7/25/12 | 282 views
Educators From New York and Dominican Share Lessons at Cardinal Hayes
Summer school sessions at Cardinal Hayes High School had several special visitors last week as educators from the Dominican Republic were present for an exchange of educational experiences.
The delegation of five educators from the country’s Ministry of Education, making their first visit to the United States, heard and gave presentations at Cardinal Hayes. They also interacted with administrators, faculty members and students.
Their July 16-18 visit to the Bronx included a one-day stop at a public high school, Marble Hill High School for International Studies, on July 17.
At Cardinal Hayes, principal William Lessa addressed the Dominican delegation, which included a Franciscan nun, about the achievements and experiences of Dominican students and their families at the boys’ high school. He spoke more generally about education in New York City and provided details on state curriculum requirements.
Presentations were also made by assistant principal Joseph Rodriguez, who spoke about special education, and academic dean Carmine Torchetti, who gave an overview of the academic program at Hayes.
Other Hayes educators spoke about the work of the academic departments and the guidance department as well as the school’s use of technology. Demonstrations of Smartboards amazed the Dominican educators about the advances in technology. They were also impressed with Cardinal Hayes’ size and facilities, Lessa said.
The visitors told their hosts about their own education system and curriculum and how they believe the U.S. can better serve newly arrived Dominican students and their families. They urged new students from the Dominican be given instruction in Spanish as they learn English so they don’t fall behind in their other academic subjects.
The visit was the first step in “a better articulation” between the education systems of the two countries, Lessa told CNY.
“This opens a whole new dialogue about what is involved in the educational system there and how we can best serve new students when they arrive here,” the principal said.
Francis De Castro, chairman of the foreign languages department at Cardinal Hayes, was the New York coordinator of the visit. A native of the Dominican, he came to the United States with his family as a young boy. He said it was “an honor” for Hayes to host the visitors.
“We have so many students from the Dominican and other parts of Latin America. To learn how education is conducted there can only strengthen our own institutions,” he explained.
The presentations by both sets of educators pointed out some of the differences between the educational approaches in New York and the Dominican. One contrast was that there is no Dominican counterpart for the guidance counselors who play such a crucial role at American high schools.
Cardinal Hayes faculty members and students served as translators for the visitors, none of whom spoke English fluently.
“It could not have taken place without the help of our faculty,” De Castro said. “Many took time from their vacations. Some of them made presentations…Their presence was important.”
Plans are being discussed for Hayes to host another larger delegation of Dominican education officials in the fall, De Castro said. Principal Lessa said he hopes the proposed visit may include participation by other schools in the archdiocese and metropolitan area with large numbers of Dominican students.
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