NEW BRITAIN—A small band of students at E.C. Goodwin Vocational-Technical School will be studying together this year — in Polish.
A recent increase in Polish-speaking students — about 24 for the 1994-95 school year — has meant a new bilingual program. State law requires a bilingual class when at least 20 non-English-speaking students enroll at a school.
The boost in Polish students is the work of Anne Gustafson, a newly hired part-time bilingual educator at the school. In the past year, she has been spending her spare time promoting the school.
At Sacred Heart Church, which has one of the largest Polish congregations, Gustafson talked up the school’s trade programs. School administrators are seeing the results and preparing for the new students.
“This is a pretty big increase in a short time,” school Director John Tarnuzzer said.
The school has had several Spanish bilingual classes, but this is the first Polish bilingual class, Tarnuzzer said. There are 610 high school students enrolled for the new school year.
When school starts Aug. 31, Polish-speaking students will take classes together in the core subjects: mathematics, social studies and science. But they will join English-speaking peers during shop classes.
The work in shop is hands-on and gives students a chance to work together despite language barriers, Tarnuzzer said.
The school offers trade programs, including manufacturing technology, machine drafting, plumbing, graphic communication and automotives.
School officials will hire a full-time Polish bilingual teacher and a part-time assistant. They have received about 15 inquiries as a result of from newspaper advertisements. The starting salary is about $28,000.
Candidates must have state certification in bilingual education as well as in general education, Tarnuzzer said.