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Fall 2008 Vol. 16 No. 1 Focus on Immigrant Students

Not English-only

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Students and parents gather outside Southwark Elementary in South Philadelphia for the first day of school. A group of immigrant parent activists from South Philadelphia, including Anastacia Lorenzo (in green shirt) of the community group JUNTOS, has been campaigning for improved services for English language learners.

By by Dale Mezzacappa

Philadelphia’s foreign-born population is growing, and Mayor Nutter wants to make the city, including its school system, more welcoming to immigrants.

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These charter schools say they’re immigrant-friendly

By by Sarah Peterson

When Debbie Wei came on as the founding principal of the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures (FACTS) Charter School in Chinatown, she knew what her first big capital expense would be.

Simultaneous translation equipment.

“This was a statement on our part,” said Wei. “Not to have basic communication with parents is criminal.” So now, parent meetings often look like UN sessions.

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Fewer English language learners - or more than meet the eye?

By by Elaine Allard

Numbers of English language learners (ELLs) and immigrant students have been declining since 2006, say District officials, and with the decline come cuts in funding for ELL programs.

But advocates for language minority students say that the District’s citywide totals don’t capture the complex movements within Philadelphia’s diverse ELL population, which still numbers over 12,000 and includes speakers of more than 50 languages.

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