Partners in Literacy: College Park Elementary
Over the course of the next few months, we will be introducing you to new partnerships the Literacy Council are building to more strategically help our community with its Literacy needs.
In January the Literacy Council began a wonderful partnership with College Park Elementary. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings we teach an ESOL (English as a Second Language) class to the parents of the students who attend College Park Elementary. The class of almost 30 parents are learning the basics of the English language such as understanding the difference between short and long vowel sounds.
34% of Marion County children under the age of five live in poverty. Researchers believe this is because most of those parents lack even the most basic of education. Although the school system offers children educational support, the parents are left to continue life without the proper educational support they need. As long as our school system is investing in our children, we need to equally invest in the parents of those children. Children returning to a home where a parent cannot read or speak English means a parent is unable to reinforce any educational gains made by a child. We all know a child’s first teacher is their parent and this program will directly impact a parent while indirectly impacting the child thus hopefully breaking the cycle of low poverty and educational levels. A parent’s level of educational attainment is a strong predictor of a child’s success. Partnering with schools is the best way to reach those most in need.
This current class will continue to meet through the summer and fall at the school after which most of the students will move on to a Level 2 understanding of English. We look to add both a Level 2 class and another Level 1 class at that time. Our hope is that this program will grow to include many other elementary schools in the community. We would like to directly focus on low performing schools and low income areas of the county to fully impact those parents in need. Eventually, we will offer not only ESOL classes but GED and basic literacy instruction to the parents at the schools. If you are interested in tutoring at the schools, please contact the Literacy Council to get set up as a tutor.