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ESL Program gets new funding from the feds

WPUSD gets an unexpected gift
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Ramey Dern and Phyllis Kalbach. ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers for the adult English Language Learners program, attended the Western Placer Unified School Board meeting Tuesday with enthusiastic students in tow.

They were rallying to keep their adult English Learners classes, a program that has been on the list of potential budget reductions for the past two years, from being cut.

The ESL teachers and students didn’t have to worry, thanks to federal funding being used. The present program that comprises three classes a week will not change. The classes consist of language and computer classes for adults.

About 15 students attend classes at Phoenix High School, Glen Edwards Middle School and Twelve Bridges library. Students’ ages range from 18 to 65. Although mostly Hispanic, students come from Chile, Columbia, Mexico, India, Russia, China and Vietnam.

“It’s a joy to be with them and it’s really a rewarding job,” Dern said.

The program employs two teachers working six hours per week. The program costs the school district $17,000 per year.

Lynn Kelso, the school district’s support program specialist for intervention, said that federal funding would be used to continue the program.

Title I federal funding needs to be used for programs that include parental involvement. Parents are important for a student’s success and that’s why their involvement is a requirement, according to Kelso.

“Most of our students are parents or grandparents with children in local schools,” Dern said. “We have a lot of students who are immigrants so they come to use with a minimal education. They’re learning basic study skills in addition to learning English.”

Dern said that teaching parents to speak English starts a positive cycle as parents can help their children with schoolwork and the children will do well in school. They’ll become educated as a family, Dern added, and the community will benefit.

“It’s critical for a student’s success that their parents be involved in their education and when language is a barrier, parents can’t be as helpful as they would like to be,” said Mary Boyle, Western Placer Union School District’s assistant superintendent of educational services.

School district receives unexpected gift of funds

On March 11, the district received a $58,000 check from the Living Trust fund of John W Brady and Dorothy J. Brady.

The grant’s purpose was not specified.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, the district’s assistant superintendent of business and operations Audrey Kilpatrick asked the school board for suggestions about how to use the funds.

Ideas included investing the money and using the interest to donate funds to the Twelve Bridges Library and creation of an academic scholarship program. The board agreed to revisit the topic at the April 16 meeting.