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Parents get in on the language act, too

POSTED: September 13, 2009 12:29 a.m.
Sara Guevara/The Times

Marisela Lara looks over an illustrated English workbook Wednesday during the first day of English class for parents at the World Language Academy. Lara has two daughters who attend the academy. She says she needs to become more fluent in English to help her pursue her career.

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Kids aren't the only ones learning languages in local schools.

Parents also are enrolling in English or Spanish classes at the World Language Academy.

Flo Smith, community outreach coordinator for Lanier Technical College, said seven different English classes are operating from five different Hall school locations this fall. Lanier Tech English teachers are helping immigrants to learn English, transition to American society and find better jobs.

"It's been a win-win for everybody," Smith said. "It's a great role model for kids to see their parents coming to school and learn as well."

Carrie Woodcock, dual language coordinator for Hall schools, said parents can take the nearly three-hour English or Spanish classes twice each week in the mornings.

Marisela Lara, who has a daughter in the first grade at the World Language Academy, is in her second year of English classes at the elementary school. She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico four years ago.

"I was happy because I found the right school for my daughter ... and she's learning English and Chinese in the same school I found classes for me," she said. "I need (English) to prepare myself for the future. I'd like to find work in my profession I had in Mexico - psychology."

Grace Stone has a son in kindergarten at the World Language Academy and started taking Spanish classes there this fall.

"I would like to be fluent in at least Spanish. And I would like to know at least enough Chinese to help with my students' homework," she said. "I think it's wonderful. I think it's not going to work as well if we all don't get involved.

Stone said she's looking forward to taking Chinese classes the academy may offer to parents this fall.




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