to your child to determine how much English your child speaks.
- If your child doesn't speak very much English, a Language Assessment Battery test (LAB-R) will be given to your child to see how much English your child knows so that he/she can be given the correct services.
- Staff at the school should explain to you the type of programs that are available so that you can choose the program you prefer for your child. The programs that the school may offer are described below:
- Bilingual Education Program
If there are enough children in your child's grade at school who speak the same language, your child may be entitled to go into a bilingual (two languages) education program. This is a program where the teacher presents all the subjects, such as math, science and social studies in your language AND in English. In addition, the children in this class will receive instruction in ESL. The teachers have special training and certification in teaching bilingual education and various subjects (math, science, social studies). Research has shown that bilingual education is effective in the development of children's speaking and learning ability. Your culture and language will be honored and appreciated. Your child will be tested in English every year, on a test called the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), to determine his/her English level, and to decide if ESL and bilingual classes are still necessary.
If a parent would like his/her child to participate in a bilingual education program and the school does not have one, the parent may be referred to a school that does have one so that the child can participate in a bilingual program.
- Free-standing ESL Program
This is a program for children where there are not enough children who speak the same language to establish a bilingual education class. It is also for the child whose parent doesn't want the child to participate in a bilingual program. In the Free-standing English as a Second Language (ESL) program, the child receives all of his/her education in English only. The teachers have special training and certification in ESL and know how to teach students for whom English is a new language using special methods and materials. In this program, the student's culture and language is also honored and appreciated. Your child will be tested in English every year, on a test called the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), to determine his/her English level, and to decide if ESL classes are still necessary.
Note: In another section on this website, Q&A (Questions and Answers). We have listed the most frequently asked questions and answers that may help you understand the programs and services available for your child.
- Bilingual Education Program