Giving English Language Learners in Chinatown a Chance at Success

Thanks to the generous support of funders like you, the Federation is tackling the problem of how to support our English Language Learners (ELLs) in Chinatown’s public elementary schools, who score below the citywide rate on English Language Arts tests. For these students, education is a primary means of achieving long-term success for themselves and their families.

Children's Classroom with Teacher and Students and Visitors

Maria Willis of PS 1 models how to use debate techniques to help ELLs develop their speaking skills.

We have partnered with six Chinatown elementary schools to provide K-3 teachers of ELLs with targeted professional development opportunities to support their instruction of ELL students. We want to evaluate: How does training teachers who work with ELLs impact ELLs’ performance on standardized tests?

In March, lead teachers from each school observed Maria Willis’ 2nd grade classroom at PS 1 use close reading and debate techniques to support their claim that bats were helpful (or not!) with textual evidence. Afterwards, Maria talked about the impact that debating work has had on her ELL students’ oral language development since the fall.

Lead teachers were excited to apply the lesson to their own classroom teaching and share their learning with colleagues. One participant said, “This funding provides opportunities for teachers to learn skills to teach ELLs. We love the results! I am confident that our children will be better prepared. THANK YOU!”

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