Metro Center Continues Partnership with New York State to Support English Language Learners

The New York State Education Department has awarded the NYU Metro Center a five-year, $11 million contract to provide educational support, technical assistance, and professional development to meet the needs of New York’s English language learners (ELLs) and world language students, their families, and the educators who serve them.

Through this contract, the Metro Center will continue to lead the statewide New York State Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN). The Metro Center has worked closely with the Office of Bilingual Education of the New York State Education Department since 2006 through the Spanish Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center, now operating the Statewide Language RBE-RN since the network’s establishment in 2011,  and serving over 22,000 school-based administrators, teachers, and district leaders.

“The New York State Statewide Language RBE-RN gives NYU Steinhardt a presence throughout the State of New York. It also places Steinhardt in a position to lead in the vexing area of language support and services necessary for advancing equity in education,” said David E. Kirkland, director of the Metro Center.

“This partnership will continue to augment and complement the Metro Center’s mission to work collaboratively and effectively with the New York State Education Department and school districts throughout the state in helping to ensure a quality and equitable education for students of all backgrounds,” Kirkland continued.

The renewed partnership will further the reach of the Statewide Language RBE-RN to New York’s rapidly growing and diverse population of ELL parents with a first-of-its-kind ELL Parent Hotline.  The ELL Parent Hotline will serve as a mechanism for parents of ELLs to inquire about their rights and the delivery of services for their children based on state regulations. Via a dedicated website and phone lines, parents will be able to inquire and receive responses in the state’s ten most prominent languages.

“It is critical to have an informed, empowered community of parents, guardians and other persons in parental relation to ensure that our ELLs are well served,” said Nellie B. Mulkay, director of the NYS Statewide Language RBE-RN at the Metro Center. “Since most school districts in New York State do not have available translation resources, the ELL Parent Hotline will provide parents of ELLs with much needed up-to-date information and the unique opportunity of having their inquiries responded to in their home languages.”

In addition to the ELL Parent Hotline, the Statewide Language RBE-RN will continue to provide technical assistance and conduct professional development with teachers and school leaders to support and strengthen the teaching and learning of languages, collaborate with school districts and schools to improve services for ELLs, translate educational materials, and guide policies related to ELLs and language learning in conjunction with the New York State Education Department. The Statewide Language RBE-RN will also continue to conduct activities for a variety of audiences, including October’s 2015 New York State English Language Learner Parent Academy.

“This partnership between the Metro Center and the New York State Education Department is an essential element to seamlessly support organizations, districts, and schools aiming to further the instructional practices and educational outcomes of second language learners and provide support to parents who anxiously seek to help their children obtain the best possible education,” said Mulkay.