Thirteen programs designed to serve the needs of second language learners, students for whom English is a second language or who are learning world languages, were showcased at a special ceremony on Thursday, May 20, 2004. The locally developed programs are the first to be honored under the Second Language Regional Model Programs Initiative, an outgrowth of the 2002 World Languages Model Program Initiative.
The New Jersey Department of Education created the program to identify exemplary local practices and programs that can serve as models for other schools to follow. The programs were identified through a rigorous process that included extensive program review and a site visit conducted by state officials and world languages and bilingual/ESL supervisors.
"New Jersey has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "Our educators are continually challenged to find effective ways to increase and maintain high levels of student achievement while helping students become fluent and successful in an English-speaking society. In addition, we need to ensure that our students are exposed to quality programs to help them learn about the people, languages and cultures of our international community. The programs we have identified through this initiative represent the very best efforts at the grassroots level to achieve these goals."
The seven model second language programs for Bilingual/ESL are (please click on the links to view the visitation procedures for each program):
Cherry Hill Public Schools, Camden County, kindergarten ESL program
Clifton Public Schools, Passaic County, Polish and Spanish bilingual program, grades K-5
Perth Amboy Public Schools, Middlesex County, district Spanish bilingual program, grades K-12
River Edge Public Schools, Bergen County, Cherry Hill School ESL program, grades K-6
Rockaway Borough Public Schools, Morris County, ESL program, grades K-8
Roselle Public Schools, Union County, Harrison Elementary bilingual program, grades K-4
West Orange Public Schools, Essex County, West Orange High School, ESL program, grades 9-12
The schools in which these programs are run will serve as regional resource centers for other districts in their geographic areas. Educators visiting the centers will be able to witness firsthand exemplary practices in second language teaching, learning and testing. Administrators and teachers will also be able to discuss with staff from the centers issues of mutual concern as well as the potential for future collaboration on their second language programs and practices for students and their teachers.
Staff from the Department of Educations Office of Academic and Professional Standards (world languages) and from the Office of Specialized Populations developed the program. The New Jersey Supervisors of World Languages Organization and the Statewide Advisory Committee for Bilingual and ESL (English as a second language) Education have developed criteria for designating the regional model second language programs with assistance from the Department of Educations Office of Academic and Professional Standards. Staff from those offices identified the model programs after reviewing applications of semi-finalists submitted by a committee composed of world languages and bilingual/ESL supervisors.
The semi-finalist schools were visited by teams of New Jersey Department of Education representatives to verify the content of their applications and to give the selection committee opportunities to witness the programs in action.