By Anna Smith
The summer of 2023 has come and almost gone, and back-to-school season is a time to celebrate for all ages at International House!
Last year, 657 children and 299 adults participated in education programs at International House. These education programs continue to evolve to serve more students.
In the spirit of returning to school hallways and making new friends, you can get to know International House’s education programs and prepare to learn by reading.
Just for Kids
“Thank you for the program, it helped me with my grades.”–Student in Rising Up program
In recent years, researchers have found that when English learners (ELs) focus on improving their reading proficiency, other aspects of their literacy and language proficiency improve as well. However, when they do not make progress in learning English, ELs face academic and other achievement limitations that extend far beyond reading. To make matters worse, North Carolina has historically worse than average academic performance and outcomes among ELs.
To address these issues, International House created two programs to help EL students gain reading skills and improve their literacy levels during the summer and throughout the school year.
Rising Readers, International House’s summer literacy program, wrapped up at the end of July. This program helps EL students in grades K-5 whose English proficiency has been identified as limited in order to improve their reading levels. This year marked the fourteenth summer of the Rising Readers program.
Rising Up, the after-school program for ELs in grades 3–5, will return for a third year in September as elementary schools across Charlotte begin the new school year. Students in this program receive tutoring to improve their literacy skills and English proficiency.
Paid tutoring positions are open for both reading programs. Rising Readers tutors work full days Monday-Thursday for the duration of the six-week summer program. Rising Up tutors work for two hours after school on two or three weekdays for the duration of at least one semester. Those interested are invited to fill out an interest form.
For the Grown-Ups
“All day every day I am surrounded by people that speak Spanish. I love coming to class to practice the citizenship vocabulary in English. This will help me pass my test!”–Student in Citizenship Preparation Class (Petronilla Matthews, Honduras)
The education department at International House also offers programs for adults. And there are countless reasons for adults to learn English as well: more job opportunities with higher pay, easier navigation of everyday life in the U.S., more connection in the community, and so on.
English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at International House run on an 8-week cycle. The ESL classes are free and meet in person twice a week in the morning or in the evening. ESL students can choose from two topics and levels: English at Work for intermediate English learners and Health Literacy for beginner English learners.
Citizenship Preparation Program (CPP) classes are offered three times a year as 10-week courses. These classes meet in person once a week, and the registration fee is $25 just to cover the cost of the textbooks. Students in the CPP courses get ready to apply for citizenship by learning about U.S. history and government and preparing for naturalization interviews.
All of the education classes have already filled up for the fall, but check back on the education page in the coming months for future dates. The seats in the ESL and CPP classes fill up quickly, so registering as soon as possible is recommended.
Back to School
The education department at International House is working hard to bridge the gap in literacy between native English speakers and ELs and equip adults with the knowledge and skills they need to apply for citizenship and interview for jobs.
As the education programs continue to grow, so does the need for tutors and teachers. There are always volunteer opportunities as well as paid opportunities for those who are interested—you don’t have to be a student to go back to school!
Explore the education page on the International House website, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the new office (1611 East 7th Street) to learn how you can get involved and support International House students.