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DOE May Bring Dual Language Program to Jackson Heights Middle School

By Katie Honan | January 21, 2014 5:25pm
 Parents at a recent rezoning meeting said they hope the program can be offered at a new school.
Parents at a recent rezoning meeting said they hope the program can be offered at a new school.
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JACKSON HEIGHTS — The city is exploring the possibility of bringing a dual language curriculum to a local middle school that would have been cut out of the program due to redistricting, according to the Department of Education.

The program is currently offered at I.S. 145, on 34th Avenue near 80th Street, but not at I.S. 230, on 34th Avenue and 73rd Street.

In an effort to alleviate overcrowding, the city is building an additional annex to I.S. 230, and will have to change the boundaries for both schools, according to officials.

Parents of children who are now zoned for I.S. 230, instead of I.S. 145, are worried that their children will fall behind without a dual language program at their new school.

The language program offers instruction in both English and Spanish, and classes are split between students who speak Spanish as a first language, and English as a first language.

Lessons are taught in both languages, on alternating days, which benefits all the students, parents say.

The program is offered at numerous elementary schools in the district, including P.S. 149, P.S 222 and P.S. 228. And some parents hope their children can continue to learn in both languages at their new school.

Nuala O'Doherty's block is being re-zoned from I.S. 145 to I.S. 230, and said she's happy that the new annex is being built to help with the crowded hallways.

But her children have also benefited greatly from the dual language program, and she'd like them to have the option at their new school.

"I want my kids to be fluent in Spanish and the dual language program is the only way," she said.

"Growing up in Jackson Heights they hear Spanish all the time, but they only speak English at home and to their friends."

The Department of Education said it is discussing the option of bringing the program to I.S. 230, but no plans have been finalized yet.