Services expanded for students who speak English as second language

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Refugee resettlement agencies tell News 4 the number of immigrants and refugees living in Buffalo’s East Side is increasing. It’s affecting the Buffalo City Schools.

Schools on the West Side, like Lafayette, have been adapting to English language learners (ELL) for years but now school officials tell us they’re expanding resources at every school.

Nadia Nashir, assistant superintendent of multilingual education, says they have an English language learner at every school, including those on the East Side like Public Schools 59 and 30.

“We want to make sure we provide that school professional development to meet the needs of ELLs because, to your point, many of our teachers have never worked with an ELL,” says Nashir.

The multilingual education department says in the last eight years the number of students who speak English as a second language has gone up by about 3,000 students.

There are 200 teachers that are focused on the English language learners. They work alongside general education teachers.

This summer another 30 of those specialized teachers were hired.

“These teachers are certified, qualified on how to make the curriculum more meaningful,” says Nashir. “They went to school for two to three years on how to help English language learners have access to the curriculum.”

Nashir says these services follow the students, no matter what school they choose to go to. The district is also trying to work with parents.

“Every document that’s sent home is sent home in the parents’ preferred language and mode,” says Nashir. “If a parent would prefer a meeting one-on-one, the school is to have a meeting with the family, contact my department so we can make sure translators are available.”

She says they want to incorporate these students into the American classroom.

“If they seem themselves in the curriculum, if the teachers know a few of their greetings, if they see themselves on the walls that only helps them learn another language a lot quicker,” says Nashir.

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