Making ESL Accessible
Montclair State co-sponsors pilot ESL program in Paterson’s 4th Ward
Posted in: Center for Community Engagement
Over the past several months, Habitat for Humanity of Passaic County has been conducting community meetings in the Rosa Parks neighborhood located in Paterson’s 4th Ward. One request that consistently emerges from resident’s is the need for English as Second Language (ESL) classes. Whether for practical reasons such as supporting their children’s education or to enhance their economic opportunities, the availability and importance of ESL education was at the top of the list of almost all residents. While ESL programs are held in a couple of locations in Paterson, they are either inconveniently located or are prohibitively expensive, and thus, out of reach for most 4th Ward residents.
Currently a number of community- and faith-based organizations including Oasis–Haven for Women an Children, Habitat for Humanity, Grace Gospel Church, Tier 1 Recovery, and Vida Nueva along with Montclair State University are collaborating to organize and conduct a 10 week pilot ESL program in the Rosa Park neighborhood this spring for 50 local residents. Resources for the program including classroom space, curriculum, books, snacks, teaching staff, and student volunteers will be braided together from the loose coalition of participating organizations who anticipate that demand for the enrollment will vastly outstrip capacity. Project partners are committed to increasing capacity and extending the number and levels of ESL courses available and to serving a greater number of people over a longer period of time.
While a formal needs assessment has not been conducted, it is anticipated that an ESL program, could at minimum, serve 200-500 residents a year in the 4th Ward where no ESL programs currently exist. Over-time the coalition aims to develop a permanent satellite ESL site, partnering with a Paterson social services organization that has experience providing adult education classes, including ESL courses to low income families. In the long term, there’s an expectation that improved English language skills of 4th Ward residents will have many socio-economic benefits not only for the adult students, but to the community and the region as a whole. These include, but are not limited to: Improved educational outcomes for PK-12 students whose parents are better able to support their children’s educational careers and be more engaged in the life and work of their schools, enhanced employment opportunities and overall economic health of local communities, and increased educational opportunities and improved health outcomes, just to name a few.
- Saturdays 9AM- 1PM from April 15th through June 24th
- Grace Gospel Church, 139 Montgomery Street Paterson, NJ 07501
- $25 dollar student registration fee (can be paid in installments)
- Must be able to read and write in your native language
- Snacks will be provided
- Must have proof of residency in the 4th Ward of Paterson
For more information: 973-595-6868 Ext. 16