What is the Bilingual Revolution?
The Bilingual Revolution is a movement toward international bilingualism. Through parent involvement in their school districts, the goal is to implement bilingual immersion programs in schools across the nation and to make bilingualism the norm.
WHAT RIGHTS DO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS HAVE IN REGARD TO BILINGUAL EDUCATION?
English language learners have the right to receive literacy in their own language as well as in English.
WHAT IS A DUAL-LANGUAGE PROGRAM (DLP)?
A dual language program is a program that teaches general school subjects, like language arts, math, and science in two languages, such as English and another language. The goal is to make students fully bilingual.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BILINGUALISM?
Bilingualism creates a rich knowledge of another culture, promotes diversity and compassion, and creates curiosity to discover other languages and cultures. Knowing a second language increases brain function and academic capabilities in children. The ability to communicate with an entirely different side of the world by just learning a second language opens thousands of doors to education and job opportunities.
IF I OR MY CHILD DO NOT SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE, CAN HE/SHE JOIN A DLP?
Yes! The goal of dual language programs is to learn a second language through language immersion programs in schools.
How can I start a Dual-Language
Program at my school?
Contact the superintendent and ask, as they know their districts best. The DLPs are considered a game-changer to a public school as usually engaged parents make an average school a top neighborhood school. Make sure to keep the following criterion in mind when talking to the superintendent: Have a welcoming and dedicated principal, leadership, and/or teacher team; Ensure the school has the space/capacity to host the program for the next 4-5 years; and make sure there is access to public transportation in your area.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN RESOURCES IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE FOR THE CLASSROOM?
Approach sponsors and local consulates, embassies, etc. for resources for the target language.
DO I NEED TO RAISE MONEY FOR A DLP?
Yes, funding is crucial for the beginnings of a dual language program.
HOW CAN I CONVINCE A PRINCIPAL TO LAUNCH A DLP?
Talk about the advantages such as preparing children for jobs of the future, creating harmony in the community, increased cognitive plasticity. The pros of bilingualism and Dual Language Programs far exceed any cons.
Show your principal that your group brings various talents to the school, is diverse and willing to change the dynamics within school. DLPs should end in “enrichment for the whole school.” Generally, DLP parents are eager to work with the leadership team of the school to drive the overall success. It is important that the parents want to be part of the school community and integrate themselves (e.g. PTA).
Oftentimes, principals are worried to host such programs as engaged parents can bring additional workload. Other principals are excited to have support from those parents and bringing diversity to their school. The school, the children, the parents and the community can benefit from those language programs. Schools truly change and change needs to be embraced.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN FUNDING FOR DLP?
You can obtain funding by volunteering your own service, by organizing activities for your own community–talking to the local PTA should help.
You can start fundraising among the parents and ask governmental institutions, corporate partners and friends for donations. It is recommended to reach out to developers as they might be interested in supporting a local school when building new housing / rental apartments.
The parent initiative needs some funds as flyers and other marketing material needs to be purchased.
Asking for donations from local businesses, individual donors, corporations, grants from foundations, etc. may be other ways to look.
HOW LONG IN ADVANCE SHOULD I START PLANNING TO OPEN A NEW DLP?
Anywhere from 1-2 years in advance. It will require getting parents, advisors, and principals together to plan the program, find funding, and attaint district approval.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO I NEED TO START A DLP?
New York City: If you want a DLP, it is a minimum of 12 ELLs (English Language Learners), for Enrichment Classes, you have no minima. Best is to discuss this in detail with your school leadership team, the superintendent, and the Department of English Language Learners (DOE Central). This can vary from city to city, so contact your school’s superintendent for more information.
HOW CAN I FIND QUALIFIED TEACHERS FOR DLP CLASSROOMS?
The DOE also supports schools as they recruit bilingual teachers and offers a program to support certified teachers with language proficiency to obtain their bilingual extension certificate. Under a new agreement with the UFT, qualified teachers who earn a bilingual extension certificate can teach under that license while maintaining their former teaching license status. With regards to the German program, we shared a job description via our channels (Goethe Institut, Consulate, etc.). However, we learnt later, this was a problem for the DOE because of the unions.
SHOULD I MOVE TO ANOTHER AREA/DISTRICT OR APPLY A CERTAIN SCHOOL TO ENTROLL MY CHILD IN A BILINGUAL PROGRAM?
This is an option. Another approach is to organize with other families interested in immersion programs and advocate for starting one at your local school. Parents have a right to help shape their local public school in a way that they think would benefit their children. Parent involvement is crucial in creating and maintaining strong DLPs in schools and keeping schools’ programs successful.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR A DLP AT MY SCHOOL?
To sign up for a dual language program at your school, you must find a number of students and parents willing and eager to create the program. To find other parents interested in DLPs in your area, head to the “Connect” section of thebilingualrevolution.info. There you will find various resources to connect with parents, schools and experts, as well as any upcoming events.
HOW CAN A DLP HELP MY SCHOOL?
It can help improve diversity, attract more students and create more funding, and create an overall better learning environment that will help children excel in school and later in life. DLPs can also bring communities closer together as they become more involved, creating a more positive and welcoming school environment.
How can parents advertise
a Dual Language Program?
You will have to use all forms of communication and try to spread the message and find likeminded parents locally. Some ideas are:
Prepare flyers and distribute them in your neighborhood at parks/playgrounds, children’s hair salons, early childhood centers, supermarkets, libraries, parenthood apps, etc.
Contact local media & regional journalists.
Use blogs & websites of your institutional partners (e.g. embassies, consulates, cultural institutions, after care partners, restaurants, etc.)
Build a website and/or Facebook page. Spread the word by telling your friends and parent and teachers at school.