On May 31st, 2017, at the Ocean City High School, students in the American Sign Language class run by teacher Amy Anderson get ready for their annual ASL show for the Elementary Deaf education program from Vineland.

TRENTON — Four local schools were among 11 districts statewide recognized for outstanding second-language programs.

Ocean City’s American Sign Language program, taught by New Jersey’s Teacher of Year Amy Andersen, and Egg Harbor Township’s Hispanohablantes/Heritage Speaker program were recognized in the category of world language. Atlantic City’s Newcomer Center and Vineland’s K-5 and 9-12 programs were recognized for their bilingual and English as a Second Language programs.

The Department of Education honored the districts at a recent ceremony in Trenton.

“Second-language studies are integral to scholastic achievement and student success. New languages open minds and hearts to diversity in cultures, races, religions and social interaction,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “This kind of motivational and global instruction is key to challenging and channeling student learning.”

The NJDOE recognizes exemplary second-language programs every two years, and the 11 model programs will serve as resource centers for other districts.

Educators can visit the schools to observe practices in second-language teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom. Administrators and teachers also will be able to discuss issues of mutual concern with staff from the centers, as well as have the potential for collaboration on their second language programs, the DOE said.

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.