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Current Projects

Bridges to Academic Success

Principal Investigator/Project Director: Dr. Lisa Auslander
Co-PI: Dr. Elaine Klein, Prof Emerita of Linguistics

Funded by the New York State Education Department

English language learners who arrive in US Secondary schools are diverse and heterogeneous. Bridges focuses its work on a subset of the ELLs who struggle most to meaningfully access the work of secondary schools.   Our team works to support  Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Education (SIFE), with a focus on SIFE with Developing Literacy (SDL) or students with home language literacy  levels at 3rd grade or below. These students are at highest risk for dropout.

We offer innovative curriculum andf curricular and instructional practices to ensure access to learning  for SIFE. Our work is grounded in the belief that SIFE bring valuable resources, such as  life experiences, home language, and cultural knowledge that enrich our schools and communities.  We believe that when educators are trained to understand the characteristics of SIFE and implement instructional strategies that accelerate learning, students are able to graduate and experience improved college and career readiness.

Please visit for more information.

New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (NYSIEB)

Project Director: Professor Ivana Espinet
Principal Investigators: Professors Ricardo Otheguy, Ofelia GarcĂ­a, and Kate Menken

Funded by the New York State Education Department
Project website

The goal of the initiative is to build upon the accumulated experience of New York State educators in the instruction of emergent bilingual students in order to launch an innovative effort to improve the school experience and the academic success of these students. The project will: (a) support schools that serve large numbers of emergent bilinguals (b) document and create a portfolio of successful educational policies, programs, and practices associated with emergent bilingual students in the state.

Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS)

Professor Gita Martohardjono
Funded by the New York State Education Department

The Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS) is an online, semi-adaptive suite of assessments designed to provide educators in New York State with information about the home-language literacy and math skills of Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE). The assessments can be used to develop instruction that targets the unique educational needs of these students. The MLS reflects the current curricula standards and didactic principles from students’ home countries for grades 3 through 9. The MLS has four modules: Early Literacy, Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary. The languages available are Arabic, Bangla, Burmese, Chinese, English, French, Fula, Haitian Creole, Maay-Maay, Nepali, Russian, S’gaw Karen, Somali, Swahili, and Urdu. The project is commissioned by the New York State Education Department.

Participating in Literacies and Computer Science (PiLaCS)

Professors Kate Menken, Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, and Christopher Hoadley
Funded by National Science Foundation in partnership with New York University

As part of their efforts to support the research and development needed to bring computer science content to all K-12 learners, the National Science Foundation awarded $300,000 to researchers at the CUNY Graduate Center's Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS) and New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development to establish a partnership with bilingual teachers at three New York City public middle schools in Washington Heights.

The 2-year project seeks to address a problem of practice facing educators tasked with rolling out New York City's Computer Science for All (CS4All) policy: how to equitably serve emergent bilinguals -- students who speak languages other than English and are learning English. Translanguaging is a pedagogical approach that encourages teachers to leverage children’s diverse language practices in classroom instruction. It is thought that the skills emergent bilingual students use to learn multiple languages may also be useful in helping them learn to program computers. This project will explore whether that is the case, and more broadly examine computer science instruction for emergent bilinguals. Accordingly, PiLaCS will develop and test pedagogies that draw on the strengths of students as they learn computer science and become empowered makers and users of technology.

The grant began August 15, 2017. The Principal Investigators are:

Christopher Hoadley, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences/Educational Technology, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Kate Menken, Professor of Linguistics, at Queens College and RISLUS Research Fellow, CUNY Graduate Center

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, Assistant Professor of Childhood, Bilingual, & Special Education, Brooklyn College and RISLUS Associate

Sara Vogel is a doctoral student in the PhD Program in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center and will be the lead Research Assistant on the project.