Bilingual Education Services

Rochester NY is a diverse and vibrant community.

The following tips and resources are designed to assist you in your navigation of the bilingual/ESL education system in Rochester, New York.

Where do I go to get assistance and to enroll my child in a bilingual or English Language Learner program?

The Department of Bilingual Education & World Languages is committed to developing high-quality instructional programs for Emergent Bilingual Learners. We serve approximately 3,500 English Language Learners within various programming options and offer World Language courses to all secondary students in the Rochester City School District.

Department of Bi-Lingual Education and World Languages
Address 131 West Broad Street, Rochester, NY 14614
Phone 585-262-8234

What type of English Language Learner programs are available to my family in Rochester?

English as a New Language (ENL)

ENL services help students from other language backgrounds develop English language skills for success in school and beyond graduation. Certified ENL/ESOL teachers offer support in English through academic subjects. Cross-cultural understanding is another important goal of all ENL instruction.

Students develop English skills through specialized instruction by ENL teachers in collaboration with the rest of their educational program, either as a separate class or within the classroom. ENL services are provided to all English Language Learners in every school in the District. ENL is an integral component of the Bilingual and LEAP programs at all grade levels, K-12.

Learning English through Academic Program (LEAP)

LEAP offers support for the simultaneous development of English language proficiency and content-area concepts in English to students whose native language is other than English, through sheltered instruction in English. There are several language groups combined in each LEAP class, with English as the primary means of communication. The program helps students improve their English language skills, build academic knowledge, and make a positive adjustment to school.

How do I support my bilingual child?

  • Read to your child in his or her home/primary language and/or English. Research shows that reading to your child in your home/primary language will help support English literacy skills.
  • Tell stories to your child in your home/primary language. Talk about your own childhood or things you remember from the past.
  • Show your child that you value your home/primary language. Speak to him or her in that language even if he or she responds in English.
  • Get a library card for your child, go to the library, and borrow books in English or in your home/primary language, if available.
  • Be sure to attend parent-teacher conferences scheduled by your school.
  • Schedule an individual meeting with your child’s teacher to learn about specific ways that you can help your child succeed.
  • Schedule time every day for your child to do homework and, if possible, provide a quiet place, free from distractions, where he or she can work.

What are my rights as a Parent of a bilingual student?

An informed, empowered community of parents, guardians and other persons in parental relation is critical to ensuring that English Language Learners (ELLs) are well served. The New York State Education Department’s Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) has created an English Language Learner Parents’ Bill of Rights which summarizes critical rights concerning educational access and programming for ELLs and their parents. These key rights are summarized in an easy to reference one page format and have been translated into thirty-one languages.

NYS ELL Parent Website and Hotline Team
c/o NYS Statewide Language RBERN at NYU Metro Center
726 Broadway – 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003
ELL Parent Hotline #: (800) 469-8224

What other resources are available to me as a parent of a bilingual or English Language Learner student in Rochester, New York?

Bilingual Education Council
B.E.C Email:
Facebook Page:
President of the Bilingual Education Council: 585-262-8296

Multilingual Parent Advisory Council
MPAC Email:
Facebook Page:

Multilingual Parent Advisory Council: 585-262-8296

Download Parent Interpreter Request Form – (Available for download in 8 languages)
Download ELL Booklet – There are additional translated documents accessible through this link. 

See the list below:


What about services for English Language Learners at other Rochester schools?

Other public schools such as charter schools and private and parochial schools each follow their own separate registration and enrollment in language services process. Ensure you stay in touch with the school throughout the process.

I have done my research and have the information I need as a parent of a bilingual or English Language Learner student. What is next?

  1. Attend parent fairs and open houses 
  2. Talk to friends & family
  3. Contact the schools you are interested in (where the bilingual program is available) and make an appointment for a visit 
  4. If possible, tour the schools during regular school hours and visit a few classes. Avoid visiting schools during the first or last week of a term in order to get a realistic sense of how the school operates.
  5. Be sure to write down your first impressions of each visit. Below are some questions to consider:
  • What did I enjoy the most about the visit?
  • What subjects or programs could my child excel in?
  • What did I enjoy the most about the visit?
  • What did I enjoy the least about the visit?
  • Do I see my child thriving in this environment?

Links to additional resources for English Language Learner and Multilingual Families

Provided by the National Parents Union.