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School offering Russian as second language to open in Manhattan

May 13, 9:33 UTC+3 NEW YORK

Two Russian-language classes will open in September

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NEW YORK, May 13. /TASS/. A school where school subjects will be taught both in Russian and in English will open in Manhattan the next school year, the president of the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center, Olga Zatsepina, told TASS on Friday.

She said a new program will be launched at school 145, where subjects will be taught in two languages - Russian and English. Half of the school day the pupils will study general subjects in Russian, and another half-of-the day - in English. School students will include children from Russian-speaking and English-speaking families.

"The prime aim for us is not only to preserve the cultural heritage of our historical homeland, the Russian language, traditions, basic principles of education, but to spread it further," Olga Zatsepina said.

"This school is a major and long-awaited move in this direction, success of people’s diplomacy building new bridges and ties between Russia and America," she went on.

She said two Russian-language classes will open in September - reception and first class, and every new school year new such classes will be added.

Each class will have 24 children - 12 of them Russian-speaking and 12 - English-speaking. "Most parents willing to send their children to this school are bilingual families where one of the spouses speaks Russian and another is ethnic American," said Olga Ilyashenko, one of the initiators.

"Parents want that they children don’t forget the Russian language, read literature in the original, write and speak Russian well, as well as know Russia’s culture and traditions".

After the main classes, the school will offer an after-school center - chess, music, painting, and singing - the subjects usually offered to school pupils at Russian schools as supplementary education. "Americans show great interest in a new school as it will be the only school in the district with such a strong educational program," Ilyashenko said, adding that Russian educational standards are seen as very high in the US.

She said the school director is very enthusiastic about the initiative of Russian parents, as she hopes to attract new pupils and to boost the rating of the school.

A sizable part of teaching be based on Russian school-books. At the moment, a similar school exists in New York only in Brooklyn having a large Russian diaspora. However, the school’s waiting list exceeds 400 people. Manhattan has a French and a German school where school subjects are taught in two languages.

About 1.5 million ethnic Russians live in the New York State, most of them in New York City.

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