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English Language Learners welcome center moving to City Hall

NORWALK, Conn. – New families coming into Norwalk’s English Language Learner Program (ELL) may find their entry easier and more welcoming if Superintendent of Schools Manny Rivera’s plans are implemented.

Rivera has let the BOE know that he wants to move the ELL Welcome Center from the basement of the Tracey School to the third floor of the BOE offices at City Hall.

“Each year, the Center welcomes new ELL families into the district,” Rivera wrote in a report to the BOE, “provides bilingual assistance to explain enrollment process and complete forms (registration, health, etc.), assesses ELLs for services, interviews parents regarding background and prior schooling experiences of their child, and collects and maintains ELL data.

“Unfortunately, the current location is not the most convenient location or the ‘most welcoming environment’ (basement room and cramped space) for parents and children.”

River said most families arrive at City Hall before being sent to the Tracey School at 20 Camp St., about a mile away. Then they are sent to their home school and, often, end up back the Central Office in City Hall for assistance with forms and other thing.

“As you know,” he wrote, “many of these families lack transportation and in some cases, the language skills necessary to navigate the system.”

Rivera said there is sufficient space on the third floor at 125 East Ave. and wants to relocate the center as soon as possible.

Rivera listed what he said were the advantages to the move:

  • Less “runaround” for our new parents from different countries
  • Greater access to bilingual assistance with the following information/services, all located at Central Office:

· school placement

· free/reduced lunch forms

· registration/health forms

· school bus information

· ESL classes for adults

· special education service information

  • Interpreters (Spanish and Haitian Creole) to assist Central Office employees when working with families and community members.
  • Bilingual Parent Coordinator (Annette Esposito) can conduct parent interviews (part of the screening process) at Central Office instead of traveling to Tracey several times per week.
  • ELL Education Department will be located in one place (to facilitate supervision of employees, accessing data, etc.)

 

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