District offers parents help to aid children

Classes in English for adults allow them to tutor youngsters

Parents unable to help their children with homework because of poor English skills have a solution in Moorpark Unified School District’s 3-year-old Community Based English Tutoring program.

The state-funded CBET program allows local school districts to provide free or subsidized programs of adult English language instruction to parents or other community members who pledge to provide English tutoring to school-age English learners.

School board member David Pollock said the district’s CBET program arose after the state’s passage of Proposition 227 in June 1998.

“It allows us to conduct classes for adults learning English so they can use those skills to help children learning English,” Pollock said. “This will be very helpful in our efforts to transition students into English proficiency and mainstream classrooms.”

The district’s efforts, as Pollock explained, includes its assistance for English language learners policy adopted at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The policy outlines the board’s philosophy on bilingual education and the best way to implement it in the classroom.

The policy identifies three program alternatives for English language learners — structured English immersion, a bilingual program and a mainstream program. The goal is to guide English language learners to academic proficiency in the language and to make sure those students don’t fall behind academically in the process.

Funding for the CBET program is determined using a formula of the total number of English learners enrolled in the district who participate in CBET. For the 2000-01 school year, the formula was based on a statewide allocation of $50 million and a total enrollment of 1,422,907 English learners in participating CBET districts. This calculates to a per-pupil allocation of $35.

School districts can use the money for direct program services, community notification processes, transportation services, and background checks required of tutors who volunteer in public school settings.

Alison Drain, the district’s coordinator of special projects, said officials used excess funds given to them by the state to outfit one of the district’s relocatable buildings with 30 computers.

“We’re able to teach computer literacy skills as well as word processing, e-mail and Internet,” Drain said. “We also have ESLsoftware that parents can use to help them with their English skills.”

Sixty-five people are enrolled in the district’s CBETprogram, attending morning or evening classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For more information about CBETor the board’s recently adopted assistance policy, contact the district at 378-6305.

— Staci Haight’s e-mail addressis [email protected]

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