The Center for Educational Partnerships at Fordham’s Graduate School of Education (GSE), under the leadership of James J. Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of GSE, is gearing up this week to launch an initiative that will establish the center as the linchpin of bilingual education in the New York metropolitan area.
The center was recently awarded the New York City Regional Bilingual ESL Resource Network (RBE-RN) contract from the New York state Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies.
One of only eight RBE-RN technical assistance support centers statewide, the Fordham RBE-RN will assist networks, schools, and districts throughout the five boroughs in enhancing instructional practices for students learning English.
“We are here as a resource and an entity that will assist schools and the networks of schools in improving instruction for English Language Learners,” said Anita Vazquez Batisti, Ph.D., associate dean of GSE and director of the center. “We provide further training for teachers, we help them analyze data—we are their resource.”
The 22-month, $2.2 million contract will enable the Fordham RBE-RN to offer professional development in literacy instruction, content area instruction, and compliance.
In addition, the RBE-RN staff—consisting of executive director Eva Garcia, seven resource specialists, and a full-time clerical associate—will work out of four on-site offices located at Fordham’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, Blessed Sacrament School in Jackson Heights, and I.S. 78 in Brooklyn. Each office will provide meeting spaces and offer resource materials for their communities.
“Fordham is very much aware that as a New York City entity, we should have a presence in boroughs,” Batisti said.
The RBE-RN contract, which was celebrated with a kick-off event on Feb. 28, is the newest addition in GSE’s expansive bilingual education initiatives, which include the Bilingual School Psychology Support Center, the Long Island/Westchester Bilingual/ESL Teacher Leadership Academy, and extensive bilingual/ESL course offerings in GSE.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve been in the forefront of bilingual education with the master’s programs that we have,” Batisti said. “We are really bringing our expertise right into the schools and communities that we’re serving.”