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District offers help for students new to US

They were new to the country, with little or no understanding of the English language. The Clark County School District met 3,367 kids in that situation last school year.

For those students, the district’s English Language Learner program provides specialized instruction with a teacher fluent in their native language to get them up to speed with their classmates. The district’s program covers nearly 100 languages.

To help get parents on the road to citizenship, the district provides free classes through its Adult English Language Acquisition Services, 4204 Channel 10 Drive. The program started in 2002 and also provides referral services for adult education, immigration, housing, parenting classes and more.

"We kind of try and take away any obstacles that keep them from learning English and learning the community," said Esther Vargas, the district’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program coordinator.

Office hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. For more information, call 799-6478.

ESL classes for adults are offered throughout the year from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The classes are similar to how kindergarten students would begin learning the language, Vargas said. About 15 minutes of every class focuses on civics to help prepare parents for eventual citizenship.

The district’s Global Community High School, 3801 E. Washington Ave., is dedicated specifically to these types of families.

Principal John Anzalone said the school has a staff member who works as a student success advocate to help with almost any facet of adjusting to life here.

The advocate may walk them through the first steps of getting housing or explain the naturalization process. Whatever that family needs, Anzalone said.

Anzalone said school faculty members have given families rides around town to make appointments and even paid out-of-pocket for motel stays when a family had no place to sleep.

The school has about 200 students from more than 30 countries. The low enrollment allows for smaller class sizes and quicker learning. The school also hosts ESL classes for parents throughout the year.

"The student success advocate really becomes more of a family success advocate," Anzalone said. "… We really do go to the ends of the earth to help the families out."

For more information, visit globalchs.com.

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 224-5524.

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