Julia Richman

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, immigrants flooded into the U.S. Many stayed in New York City. Life was not easy for them. Public schools played an important role in their lives. Julia Richman was an important advocate for these immigrants.

Julia was born on October 12, 1855, in New York. She was the middle child. Her parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Julia wanted to be a teacher. Her family did not want her to be. She did not care, though. She graduated from the Female Normal School. She began teaching right away. Twelve years later, she became a public school principal. She was the first Jewish principal.

Julia had a special place in her heart for immigrants. Her school became a place for new ideas. As principal, Julia allowed continuous promotion. This meant that children could go to the next grade when they were ready. This could be in the middle of a school year. A second idea of Julia's was to divide children by academic level. She had the teachers teach at these academic levels. Julia also often assigned the most effective teachers to struggling children. A third idea was to group immigrants according to their fluency in English. She encouraged immersion so immigrants who were not fluent in English would have to learn the language. Julia also created job training classes.

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