Buffalo School District Forced To Make Accommodations For Immigrant Students


With an influx of immigrants and refugees coming to the City of Buffalo in recent years, The Buffalo News reported that the thousands of new students flooding the school district have little to no formal education, most of which do not speak English, but speak up to 85 different languages.

English language learners currently make up a whopping 15 percent of the district, more are added every day, and changes being made to accommodate these students are going to cost tax payers.

According to Buffalo News, new employees had to be hired to the school district to help facilitate the more than 1,100 students who are classified as English language learners:

In response to their growing numbers across New York, the State Education Department made revisions in its regulations last year forcing districts to improve services for the many multilingual students struggling to make it in the public school system.

That led to changes at central registration, where Buffalo hired a supervisor for multilingual placement and six cultural specialists who speak the top six foreign languages in the district.

These multilingual staffers have the ability to speak to the students in their own language in order to sign them up for school, test their English, assess their prior education, and discuss with parents the expectations in the classroom.

“In the past, we would have done our very best to communicate with the family, either through another family member or sometimes the student,” said Mark Frazier, director of student placement and registration. “We did our best given the circumstances that were given, but definitely recognized the growing need to provide face to face translation services.”


A sign advertising Buffalo Public Schools Student Enrollment Services that says “Welcome” in many different languages. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

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