Queens College Education Professor Partricia Velasco

Flushing, N.Y., March 22, 2013 − The New York State Department of Education has awarded Queens College’s Elementary and Early Childhood Education Department $497,000 in federal Race to the Top funding to develop the Bilingual Common Core Progressions, a roadmap for language learning and literacy aligned to the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards. This is part of an effort to better meet the needs of the state’s growing population of students who are learning English as they work to achieve the goals expected of all students under the Common Core.

Patricia Velasco will direct the project with the support of Helen Johnson and Ruth Swinney. Velasco and Johnson are EECE faculty members. Swinney was principal of PS 165 in Manhattan and created curricula for dual language bilingual programs

Velasco says that the State Education Department selected her to lead this effort because of work she had previously done in bilingual education.

The project will help advance the New York State Bilingual Common Core Initiative. “It’s taking all the Common Core standards for English language arts and developing different scaffolds for emerging bilinguals,” says Velasco. “This will help children who are learning two languages meet the level of sophistication the Common Core is demanding. The Progressions will allow students to use not only English, but also their home language, to achieve the Common Core.”

Implementation of these new Progressions, explains Velasco, will mark a departure from the traditional English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual approach for grade school students who are learning English. The Progressions, which call for rigorous grade-level work for all students, will integrate language and content learning in intentional and strategic ways, and will allow for more flexible uses of language to allow students to meet the Common Core standards.

Velasco hopes to have the new Bilingual Common Core Progressions completed by late summer.

For more about Queens College visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Pages/default.aspx

Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services