Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 05-08-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 IN OUR SCHOOLS MAY 8-14, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION New commissioner's visit highlights Nathanael Greene's dual language classrooms By NANCY KIRSCH Valley Breeze Contributing Writer PAWTUCKET – As Angelica Infante-Green, the state's new com- missioner of elementary and second- ary education, toured Nathanael Greene Elementary School's class- rooms on Monday, May 6, students and teachers greeted her in Spanish and English, wishing her well in her new position. Currently, the dual language pro- gram of Spanish and English instruc- tion is held in two of the three class- rooms in each of kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades; some 184 stu- dents of the school's 460 students are enrolled in the program. Dual language instruction will be offered for 4th- and 5th-graders in the fall of 2019 and 2020, said Monique Jacob, principal of Nathanael Greene, currently Pawtucket's only school offering dual language instruction. Students enrolled in the dual lan- guage program study literacy (read- ing and writing) and math in English and Spanish, so each grade's dual language team must closely coordi- nate lessons. Even the 1st-graders have incredible receptive skills and understand what their teachers say in Spanish, says Jacob, even if they aren't able to express themselves in Spanish until later, typically in third grade. Bilingual education "opens doors for these children ... eventually, when they go out into the workforce; they are that much more marketable," says Jacob, who can speak English, French and German, and who "dabbles" n Spanish, which she is now study ing. Research ... supports the brain growth (that occurs) when you're learning two languages." In between talking with students and teachers during a tour of several classrooms, Infante-Green confirmed those benefits. "I think being in a bilingual or dual language program is extremely impor tant; our world has gotten smaller with technology, (so this) allows kids to ... have the ability to travel different worlds and have different opportunities economi- cally," she said. "There's a lot of research that kids who speak and understand more than one language have expanded cogni tive abilities ... it's really clear that this will expand their ability to read and write well in English. "People think of language as an add-on, but it's not," continued Infante-Green. "It's a way to think and maneuver the system ... problem- solving has been found to be expand- ed when you navigate two languages." Infante-Green said she has a goal of providing teachers and principals the support they need to continue to develop initiatives, such as this dual language program. The types of supports provided in the classrooms must change, too, said Infante-Green. "I've seen a big disparity in instruc- tional (resources). I can't change the economic resources (of each commu- nity), but I can change the supports teachers are getting so as to move the needle in the classroom," she said. "T hat's one of my priorities ... I want to see the same types of instruc- tion; we have to up the ante for everyone in all the school systems." Infante-Green's goal after 12 months on the job? Being well on our way to providing a world-class educa- tion in Rhode Island. She said it will take a lot of hard work. In contrast to Rhode Island, where different com- missioners of education with brief tenures have embraced contrasting educational pro grams, such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, Massachusetts now has a world-class educational system, she said, after adopting and adhering to one consis- tent educational approach years ago. "I'm not going to be chasing the lat- est shiny new things ... we can't keep moving from program to program; we need to have some fidelity to what we're committed to and help teachers and administrators," said Infante Green, who laments the too-small staff at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), which she believes must move from being a compliance agency to one that pro- vides support. "I want us to have a better educa tional system than Massachusetts; I want to. see foot- prints of that a year from now." Asked what additional resources would benefit the dual language pro- gram, Jacob said more financial sup- port, additional resources, and edu- cating people on the benefits of dual language instruction. BREEZE PHOTOS BY NANCY KIRSCH At left, ISABELLA FLORES, 6, reads to ANGÉLICA INFANTE GREEN, Rhode Island's new com- missioner of elementary and secondary education, while JOHN FIGUEROA, 6, and GIANNA FORTES, 5, read to themselves in Kate Sorrentine's kindergarten class Monday. Below, MONIQUE JACOB, principal of Nathanael Greene Elementary School, and INFANTE GREEN, visit with CHLOE DUFALT, 7, and MY'LAN FERNANDES, 6, in Pedro Silva Molina's 1st-grade classroom Monday. Do you know someone celebrating a June Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for JUNE will be printed on May 30, 2019. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, May 24, 2019. Send in the name of someone with his or her June birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2) 10 Monument Square, Woonsocket RI 02895 (401)767-1990 100 Old River Road, Lincoln RI 02865 (401)333-0780 WE WILL PAY YOU CASH TO REFINANCE YOUR AUTO LOAN FROM ANOTHER LENDER WITH US. SAVE MONEY ON YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT AND GET PAID FOR DOING SO! We will help you save, even when you need to spend. www.blackstoneriverfcu.org Mention this ad to receive the discount. WE WILL PAY YOU 1.00% OF THE RE-FINANCE AMOUNT, UP TO $300, JUST TO REFINANCE YOUR AUTO LOAN WITH US. Rates depend on credit score.

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