"I learned speak English in the class. Better my English. The classes have helped me at my house and at my work, and also now I can help my son in the afternoon with English." - English in the Schools student
English in the Schools
Each year, Literacy Network reaches out to more than 200 parents and family members of school-age children through its English in the Schools program at area schools. English in the Schools provides adult English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to the parents of children attending schools in Madison, Middleton, Verona, and Marshall. The program aims to empower parents to be active partners in their children's education, to increase parent-child reading interactions in the home, and to enable parents to participate more fully in their community. During the 2011 program year, English in the Schools classes occurred at Glendale Elementary, Midvale Elementary, Lindbergh Elementary, Nuestro Mundo Elementary, and Orchard Ridge Elementary in the Madison Metropolitan School District, Sauk Trail Elementary in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, Sugar Creek Elementary in the Verona Area School District, and Marshall Elementary in the Marshall Public Schools.
English in the Schools instructors focus on topics such as the following:
- American school system
- Filling out registration forms
- School-specific programs and activities
- Classroom vocabulary
- School staff members
- Common school subjects
- School places
- Body parts and illnesses
- Communicating with the school or calling in sick
- Excused vs. unexcused absences
Adults who participate in English in the Schools recount a wide variety of meaningful achievements. Parents learned what to expect during parent-teacher conferences and a few students have reported successfully navigating the conference without an interpreter! Others participated in Parents' Nights held at their schools, attended committee meetings to explore volunteering, began visiting the public library with their children, or felt more comfortable during doctor visits. One parent announced, "Me siento más enconfianza hablar con los maestros ... y ayudar a mis hijos con la tarea." (I feel more confident speaking with the teachers and helping my children with their homework).
Spanish in the Schools
Literacy Network and the Madison Metropolitan School District also offer Spanish classes for families, teachers, and staff members to complement existing bilingual or Dual Language Immersion programs. The Spanish class for native English speaking parents or school staff members studies topics of interest such as family, school, telling time, and health, along with basic grammar. Some Spanish learners are beginners while others have studied the language at some point in their past. After the completion of a fall Spanish class, one learner commented, "I plan to use my Spanish to communicate more with my grandchildren and my daughter-in-law's family." Another student shared, "I have told lots of people about the class. The class was great!"
In addition to the ESL and Spanish group classroom instruction, learners engage in an Intercambio language exchange during the last half hour of each class. Many instructors have reported that the informal Intercambio is students' favorite part of the program because it allows them to naturally blend their native and target languages while getting to know other adults from the school community. The language exchange enables learners to build their self-confidence and feel more comfortable interacting with native speakers. One learner offered the following comment about Intercambio: "I liked that the people came and chatted with us. I wasn't afraid to speak English and I got to meet new people."
For more information, contact:
Director of Family Literacy
1118 South Park Street
Madison, WI 53715