BPS among School Districts Working to Teach Growing Immigrant Population

buffalo-immigrant-studentsBy Rochelle Alleyne
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 01:57 PM EDT

As the immigrant population continues to grow across the state, the so-called “Big Five” school districts, including Buffalo, are contemplating the challenges that population faces within public schools. Time Warner Cable News reporter Rochelle Alleyne has more.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — By greeting Buffalo students in Swahili and Somali, school interpreter Abdi Yakum says the role gives him a front row seat to the unique challenges that English language learners face when navigating the public school system.

Friday, he and dozens of other members of the “Big Five” school districts met in Buffalo to discuss ways to improve teaching those students.

The group, made up districts in Yonkers, Buffalo, Rochester, New York City and Syracuse, currently teaches almost three-quarters of the state’s ELL population.

Breaking down that number even further, in Buffalo alone, more than 5,000 students are speaking 84-85 different languages each day.

Despite the large ELL student demographic, they claim that they still receive the same amount of money from the state as other school districts and are now calling on the state Education Department to allocate more money to them in upcoming budgets.


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