By Nancy Gutierrez
By day Lincoln Elementary School is filled with 5 to 7 year olds learning the basics of English and math. But by night the school is occupied by adults wanting to learn some of the same principles.
The Community Based English Tutoring (CBET) program is a six month literacy program for Spanish speaking parents and community members to learn English and literacy skills with the purpose of helping students throughout the district. Classes for the program are held at Lincoln and taught by an Exeter teacher, Brett Harvey and a teacher from Visalia, Pamela Lopez.
"This is a community program that really gets parents involved in school," said Lincoln Vice Principal, Robert Gonzalez.
At the April 27 Exeter Union School District meeting the school board approved the district's application to fund another year of the CBET program. If the district receives funding they will receive money from the state to provide free adult English language instruction for parents and other community members. These participants pledge to provide personal English language tutoring to school age children who are English learners.
The classes begin in November and last until April 1. Gonzalez said the curriculum used targets adult English learners and includes functional language skills as well as skills to help their children with homework.
"They learn some practical stuff," Gonzalez said. "There's courses on reading classified ads and information on housing as well as shopping needs."
This is in addition to learning literacy skills. In order to participate in the program the participants pledge to tutor an English learner whether it be their child or someone else's. During the course of the program the participant must complete a tutor chart which records the amount of time spent tutoring a child each week. The chart provided a list of educational activities that can be done with the children. Some of the activities included listening to a child read, reading to a child, visiting a library, meeting with a child's teacher and even working on a computer with a child.
"Many of these parents spent 20-30 hours a week doing these literacy activities in English," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said parents also worked on computer skills that their children would be learning in school.
Parents met twice a week for two hours. They received materials to aid in their acquisition of better English language skills like composition books and books to read with children.
Child care was available during class time, manned with district school aides who worked with the children on homework and reading skills. The children are not just housed during the program but involved in educational activities.
Though CBET has concluded for the year it should be available next year for interested community members. Information about class time will be available after the start of the next school year.
In addition to the CBET program the district and Lincoln Elementary are providing the Family Stories program, a family reading program for parents of children in kindergarten through second grade. In this program Spanish speaking parents are taught how to read short English stories to their children. For more information on the Family Stories program contact Lydia Ortiz at 592-2141.