“We do in one generation what typically takes several generations
to accomplish.” Claire Sylvan
A highly successful network of 11 small public
high schools operating
on existing school campuses in New York City and Oakland, California,
Internationals Network educates late-entry, overwhelmingly low-income
children from more than 90 countries.
Serving 3,500 students this year,
all having arrived with limited English skills, Internationals Network
sees 90 percent of its graduates go on to college - a remarkable result
considering that the graduation rate for limited English proficient
students in New York City stands at 23.5 percent. The first Internationals
school, founded 25 years ago on a community college campus, generated
a successful model that was replicated three times prior to the incorporation
of Internationals Network.
Since the formation of the nonprofit in
2004, the model has been re-created six additional times in New York
City and once in California, with a 12th school opening in San Francisco
Taking children from over 90 countries,
who speak more than 55 languages but have limited English skills,
Internationals Network for Public Schools has an uncommonly high
student graduation rate, with 90 percent of its graduates going
on to college.
By creating an innovative program and effective
supports for late-entry immigrants in public schools, Internationals
provides a high-result, cost-effective educational model. By
focusing on the challenges of late-entry immigrants, Internationals
expands public school capacity to address the needs of all students.
By focusing on immigrant children who come to the United States
later in life, Internationals is allowing these students to maximize
their human capital - which is a gain not just for them but for
the broader society. And, it equips these students to quickly
master educational and societal challenges that otherwise could
hamper outcomes for them, their families, and their future offspring.
Internationals Network, which receives support from the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as many other foundations
and individuals, offers a model network that districts and CBOs
could recreate in other school systems, and also has an internal
model of sustainability, demonstrated over a 25-year history,
that allows schools to flourish and maintain continuity even
when their leaders change.
About Claire Sylvan,
Claire E. Sylvan (EdD) is the founding Executive Director of Internationals
Network for Public Schools. A nationally recognized expert and practitioner
in both school reform and the education of immigrant and English language
learners, her efforts at Internationals Network focus on the organization's
strategy, core values, partnerships, leadership development and fundraising.
to founding Internationals Network for Public Schools, Dr. Sylvan worked
in diverse roles and settings spanning public secondary education,
teacher education, and community/workplace organizing. She has provided
guidance on broad school reform initiatives in New York City and State,
as well as nationally. She has participated on local, state, and national
advisory boards, commissions, and task forces providing leadership
on topics including the development of state standards for English
language learners, the benefits and challenges of No Child Left Behind
for English learners and the opening of new small schools.
Dr. Sylvan has developed innovative programs and practices for diverse
populations of new learners of English in various New York City public
schools, led the Internationals Schools Partnership (the early network
of International High Schools), and piloted the groundbreaking Early
College Program at International High School at LaGuardia. She has
also researched and published articles documenting the cross-section
of educational reform and language development programs for immigrants
and their children.