Bronx Bilingual School for Girls

Right before classes end for the day, parents start crowding around the exits of the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, or BGLIG–pronounced “Big League.” Ramona Parra’s daughter Brielle Ciprian, a first grader and a native Spanish speaker, runs out and hugs her mother. Before attending the school, Parra recalls, her daughter “did not speak any English because I do not speak it. I was at peace when I found out there was no entrance exam because my daughter couldn’t understand the language then.”

At Big League, Ciprian has made rapid progress. “Around the holidays last year she was speaking Spanglish,” Parra says. “It took a couple months for her to speak one language at a time. Now my daughter speaks to me in English all the time. I don’t understand what she’s telling me but I am pleased.”

Her experience speaks to how the school, a public charter school located in the South Bronx, is setting innovative standards for academic excellence among public schools in the city. It is one of a growing number of academic dual language schools that are developing the skills of first-generation immigrant children to position them to effectively compete in our global society.