Parents can take English if they help children

CONEJO VALLEY: Classes should keep adults from being frustrated by their kids' homework

Conejo Valley parents may soon be able to brush up on English at their child’s school — as long as they promise to use their new-found skills to help students learn.

Tuesday, the Conejo Valley Unified School District board will discuss a plan that would give bilingual parents classes in English, in exchange for their commitment to tutor children. For most parents, the classes would be free.

The board will vote on the plan March 9.

Pam Chasse, principal at Glenwood, where many parents speak little English, thinks it is a great idea.

“A lot of our parents get frustrated with the homework assignments that come home because they’re not sure how to help their kids,” Chasse said. “If I can offer them the opportunity to learn English, they can learn to help their kids.”

Conejo Valley schools have 1,468 students who have limited skill in English.

The proposal stems from Proposition 227, which curbed bilingual instruction in California schools. The proposition stipulates that schools receive money to help parents tutor children in English.

Statewide, schools will receive $50 million this year. Conejo Valley schools will get $55,684. Funding, which is based on the number of students in the district who have limited skill in English, will continue for the next eight years.

Conejo Valley’s program will begin at four elementary schools — Conejo, Glenwood, Manzanita and Park Oaks — probably in late April. It will be open to parents throughout the district.

“We hope to build their confidence level, so they realize their potential not only with language, but in working with their children,” said Debbie Hamer, coordinator of bilingual programs for the adult school. “We also want to remove some of their anxiety in relating to the school environment.”

The board will meet at 7 p.m. in the district board room, 1400 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.

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