Franco-american education is on the up in Harlem. PS 76, a public school located on 121st street which offers classes from Kindergarten through to 8th grade is on the verge of launching a new bilingual program in September for 6th graders.
“We are a community school. Our classes respond to the needs of our community”, explains Charles DeBerry, the school’s principal who was contacted by parents from NYFACS, the neighboring French American charter school, in order to launch the program. “We have a lot of parents from West Africa who speak french”.
According to Mr DeBerry, “fourteen families” have already pledged to join the curriculum. “We want to start small”. ELA’s (English Language Arts) Mathematics classes will be held in English whilst “social studies” classes will be taught in French. Students will also be offered the opportunity to take advance literature classes and an optional French language class.
This is not the first bilingual program to emerge in Harlem. A few years ago, PS 125 on 123rd street launched its own version of what PS 76 is doing today. However, it has since been dropped.
PS 76 is aiming to roll out the program to 8th grade over two years (going up a year every year). “Our goal is to have between 25 and 30 students in each class” claims Charles DeBerry.
The “ideal candidates” will be students who have already been in contact with the French language either at school or at home. The program is open to all students, regardless of which district they live in.