English as a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual Committee

The UFT’s English as a Second Language/Bilingual Committee comprises K-12 educators in New York City’s public elementary, middle and high schools. Our members are an accomplished, vibrant and diverse cross-section of the UFT, including both Fulbright scholars and National Board certified educators.

We believe that ESL and bilingual approaches to education hold an important place in the New York City school system. Our goal is to provide our members, both new and experienced, with educational strategies and tools that will help them to prepare English language learners (ELLs) in their schools to function as full members of our society.

To that end, we invite speakers, both in-service UFT members and education specialists from other organizations, to discuss educational resources and materials that can be incorporated as cross-curricular tools in the ESL or bilingual classroom. Presenters demonstrate the strategies and techniques that will best serve our diverse student populations and help them become mainstream students.

When called upon, we also advocate for our ELL students, the institutions that serve them and those programs, strategies and techniques that have proven most effective in educating them.

In addition to our regular monthly meetings held on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays, the committee regularly visits and participates in professional development activities at the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum, the China Institute, the Museum of the City of New York, the Whitney Museum and El Museo del Barrio. We have also partnered with the Discovery Channel and UNICEF to provide techniques that will allow teachers to use educational tools more effectively with ELL students.

Every March committee members attend a dinner and symposium at the Museum of Jewish Heritage– A Living Memorial to the Holocaust at which lessons in tolerance and mutual understanding are shared. We have also participated in the Celebration of Teaching and Learning and in programs at Ellis Island that explore ways to relate the history of immigration to the United States to students' own personal experiences of immigration. 

One of the highlights of the year is our annual “Show & Tell” workshop at which committee members present their own ESL and bilingual lessons. Join us to learn what works – and what doesn’t – in ESL and bilingual classrooms!

The committee is headed by Josie Avellanet Levine, a veteran ESL teacher and award-winning educator and media literacy specialist who has presented ESL education techniques and strategies to audiences nationally and internationally. Don’t hesitate to contact her at samjosiel@aol.com or to call the committee at 212 598 7772 for more information about our meetings and activities!

We welcome your support, ideas and contributions.

In the News
  • The State Education Department this year introduced changes to English language learner instruction that promised more instructional choices,...
  • When my principal announced that this year’s focus would be on student assessments, I worried about the meaningless 1's my English language learners...
  • Drama teacher Lisa-Erika James at Pan American International HS in Elmhurst, Queens, uses theater course and after-school theater program to teach...
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UFT/ESL Bilingual Committee workshop

Teachers are always on the lookout for inventive and interesting ways to get students motivated and excited about learning.

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