The design, formation, and implementation of a Russian bilingual program in a New York City public high school

Joan Pilchick Kaufman, Fordham University


Educating the immigrant student is a continuing issue. Language minority students possess a wide range of characteristics and needs. Since bilingual education is mandated by federal, state, and municipal governments, this study explored the impact of the design, formation, and implementation of a bilingual program: Specifically, a Russian bilingual program in a New York City high school. The study described how the new program was introduced to a school staff, how the program was designed, and how it was implemented. The goal was to document the perceptions of the participants directly involved in the problem, how they perceived the program in relationship to the rest of the school community, and how they participated, if at all, in the design and implementation of the program. The key informants were administrators, teachers, and students. The following methods were used to collect data: individual interviews of four administrators, three teachers, and three students; observations of a faculty conference and a parents' meeting; and document analysis. Three of the four administrators were interviewed twice; once in 1991 and then in 1995. Two of the teachers were also interviewed twice. Document analysis included school documents directly related to the Russian bilingual program. Four distinct themes emerged from the analysis of the data: (a) leadership style, (b) organizational change, (c) staff reactions, and (d) student impact. The study suggests that monies should be allotted for teachers' staff development and sensitivity training, as well as for acquisition of new skills directly related to the program; that limited English proficient students should be tested in their native language to determine native language proficiency and if found illiterate, should be encouraged to participate in bilingual education; students should be apprised of the different cultures to facilitate understanding of their peers.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|School administration|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Kaufman, Joan Pilchick, "The design, formation, and implementation of a Russian bilingual program in a New York City public high school" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9638367.