This week (April 9–13), Chancellor Richard Carranza is visiting public schools in all five boroughs. To see photos from his first tour of Bronx schools, check out his “Hello, New York,” post, and keep up with him on Twitter as he visits other boroughs throughout the week.
Guided by fifth grade students, Jovania and Jeshawn, Chancellor Richard A. Carranza toured Brighter Choice Community School (BCCS) in Bedford-Stuyvesant as part of his inaugural circuit of City schools.
Led by Principal Fabayo McIntosh-Gordon, BCCS is a public, pre-k–5 elementary school that offers its pre-k–2 students a Dual Language program that provides instruction in Spanish and English across multiple subjects, including math, science, and social studies.
Wanting to know more about BCCS’ Dual Language program, the Chancellor stopped by a second grade Dual Language social studies class to introduce himself and chat with students about his first impressions of Brooklyn, pets, and the importance of learning multiple languages.
“Do you know what my favorite word is in Spanish? TACOS,” joked the Chancellor.
During his chat, the Chancellor learned from teacher, Dania Guzmán, that out of 20 students registered to the social studies class, only two of them speak Spanish natively. “I am very proud that you are learning two languages,” he cheered. “Keep learning in Spanish!”
Later, the Chancellor would learn from Principal McIntosh-Gordon that less than 10% of BCCS students speak Spanish natively. Principal McIntosh-Gordon feels that this is a positive aspect about her school’s Dual Language program, as it means that her students are learning about other cultures and each other throughout their time at BCCS. “In addition, learning a new language without losing your own is a plus,” she added.
BCCS’ Dual Language program, which currently serves students in grades pre-k–2, will be expanded every year until it reaches grade 5 in the 2020–21 school year. This expansion is part of the DOE’s overall commitment to increase the number of bilingual programs in City schools. Currently, the DOE has about 500 such programs across the City.
The Chancellor’s BCCS tour took a delightfully surprising turn when he visited a music class. By popular demand, the Chancellor whipped out a guitar, and sang his rendition of the classic Mexican song, “La Bikina” for students. He also visited a fifth grade African dance class, and he sat down with first graders in a writing class, where one of the students excitedly blurted out upon his arrival, “I saw him on Telemundo last night!”
Overall, the Chancellor was pleased with what he observed at BCCS.
“These students are creating their own stories in two languages, and it’s a joy to see them expressing themselves,” he concluded. “We often talk about goals and achievements, but we don’t usually talk about the joy of learning. That’s precisely what I saw today at BCCS.”
To learn more about BCCS, visit the school’s website, and stay tuned to The Morning Bell for more about the Chancellor’s tour of City schools!