Mt. Vernon School
District Expanding Foreign Language Program To All Elementary Schools
Sept 19, 2005
Embraces Needs Of
Bilingual education in the Mount Vernon School District continues to expand with
the help of Dr. Pedro J. Ruiz, Administrator for Languages other than English.
Dr. Ruiz recently announced that foreign language classes in Mount Vernon
elementary grades has expanded to all elementary schools within the Mount Vernon
School District. Available classes include Spanish and French, with additional
languages to be added in the near future.
Dr. Ruiz has been employed by the Mount Vernon SchooL District for the last
seven years and is the acting principal at Pennington-Grimes Elementary School.
Dr. Ruiz is currently the President of the National Association for Bilingual
Education, which is a nationwide network of bilingual education professionals,
parents, and students dedicated to promoting educational excellence and equity
through bilingual education. The National Association for Bilingual Education is
the only national professional membership organization whose resources are
exclusively committed to representing both English language learners and
bilingual education professionals.
He is also a past President of the N.Y. State Association for Bilingual
education. He was born and educated in Puerto Rico, and obtained his Masters
Degree at Adelphi University. He attended New York University while living in
New York, where he obtained his Ph.D.
According to many, the rationale for bilingual education — as opposed to
English "immersion," in which students must take all their courses in English —
rests on the argument that students will perform poorly without a gradual
introduction of English into all study courses.
Dr. Ruiz is an advocate of raising the academic achievement of all students
and, at the same time, closing the gaps in student academic performance. Dr.
Ruiz further believes that building the capacity of School districts to
strengthen educational services to limited English proficient /English language
learners (LEP/ELL) is a key strategy to reducing these gaps.
According to the NYS Education Department, LEP/ELL students represent diverse
economic, experiential, educational and linguistic backgrounds. Many of these
students enter New York schools with well-developed literacy skills in their
primary languages, while for others education may have been temporarily
suspended or unavailable in their native countries due to political, social or
economic problems. It is this latter population that enters the State
educational system with less than an age-appropriate levEL of native language
literacy and other academic development. With the implementation of the new New
York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), The NYS
Education Department anticipates a more comprehensive profile of these students
and their remediation needs to emerge.
(Note from SK: For a nice picture of Pedro Ruiz, go to http://www.mvinquirer.com/)