Sunday, August 20, 2006

Immigrant kids get language help

Schenectady summer program gives children instruction on reading and writing in English

By JENNIFER PATTERSON, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
SCHENECTADY -- Nearly 50 immigrant students in the Schenectady City School District have been attending a new six-week literacy program at Lincoln Elementary School to improve their English language skills.
The American Summer Academy provides one-on-one and small-group instruction to students who need to improve their English reading and writing skills but were not eligible to take English as a Second Language classes during the school year. The program is supported by a $50,000 federal grant.
"With a 5-to-1 (teacher-student) ratio, we can really focus on individual needs," said site supervisor Carol Green. "All the students continue to make huge strides."
Students in kindergarten through fifth-grade attend the program daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and get breakfast, lunch and transportation for free. They work in grade-level groups on reading, writing and a variety of hands-on activities and have taken class trips to the Schenectady County Public Library, the Asian Food Market, Europa Beauty School and more.
Each classroom has at least one teacher, a para-professional and an AmeriCorps volunteer. Students have been reading about Greek mythology, writing their own fairy tales and reciting oral book reports, all to prepare them for this school year.
"This is a volunteer program, but the students have great attendance records and show up every day eager to learn," Green said. The parents have been cooperative and involved in the curriculum, she added.
The program was first offered to immigrant students new to the school district. Any openings were then offered to immigrant families with more than one student enrolled in the district and to regular English as a second language students who required additional attention.
This is the first year the district has offered the program, but Green hopes it will continue in the future.
"We really do see a difference," she said.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


FACT SHEET- August 10, 2006
Contact: 202-282-8010

Raised Threat Levels:
 The U.S. threat level is raised to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
 The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange for all commercial aviation operating in the U.S., including international flights. Flights from the U.S. to the U.K. are also Orange.

Increased Aviation Screening Procedures:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be implementing a series of security measures – some visible and some not visible -- to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system. TSA is immediately implementing following changes to airport screening procedures:

 NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY ON BAGGAGE. SUCH ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, sun tan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
Exception: Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines, which all must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.
 Beverages purchased in the boarding area (beyond the checkpoint) must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted on board the aircraft.
 Passengers traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. will be subject to a more extensive screening process.

These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant.

How every passenger can assist in security:
 Pack lightly, without clutter to facilitate easier screening
 Arrive earlier than usual at the airport
 Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and with airline personnel at all gates
 Be attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity and report it to authorities

Increased Border Protection Procedures:
 U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase enforcement efforts in international arrival areas including the use of advanced targeting tools, special response teams including baggage and aircraft search teams, baggage x-ray equipment, specially-trained canine units, and explosive detection technology.
 DHS has also mandated that all flights from the U.K. transmit passenger manifest information for intensive screening prior to departure from the gate. In addition, passengers on these flights and all other international flights will be subject to heightened inspection upon arrival in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Underground Railroad Conference Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for Workshop and Panel Presentations
Sixth Annual Underground Railroad Conference
"Discovering the Underground Railroad: Uncovering the Voices of Women"
February 23-25, 2007, College of St, Rose, Albany, NY

The conference planning committee is pleased to announce that the Sixth Annual Underground Railroad Conference will focus on the voices of women – and on questions of women and gender more broadly – in relationship to the Underground Railroad, questions that have not been sufficiently addressed in the past.

We are soliciting brief proposals for workshop and panel presentations for this conference. Proposals should be made for either the shorter sessions (50 minutes), designed for one or two presenters, or the longer sessions (1 hour 50 minutes), designed for larger panels and more intensive workshops. We prefer proposals for entire sessions, but will accept proposals for individual presentations that the committee may combine with other similar presentations into session panels. We ask that all session proposals allow significant time for audience interaction. We also ask that proposals focus on the conference theme – this is the priority – although other important topics concerning Underground Railroad history will be considered.

Financial support will be available for presenters with particular needs. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer stipends to all presenters as we have in the past.

Proposals should be no more than two double-spaced pages in length, and should include information on the following:
Type of session (workshop, panel, media presentation, artistic or cultural performance, etc.) and length of session desired (50 minute or 1 hr 50 min)
Title and content, including topics of individual presentations, if any
Audience for whom the presentation(s) is (are) appropriate
Name(s), contact information (including work and home / cell phone), and brief biographical information on presenter(s)
Technological needs.

Proposals should be submitted to the planning committee by October 15, 2006 at:
Mail – URHPCR, PO Box 10851, Albany NY 12201
Email –

For more information, please contact us at 518-432-4432 or at the above addresses.

Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Committee PRESS RELEASE


Albany- On Saturday August, 12, 2006, from 11:00-2:00, The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Committee, the New York State Museum and the Town of Colonie will host a public meeting at the State Museum to discuss the human remains of African descent uncovered during a Town of Colonie sewer project at 590-592 Broadway, Menands on June 5, 2005.

The meeting in the Museum auditorium will address several issues including the possible identities of the remains, how it was determined they are of African descent, what else has been learned thus far and what further studies might yield. Biochemical Analysis, including DNA and isotope testing, could provide additional information on who was buried at the site and where they came from. Artifact analysis, including botanical and soil testing, may provide insight into the lives and culture of these individuals.

The meeting agenda will include an explanation of the discovery and removal of the remains and how the study of these remains can impact our knowledge of the lives of African Americans during the colonial period. Information gathered may also be used to create exhibits. There will be opportunity for public comment and a question and answer period.

CONTACT: Joanne Guilmette (518) 474-8730