This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Mark Markov's transcript and translation below.
A native of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, Aisuluu Sartbaeva is PTA president of Coney Island's I.S. 303, where one of her daughters is a student. She talks about the school’s special program for students to learn partially in their own native language and partially in English, to make the transition easier for those who recently immigrated to the U.S., and the challenges and opportunities for both children and parents.
A journalist for over 15 years, Sartbaeva first came to the U.S. in 2012 to work as a correspondent in Washington. When her husband and two daughters joined her, the family moved to New York and settled in Coney Island. They are trilingual, speaking Kyrgyz, Russian, and now English.
Sartbaeva describes an array of after-school programs available to students, including one in journalism which she founded and teaches at I.S.303. She also volunteers as a member of the Community Education Council of New York City’s Department of Education and the Citywide Council on English Language Learners (CCELL), which advocates on behalf of all students who are in a bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) Program.