Students With Interrupted Schooling Get Extra Help in the Big Apple
Morry Bamba is one of New York City's "students with interrupted formal education," or SIFE. He attended school for the first time when he arrived in New York City from the West African nation of Guinea at age 15. He's now a student at the English Language Learners and International Support Preparatory Academy, or ELLIS Academy, in the Bronx, which enrolls immigrant students who have arrived in the United States as teenagers. Like many SIFE students, Morry struggles with reading.
He is one of the students who was interviewed in an article about SIFE students, "In School for the First Time, Teenage Immigrants Struggle," published by the New York Times over the weekend. He's also one of the students who I interviewed for Quality Counts 2009, "Portrait of a Population: How English-Language Learners Are Putting Schools to the Test." You can read his profile and those of other ELLs across the nation here.
The New York Times article says that the number of SIFE students in New York City has swelled by 50 percent from a decade ago. (The city's most recent demographic report, "New York City's English-Language Learners: Demographics, Summer 2008," counts 15,500 of the city's 148,000 as SIFE.)
I've run across other school systems in the country that also say their number of SIFE students is increasing. The New York Times article gives a sense of the intensive educational help some of these students need to stay in school and graduate.
Readers, if you have experience with SIFE students, please share what you've learned with the rest of us on this blog.