June 2, 2012

A Harlem Elementary School Offers Arabic Lessons

From http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/05/24/a-harlem-elementary-school-makes-arabic-mandatory

A Harlem Elementary School Offers Arabic Lessons
By Elbert Chu
May 24, 2012

The Department of Education shut the Gibran middle school after poor performance and failure to attract enough students. But the principal, parents and staff at Hamilton Heights, a K-5 public school on Amsterdam Avenue started by parents, say their Arabic program will succeed because of parents’ support, financial backing and a broader perspective.

“We’re not just about one language or culture,” said Nicky Kram Rosen, principal of the school, also known as P.S. 368. “I’m teaching children how to engage with other cultures.” The principal wanted to offer Arabic to all students partly to help the school earn an International Baccalaureate designation, a set of global education standards.

Currently, the 239 students at P.S. 368 can learn Spanish or Mandarin after school. This year, 35 students studied Spanish and 42 studied Mandarin. In March, a small pilot group of 12 students took Arabic classes instead of recess.

Starting in the next school year, about 200 P.S. 368 students in second through fifth grade will be able to take Arabic language and culture classes twice a week in 45-minute sessions. They will cover a variety of subjects, including math, science and social studies as well as food, music and art.

School administrators said if there was interest and enough resources, the program could be offered to all students.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/05/24/a-harlem-elementary-school-makes-arabic-mandatory

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