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Each One Teach One Diablo Valley Literacy Council
EACH ONE TEACH ONE To teach English as a second language (ESL) to non-English speaking adults.

 

Newsletter
Fall 2002, VOL. 16 No. 3

President's Message
Each year in June, California Literacy asks us to send data for their Annual Statistical Report. The current report will compile data for the year July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002, and will include student and tutor demographics. Some of our statistics are below:

  • New ESL students tutored: 37
  • ESL students tutored: 171
  • Avg. number of students on waiting list: 55
  • Max student waiting list time: 24 months.
  • Students leaving after 3 months: 4
  • Most students retained for: 6 months to 2 years.
  • Volunteers: 103
  • Volunteer hours: 7,919
  • Tutor Training Workshops held: 2
  • New Tutors trained: 34
  • Number of Students, Tutors and Supporters who are a "statistic" to us: Zero!

California Literacy compiles all the data from literacy organizations in the State; they report to Laubach Literacy Action who reports on the national level. This summer we received A Year’s Work in Literacy, the national report for 2000 - 2001. It reports that an estimated 88,687 volunteers gave their time to Literacy work.

Volunteer levels have declined over the last five years while student enrollments have increased by 11 percent. Nationally, literacy volunteers have donated an average of 6.5 million service hours each year for the last five years. Although the number of literacy programs that offer ESL instruction has remained a constant 76 % over the last five years, ESL enrollments have grown at a rate of 3-4 % annually. Today 44.5% of all students are receiving ESL instruction compared to 33 % five years ago.

There is a lot more information reported, but I don’t want to overload you with a lot of dry statistics. However, I do feel it is important to know how we fit into the BIG picture and to acknowledge your participation. The cause remains of the greatest importance and our goal is to continue to reach out to the community to increase the number of ESL tutors in our program.

Thank you...keep up the good work.

Lorraine Gosbey

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Tutor Tips
Fall is a great time to go to your student’s local produce market, finger the fruits and practice color names.

Ask your student if they have a favorite fruit or vegetable that’s in season right now. Ask them how they cook it. Have them write a very short story about it. If their children are usually present at your tutoring sessions, have the children draw pictures for the story.

Talk turkeys, pumpkins, and pilgrims. Some of the citizenship materials in our library have stories about the Pilgrims and the settlement of the Colonies that can help you explain Thanksgiving.

Make a pumpkin pie, or another favorite fall dish with your student.

Talk about the changing weather. "Today it is warm. Yesterday it was cold." Take out a calendar and talk about how it was hot in September, now it is cool, in December it will rain, etc. Ask your student what the weather is like right now, in their home country.

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Tutor-Student Coordinator Notes
As you can see in our Annual Report data, some of our students wait up to 2 years before getting matched to a tutor! These deserving students need help. We currently have 82 students on the waiting list.

Fifty-two of those waiting are from Mexico, 29 have been referred to us by Head Start. Three matches are pending.

We need tutors in East County especially. If you are ready for a new student, call me at (925) 934-0458.

Betty Goldstein

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An Evening with Rosemary Slavin
There are so many organizations teaching ESL in Contra Costa County. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of even a few of the pieces of the puzzle, and to think about how they fit together. Come to our Fall In-Service on November 12, 2002, and you will get a glimpse of the adult ESL programs offered to parents of school-age children through Mt. Diablo Adult Education (MDAE) Center’s Community-Based English Tutoring Program (CBET).

Ms. Rosemary Slavin, who coordinates this local CBET program, will speak with us that evening. Since the CBET program serves a group of adults very similar to our students, Ms. Slavin will be sharing learning strategies with us.

Come November 12 and you may hear Ms. Slavin talk about:

How, along with teaching ESL, CBET teachers show parents how to read to their children, draw pictures with them, and play with them. Ms. Slavin told me that in some cultures, a child’s formal education is 100% delegated to teachers. Parents from these cultures need to learn how to play with their children in an educational way so that their children will succeed in our schools.

How CBET teachers continually help students set goals and express their desires, using life skills lessons to meet the student’s goals, while making sure each student works their way through the English curriculum.

What strategies CBET uses for getting students to move out into the community.

When I interviewed Ms. Slavin for this article, I got the sense she knows about ESL teaching from the bottom to the top. Ms. Slavin began her teaching career as a high school English teacher in Richmond, about 22 years ago. She began working with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District as a part-time ESL teacher. Then, when Prop 227 passed in 1998, she was tapped to work on CBET, because of her long-time interest in family literacy.

So, is it more exciting to be a teacher or an administrator in this arena? Ms. Slavin admitted that she misses the classroom, and her retirement goal is to free up her time so she can teach again! But she says that administering this program has been very special to her, because through family literacy, she can have an impact on the education of women. "It’s really important to see an environment where women can really flourish," said Ms. Slavin.

For instance, many CBET students and former students participate in the Monument Community Partnership Neighborhood Action Teams. These teams combine Monument Community residents from local health agencies, businesses, schools, and residential areas. Team facilitators help develop local leaders as they work on neighborhood issues.

Also, students and former students volunteer to help at their children’s schools. In these ways, women who formerly had little or no confidence with English are making an impact on their communities. Women who were new to a community are now partners in shaping that community.

When you think about it, teaching English really isn’t our ultimate goal. The reason we help others learn English is to help them reach their goals, and to strengthen our own communities by getting more of our neighbors to participate at a deeper level. CBET has many success stories along these lines, and we look forward to sharing an evening with Ms. Slavin to talk about just that.

Anne Kumaranayagam

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Prop 227 and CBET
Prop 227 was known as the "English-only in schools" initiative that passed in 1998. Because many schools were giving bilingual instruction and would now teach in English only, the State of California made money available to help parents of school-aged children come up to speed in English, in order to support their children’s education.

Today, credentialed CBET teachers provide ESL classes to parents of school-aged children at several Elementary schools. At Meadow Homes Elementary School and Cambridge Elementary School, child care is provided while ESL classes are offered all day, from 8 AM to 8:30 PM. At four other elementary schools, classes are offered in more limited time brackets, and some locations have babysitting available.

Local programs report annual test scores to the State of California. The State is also doing a more comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of Prop 227 right now.

Ms. Slavin’s goal is to establish the new Family Literacy Center at Meadow homes this fall. The building arrived last week, and they hope to move in this October.

In the next 2 to 3 years, Ms. Slavin’s goal is to be able to reach more parents of pre-school aged children. MDUSD hopes to work with the (Prop 10) Children & Families Commission to do this.

The program’s long-term goals are to be able to continue their work when Prop 227 funds run out in 2008.

Anne Kumaranayagam

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Peruvian Children

Linda's Trip to Peru
This past June I was able to fulfill a life-long desire to see the lost city of the Inca, Machu Picchu, high in the Andes of Peru. Truly a place to be felt and seen, words simply cannot describe the experience for me.

But beyond Machu Picchu, Peru itself was incredible. The diversity of geography and climate was breathtaking (literally so, at 11,000 feet in Cusco) encompassing some of the driest desert in the world, the highest mountains, the largest river system, the deepest canyons and the spectacular rainforest.

But most of all, I will remember the people--these people who live with the many challenges that nature deals them and the poverty and political upheavals of the 1990s. They were always warm, always friendly and always helpful. We were in Lima during the latest political crisis, but toured as always — the demonstrations were orderly and calm and the riot police even allowed us to take pictures.

In Cusco, I collapsed from typhoid fever and doctors came to the house within minutes. I spent a night in the hospital and had excellent care — they even made sure I made my train to Machu Picchu at 6 the next morning. No need for insurance cards or forms — they told me I could pay the balance of my bill when I returned for my checkup in three days. The bill came to $103 -- including medicine, shots, IV therapy, doctors, etc.

Most of all, I will remember the children on the highlands helping their families by selling handcrafted souvenirs. When we showed them the inexpensive BIC pens we had brought along, they forgot what they were selling and crowded around us to get a pen for school. The teachers I traveled with and I hope to find an organization to help fund school supplies for these students. It is their faces we will remember most vividly.

Linda Belt

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Tutor Makes Website Better Than Ever
For Lan Ly, who has managed the design and development of large web portals, progress and teamwork are the norm. In his professional life, Lan designed and launched an internal website for Merril Lynch, so that marketing materials could move paperlessly throughout the company. He then worked with a music web portal during its rapid expansion phase, and a direct marketing web portal, managing development and design, and managing relationships with key outside partners.

So, when Lan became a Tutor with DVLC and saw our web site, with it’s out-of-date content, well… "When I saw how neglected the site was," wrote Lan in an email interview, "I had to make it better. I wanted to improve the usability of the site while making it more professional." That’s an example of Lan’s tact, by the way. He was very patient with the Board, as he interviewed us about what we wanted from a website. It was hard for us to express what we wanted since we pretty much don’t know any web lingo or what’s technically possible, but Lan knew how to listen.

Lan became a DVLC Tutor because "I really wanted to make a difference in the community. I remember how difficult it was to learn a new language... several times. I speak Chinese, Vietnamese, English, and Spanish and I'm going to learn Italian, French, and Portuguese."

The next time you meet Lan, don’t ask him how to fix your latest computer woe. Ask him about his year at the University of Valencia in Spain, where he completed a full immersion intensive program in Economics and Spanish. That’ll be a much more fun conversation.

Anne Kumaranayagam

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  Diablo Valley Literacy Council
4000 Clayton Road
Concord, CA 94521
(925) 685-3881