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Do You Speak Arabic?

Arabic is among the top 30 languages spoken in Chicago. The 2000 US Census count identified more than 11,000 speakers of Arabic in Chicago. Between October 2006 and July 2009, at least 1,500 more were counted. Many of these new arrivals are refugees from Iraq as reported in the article, "Abandoned. Adrift. Enduring." (Chicago Tribune, 10/25/09, by James Jarrega and Antonio Oliva.)

Both adults and their children may be struggling to learn English. The Chicago Public Schools offers state mandated Bilingual Education Programs (Arabic/English) for many of these children from Iraq and other Arabic-speaking countries.

In addition, it has now opened the door to Arabic for English speaking students at both the elementary and high school levels. According to Mr. Robert Davis, Director of Professional Development, elementary schools offering instruction in the Arabic language are: Volta, LaSalle Language Academy, Durkin Park, Peck, Marquette, Belding and Agassiz.

The high school Arabic World Language Program is offered at Lincoln Park High School, Roosevelt and Lindbloom.

For more information, contact the Department of Language and Cultural Education, Chicago Public Schools, 773-553-1930.