OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining, White Plains and Tarrytown school districts are joining forces for an initiative that will provide services for students who do not speak English.
Project Exc-EL was launched Friday, Jan. 31 at the Ossining Library. The districts will partner with UCLA’s Center X to implement a multi-year program aimed at creating expanded and personalized learning opportunities for students in middle and high school who do not speak English as their first language.
Known as Project Exc-EL, or Excellence for English Learners, the program will combine evidence-based strategies for classroom teaching with support provided by community partners and agencies.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other districts and provide common experiences for our families and staff as well as opportunities to learn from each other,” said Ossining Schools Superintendent Ray Sanchez. “UCLA has some outstanding educators who are working on ways to close the achievement gap and they will be sharing effective strategies with our teachers.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey was on hand to express her support for the program.
"These programs are so important to encourage creativity and bring everyone together," Lowey said. "We need to make sure every youngster gets the best education so they can fulfill their dreams."
Lowey said she has always been concerned about students who don't have English as their first language.
"It's so important we support innovative programs that have a track record of improving student achievement," Lowey said.
Lowey said she is passionate about children's education.
"When I visit these schools, I see teachers who want to do their best," Lowey said. "I wish you good luck."
Chris Clouet, the superintendent of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, said Westchester is changing and Tarrytown is not afraid of that.
"Tarrytown and Ossining are leading indicators of what the United States will be like in the future," Clouet said. "We want to bring students to the table and give them the tools to succeed. Let's get to work. The kids are waiting on us."
Clouet said it important they meet the needs of all students who come to the district.
"I am thrilled to be working with these partners," Clouet said. "I think it bodes well for the success for the project."