The New York State Education Department has awarded Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education $4.5 million in contracts for two Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Centers (BETACs) to serve more than 51,300 students in grades K-12 in the Bronx and Lower Hudson Valley. The highly competitive awards each total $2.25 million over a five-year period.

BETACs were established by the New York State Education Department to assist districts and schools in developing high quality educational programs to help English Language Learners (ELL) or Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students meet New York state’s learning standards.

The Bronx center, on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus, will serve more than 36,000 LEP students (primarily Spanish speakers), at every K-12 school in the Bronx; 326 schools across six districts. The Lower Hudson Valley center, on the University’s Tarrytown campus, will serve more than 15,000 students at K-12 schools in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties. The majority of students to be served by the Lower Hudson Valley center are Spanish speakers, followed by Arabic speakers, attending 340 schools in 62 districts.

Both centers opened on July 1, as part of the new Center for Educational Partnerships headed by Anita Batisti, Ph.D., associate dean, Graduate School of Education. Under the direction of Angela Carrasquillo, Ph.D., professor of graduate education, and a recognized authority in ELL education, the centers provide technical assistance, information and professional development for educators and parents of ELL students. Each center has a full-time director, two resource specialists and a variety of consultants to provide the instruction necessary to boost ELL student performance, especially in districts identified as needing improvement under New York state’s accountability system.