Mayor de Blasio And Chancellor Carranza Announce 13 Million Dollar Grant To Strengthen Instruction For Multilingual Learners

  • Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019

Five-year grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation facilitated through the Fund for Public Schools will help strengthen instruction for multilingual learners at 45 schools

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced a $13 million grant to strengthen instruction and improve academic outcomes for multilingual learners in grades six through eight. As part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Network for School Improvement (NSI), the New York City Department of Education will receive a $13 million grant over five years to equip educators with the tools they need to support multilingual learners and create strong learning communities between teachers. The DOE’s NSI grant, which builds on work happening in 17 schools in Brooklyn through an existing partnership with the Gates Foundation, will expand to serve a total of 45 middle schools by 2024, with 20 schools starting during the next school year. 

“Equity and excellence means giving every student the tools to succeed, regardless of zip code or background,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City is a city of immigrants, and our support for our multilingual leaners is showing results in classrooms and test scores. This grant will allow us to deepen this progress and help even more students get the resources they need to reach their true potential.”

“All students need tailored support and resources to surpass high academic goals, and I’m so grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generosity in helping us build on progress we’ve made to serve multilingual learners,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “With the right support and excellent instruction, our multilingual learners are achieving at the highest levels, and we can’t wait to expand this work to schools across the City.”

The NSI program within the Gates Foundation empowers local leaders and educators to implement solutions within their communities that increase student outcomes and are predictive of high school graduation and postsecondary success. The grant supports school teams in working collaboratively to identify, test, and refine solutions that target a self-identified problem of practice. In New York City’s public schools, school-based and inter-school teams are building strategies and best practices to serve multilingual learners, in an effort to develop tools and resources that can be used citywide.

The DOE, through a partnership facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools (The Fund) which serves as the grant’s direct recipient, is among a cohort of 10 recent Gates Foundation grantees. It is the next step in a partnership that began through The Fund in 2016 to develop instructional strategies for supporting multilingual learners in kindergarten through eighth grade, piloted in 17 schools in South Brooklyn. 

“We’re grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ready to build on critical work with the New York City Department of Education to ensure the college and career success of our 1.1 million students,” said Julie L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “This partnership – anchored in the Mayor and Chancellor’s vision for Equity and Excellence for All – empowers educators to transform instruction for multilingual learners, while elevating innovative approaches that can be scaled citywide.”

Through the initial grant, the participating schools saw an 86 percent increase in the proportion of Multilingual Learners scoring Proficient or Advanced on the New York State ELA exam. When Multilingual Learners score a 3 or 4 on the State ELA exam, they are no longer required to receive English as a New Language services.

“This opportunity to deepen the work of the DOE’s Instructional Leadership Framework (ILF) will ensure multilingual students are supported in both language development and content mastery through a variety of engaging texts, rich discussion, regular writing, and explicit instruction in academic language,” said Chief Academic Officer Linda P. Chen. “The ILF is centered on the belief that schools can successfully achieve lasting improvements when they form and empower teams dedicated to ensure cohesion and rigor in their school’s academic approach.”

The DOE will select schools with a concentration of multilingual learners in grades six through eight to participate in the expansion next school year. In alignment with the Instructional Leadership Framework announced in September of this year, educators at participating schools collaborate to improve instructional practices and student outcomes for Multilingual Learners. Teachers and school leaders at these schools will receive a suite of resources and support including:

School-based Coaching: Teachers will receive monthly instructional coaching from DOE central instructional coaches. Teachers will also engage in inter-visitation, learning from teachers within their schools. Instructional coaches will serve as an additional resource to teachers throughout this process.

Instructional Networks: Teachers and school leaders across schools will form Instructional Networks based on their geographic regions to share best practices with fellow educators. Instructional Networks will meet quarterly, and guide their peers through inquiry cycles grounded in student work and data, tailoring instructional supports to students’ unique needs and areas of growth.

Instructional Networks build on this administration’s focus on expanding and strengthening professional learning for teachers, and building trusting and effective relationships among school staff. Instructional strategies discussed during training will ultimately inform a system-wide approach to data-driven instructional practice.

Improvement Science Handbook: Coaching and networks will use the DOE’s Improvement Science Handbook, which will continue to be refined throughout this grant. The Handbook serves as a tool for teachers, school leaders, and staff to make more informed instructional choices for their students, through a solutions-oriented approach that includes analyzing a problem, developing an improvement strategy, testing its success, and scaling it across the school.

In 2018, Chancellor Carranza formally re-named the Division of English Language Learners as the Division of Multilingual Learners in order to honor the value of the hundreds of home languages spoken by New York City public school students.  Every Borough/Citywide Office now has a designated team of specialists dedicated to supporting Multilingual Learners who provide schools with ongoing instructional coaching and support. There are approximately 154,000 multilingual learners in New York City Schools.

The Fund for Public Schools has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $509 million for the City’s approximately 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students since it was established in 1982. By partnering directly with the NYC Department of Education, The Fund supports some of the most high-impact programs in 3K-12 education at the largest school district in the country by piloting innovative projects; accelerating promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and responding strategically to emerging needs across New York City public schools. 

The Mayor and Chancellor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, is building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. 3-K for All and Pre-K for All are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier; Universal Literacy is working towards ensuring every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade; and Algebra for All is improving elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensuring that all 8th graders have access to algebra. Equity and Excellence for All is also offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All is giving all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms, outlined in the 2017 New York City school diversity plan and through diversity pilots taking root in eight districts, are central to this pathway.

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Contact:  Chancellor’s Press Office (212) 374-5141

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