English as a Second Language Courses Offered in Lehigh | News, Sports, Jobs

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English as a second language courses are again offered at Lehigh Acres, thanks to a partnership between Rise Church and Literacy Council Gulf Coast.

Literacy Council Gulf Coast President and CEO Sue Holman Schad said they have offered several programs at Lehigh Acres since 2011 at different schools. She said that when mothers or fathers drop their children off at school, they then come to class to learn English.

There were over 700 students across Lee County who participated in the program.

Then COVID-19 hit and the Literacy Council Gulf Coast was no longer allowed in schools in the Lee County School District due to new protocols.

“At this stage, they are not inviting outside entities into the school”, said Holman Schad. “We had to try to find other options in different parts of Lee County. “

Those options turned into the pastors at Rise Church in Lehigh Acres who housed them, sharing that they would like them to offer classes at the church. On September 1, volunteer Maria Smith began offering ESL classes at church, until someone was exposed to COVID and the class moved from in-person to Zoom.

Holman Schad said Smith was teaching Lehigh the class before COVID-19.

“Then COVID hit and everyone took a time out. We had so many students at Lehigh. It’s hard not to have programs there. We have taken steps to restart or open new programs. Maria stepped forward and agreed to be a tutor for our Lehigh program at this point. She is awesome,” she said.

There are currently three students varying from beginner to intermediate level participating in the Wednesday and Thursday Zoom. Classes are continuous and last 60 to 90 minutes.

Holman Schad said they started by asking the student “What do you want to learn,” the class therefore focuses on the student’s goals. The students wanted to improve listening comprehension and have better speaking skills, so that they could interact with English speakers in various contexts.

“We adapt our programs to achieve their goals” said Holman Schad. “Maria helps them practice pronunciation, read instructions. “

They use the book “English verbs” to improve communication. The class also uses online resources to support the lesson.

She said they would use paragraphs from the internet to better understand real-world topics, while examining and reading to identify vocabulary words.

“The students are very motivated and engaged. They share websites that are useful to them ”, Homan Schad said, adding that they are also translating into Spanish for further explanation. “I’m so glad the students are motivated and excited about this. Many of our students prefer to be in person and learn in person. We had to adapt and be flexible.

Those interested in joining the class are encouraged to call 239-676-5202 where staff will put them in touch with Smith, so they can register for the class.

The Literacy Council began teaching Bonita one-on-one in 1989 before merging with Literacy Volunteers of Lee County in 2011, which gave them the opportunity to expand the program to the northern and eastern parts of the county. by Lee.

“It opened the door to help us reach southwest Florida on a larger scale,” said Holman Schad.

At the height of the Literacy Council Gulf Coast, 4,000 students were enrolled across the county. They are now taking small steps with the reopening of the programs.

Holman Schad said they were looking for volunteers to help provide tutoring for their ESL programs, which would help open another site in Lehigh Acres.

There is training offered once a month for a few hours.

“They don’t need to be a former teacher or know another language. We teach them to succeed ”, she explained, adding that all the volunteer needs to do is commit once or twice a week for a few hours.

Those interested can email [email protected], or call 239-676-5202 and ask for Holman Schad.

She said they were very grateful to be at Rise Church and Lehigh Acres.

“We know the need is great in Lehigh”, said Holman Schad.

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