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Elbridge Elementary students celebrate diversity

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Elbridge Elementary celebrates diversity

A Chinese acrobat show for students in January was just one of the ways Elbridge Elementary focused on celebrating diversity throughout the month. Brought to the school by the Bureau of Lectures & Concert Artists, The Fabulous Chinese Acrobats performed stunts, feats of balance and more.

Principal R.J. Hartwell said giving children access to different cultural performances develops their understanding and appreciation for diversity.

“The Chinese New Year takes place on Jan. 25, which is a perfect parallel to hosting the Chinese Acrobats and Dragon Show at our school,” he said. “Also, with our observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, together we cultivate a dynamic learning environment where all are valued and respected.”

Meanwhile, the English Language Learners (ELL) program in the district is now up to 18 students ranging from 4YP through grade 10. Students and their families come from Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, Ukraine, China, the Philippines and Cambodia. Some of the languages they speak include Spanish, Mandarin/Cantonese, Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

ELL teacher Danuta Goldmann says embracing the diversity of students and teachers is the first step on the roadmap to success. She incorporates various strategies to acclimate students to the English language and implements all four characteristics of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

“Every year, we have a project that involves at least a couple of grades. For example, students wrote a play about a vocabulary planet,” she said. “We often incorporate creative writing (poetry/lyrics and prose), and ELL students often eagerly manifest their interests in art.”

Goldmann said the program has been a success because of its diversity and the students’ consistent, every day commitment to learning the English language.

“All students make a significant progress when they engage in collaborative activities all day long. Common goals and common language helps everyone collaborate,” she said. “We see how important it is to intertwine multi-language practice with the students’ development across the curriculum and at home.”

This content was originally published here.

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