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QCC to launch program that assists immigrant families

Queensborough Community College (l.) and Queens College have partnered on a program that will use museums to teach English to immigrants and their families.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Queensborough Community College recently announced plans to develop a program that would serve as a model for museums and other community colleges to teach English and critical thinking skills to adult immigrants and their families through the use of art.

The three-year program, known as Culture and Literacy through Arts for the 21st Century, will form a partnership among other community colleges in the CUNY system, Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Katonah Museum of Art and El Museo del Barrio to improve the ability for these institutions to engage with English-language learners and their families while at the same time expanding their reach into this community.

Other educational partners include The Literacy Assistance Center and Visual Thinking Strategies.

The college has not yet released a date when classes will start, but its goal is to test a model with at least 30 teachers and museum educators to work with a minimum of 50 students and their families per year.

“This project will impact museums’ capacities to diversify their audiences by establishing nationwide museum and community college collaborations and by providing a replicable model initiative to engage and empower adult immigrants and their families in a meaningful and permanent way,” said Patricia Lannes, CALTA21 Project Director.

The program is being funded by a $495,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as by matching contributions by the college, university and the collaborating partners.

QCC said one of the main reasons it was awarded the grant is the effect the initiative will have as a model that can easily be replicated by museums and community colleges across the country.

“National Leadership grantees help advance the museums, libraries and archives field,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “We look forward to much exciting work from this round of awards, including projects that will support learning and 21st-century skills relevant to a new generation of digital natives, enhanced access and ability to interact with digital content and providing innovative services for existing and new types of library and museum users.

“We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library and archive professions through new research and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models and activities that can be shared broadly.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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