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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Julia Peterson, Redwoods Community College District


Partnership to provide ESL to ELL elementary school children's parents

  • Type of Practice: Partnerships & Collaboration
  • Targeted Population: Adult Basic Education Students, Adult Secondary Education Students, English Language Learners, First-time Students, Citizenship Students, K12 to CC Transitioning Students
  • Program Area(s): English as a Second Language & Citizenship
  • Consortia Involved:
    North Coast Adult Education Consortium: Del Norte County Unified School District, Eureka City Schools USD, Ferndale Unified School District, Fort Bragg Unified School District, Fortuna Union High School District, Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District, Menocino Unified School District, Northern Humboldt Union High School District, Redwoods Community College District, Southern Humboldt Joint Unified School District

The Challenge

The County Office of Education was working with the parents of their elementary school English Language Learners and discovered that the parents had a strong desire to study English. Everyone believed that by helping the parents increase their English skills, the entire family would benefit. College of the Redwoods offered noncredit ESL classes, on its campuses, but the parents were not attending. We looked for an innovative solution that would work in our rural area.

The Solution

The County Office of Education was working with the parents of their elementary school English Language Learners and discovered that the parents had a strong desire to study English. Everyone believed that by helping the parents increase their English skills, the entire family would benefit. College of the Redwoods offered noncredit ESL classes, on its campuses, but the parents were not attending. We looked for an innovative solution that would work in our rural area. As their proficiency grows, ESL students are also referred to the higher level classes held on College of the Redwoods campus. From the high level noncredit ESL class students are encouraged to transition into college credit classes, and many have done so successfully.

Outcomes

ESL classes were well attended at many elementary schools within the region. One Principal reported that before the classes, non-English speaking parents were often disengaged from the school community and that after the first year of classes she noticed that the parents who were attending ESL classes were attending school functions, making eye contact, meeting with teachers and had become enthusiastic and active members of the elementary school community. Many of the parents also completed the computer class to earn a computer to take home, which will benefit the entire family. As the parents’ English proficiency increased, they asked for additional educational opportunities and we expanded to include both ESL and GED classes.

The Data

In the two years since we started this program so many ESL students have followed the pathway from community ESL at the elementary school, to higher level ESL on the college campus and then to college credit classes, that in Fall 2016 we started a new ESL class with an academic support focus, to provide continuing ESL support to English Language Learners who are taking credit classes but still benefit from additional ESL instruction.


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