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Promised Land?: English Learners Seeking Refuge at Lafayette High School


  • Naomi Cerre,

  • Tamara Alsace,

  • Jessica Gilmartin


This “water cooler” column features email conversations—as well as report excerpts—among principal Naomi Cerre, teacher Jessica Gilmartin, and Tamara Alsace, Director of Multilingual Education Department of Buffalo City School District (BCSD), Buffalo, New York. Principal Cerre is the leader at Lafayette High School, where 70% of its student population speaks a first language that is not English, resulting in an opulent linguistic school community of approximately 41 languages. Naomi began the conversation, noting her pride and vision for being the leader of a high school labeled persistently low achieving.