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NY: County coop board helps teenage English language learners succeed

 

Staff members in the Rockland County Board of Cooperative Educational Services Career Education Center provide lessons on life and communication skills to immigrant teenagers.

Summary: In cooperation with business, industry leaders, and human services agencies, this district developed the Direct Care program, which helps older immigrant students develop academic and job skills.


As more and more teenage English language learners immigrated to their area, school leaders in Rockland County, realized that many of these students faced special challenges in attaining academic success and employment after high school.

Many older students who immigrated to the area arrived with little or interrupted formal education, said James M. Ryan, Superintendent of the Rockland County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). In Rockland County twenty-nine percent of teenagers come from homes where English is not spoken.

"[School leaders] realized that too many [of these] students approach their final years of high school without preparation to earn a New York State Regents diploma and without any job skills," Ryan said.

To help, the BOCES board of education launched Direct Care, a program delivered through the cooperative's Career Education Center to help immigrant teenagers acquire job and academic skills. The nine districts that are part of the cooperative worked with business and industry leaders and human services agencies to develop the program.

District characteristics
Name: Rockland County SD
State: NY
Type: Surburban
Grades: K–12
Enrollment: n.a.
Students per teacher: n.a.

Enrollment characteristics
Economically disadvantaged: %
English language learners: %
Students with disabilities: %
White: %
Black: %
Hispanic: %
Asian/Pacific Islander: %
American Indian/Alaska Native: %
Other: %
Source: 

Students in the program spend half a day preparing for their GED in their home school district. The other half of the day is spent at the Career Education Center, learning job skills to assist people who are elderly and those with disabilities--a field that is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

Students in a pilot program had an average 1.5 year gain in their reading levels and an average 14.3 percent gain on a Department of Labor employment readiness assessment.

The model is being replicated in all of Rockland County BOCES' career education classes. Along with career services, the Rockland County BOCES provides technical and alternative education, special education, adult education, and instructional services to its member districts.

The school district received a 2004 Magna Award from NSBA'sAmerican School Board Journal (ASBJ). The awards are sponsored by Sodexho School Services.

Visit the Rockland County BOCES web site at www.rocklandboces.org

Contact

Ginq Dietrich
Integrated academics instructor
(845) 627-4838
gdietricl@rboces.lhric.org


Posted: April 22, 2005

©2005 Center for Public Education

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