A Peek Into The Symposium: A Word With David Rogers

Photo of Teachers from September's Holbrook Language Academy

Many of you know David Rogers and his family from being the Executive Director of Dual Language Education of New Mexico. However, very few know the reason for David Roger’s immense passion for dual language education. At the symposium in NYC, attendees got to understand David and his drive to help the world become a bilingual place on a more personal scale.

Today, we will share with you a bit about David and how he became the force in dual language education that he is today. David Rogers has dedicated his life to public service, beginning his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Volunteer Admin between 1986-1990, where he specialized in education, in Paraguay, South America. He’d like to note that in Paraguay, although Spanish/Castellano was the official language of education for the entire country, only 60% of the country spoke Castellano with some proficiency, where 80-85% spoke the indigenous language Guaraní. At the time, students were dropping out of school by 3rd grade if they were unable to gain a command of Castellano as a language. David realized then that not including the Guarani language (nor culture) as an instructional language was marginalizing a large portion of the population and denying access to education for some students. This is how he became interested in bilingual education.

As many of you know, David works as the Executive Director of Dual Language Education of New Mexico. The organization began informally in 1997 and formally in 2001, the mission of the organization is to advocate for and support the effective design and implementation of dual language education programming. The idea is that teachers and their students are the experts, and with proper structures in place, should be expected to share their best practice and support their colleagues and their own professional growth, through on-going conversation and reflection around their practice. At the school level, DLeNM is involved in facilitated discussions of all stakeholders around the idea of transformative/shared leadership being the key between effective program implementation and the sustainability of the program over the long-term.

At the symposium, David was charged with facilitating a discussion with community stakeholders that included representatives from the business and advocacy communities around one of two different “principles”. These are defined in the document Core Principles for Supporting Emergent Multilingual Learners, developed by the NYC Department of Education. The principle focuses were:

  • Lifelong multilingualism is beneficial and desirable for all individuals,
  • Everyone in the program environment makes a commitment to adopt multilingual approaches.

Photo of Teachers from September's Holbrook Language Academy

I hoped attendees would take with them some inspiration around a set of actionable items that we hope to identify and prioritize together, as well as a personal commitment and clarity as to what their individual responsibility is in caring out one or more of those actionable items.

For David’s discussion, attendees came prepared with the following questions, and discussion topics:

  • How they and/or their organizations can ensure the strengthening and expansion of dual language education programming?
  • What their individual roles can be to this strengthening and expansion?
  • How can their roles align and support the roles of other organizations, including the school communities?

Attendees considered the importance of bilingualism and multicultural competency in their own lives and for their own families. They came prepared by reading articles related to the expansion of dual language education and the reasons for the expansion. Motivations are a variety as to why school communities choose to implement this transformation program model, and it is important to understand the different reasons for why the program model is chosen.

Communicate your thoughts on this by visiting the forum at duallanguageschools.org.

I felt the symposium was a vital resource because dual language education holds the promises of turning achievement gaps into achievement opportunities, and in graduating a bilingual/multicultural citizenry that is prepared to contribute and compete in local and global markets. If our stakeholders in the community want this for our students, families and future generations, then they need to take an active role in this.

Angela Palmieri
Author: Angela Palmieri

Angela Palmieri is the founding teacher of a Spanish dual language immersion program in Glendale, California. She currently teaches sixth grade language immersion and has been an educator for eighteen years. She traveled to New Zealand on the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching in 2016 to research and document the cultural practices taught in Maōri-medium schools. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA, a Master’s degree in Reading and Language Education, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Learning Education from CSULA. Ms. Palmieri is currently a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Ms. Palmieri was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, to Italian immigrant parents, and speaks Spanish and Italian fluently. She is a social justice-driven advocate for bilingual and indigenous language education and is an avid traveler. Angela travelled to China and Mongolia on a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant in June and July of 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *