I attended the VOICE Buffalo and Buffalo Immigrant Leadership Team public meeting on moving the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to the city of Buffalo and on the education of our Multilingual and New American Families. From my estimate, there were over 200 in attendance, including BOE Member Jen Mecozzi, Chief of BPS Will Keresztes, and Associate Superintendent for Multilingual Dept Nadia Nashir.
I left with feeling a strong sense of collaboration between the District and our New American Families.
Over the past two years, BPS has made a great investment in the Multilingual Dept, probably more than any other dept. With almost 5,400 ELL students speaking 84 different languages and from 76 different countries, it is a necessary investment. With this said, there seems to be a great challenge in finding bilingual teachers in other languages other than Spanish. This seemed to be something that needs to be addressed by the state- to provide recruitment, education, and certification in other languages.
I believe, wholeheartedly, that we must must continue to collectively explore how we can better serve and educate our New American students and families, including social-emotional supports to address the trauma that many of them have experienced and live with.