Ring School’s New After School Amigos Program Encourages Parent Participation

Ring Elementary School students, Angel Diaz, Ezequiel Hernandez Perez, Jeriel Cortigo Bones and Nahed Medina Reyes work with ENL teacher, Durrin See, on a word game in the After School Amigos program.

“You have a picture of a car- what letter does car begin with boys & girls?” asked English as New Language (ENL) teacher Durrin See pointing to the circle of words on the floor.

“C!” said the Ring Elementary School students.

“What does a ‘c’ sound like in car and can you place the picture on the word?”

Mrs. See played a word game as part of an enrichment activity in After School Amigos (ASA), a new program through Jamestown Community Learning Council (JCLC) that begin at Ring Elementary School this year. ASA had been at Love School for many years and JCLC decided to replicate the program at Ring due to the growing population of limited or non-English speaking children.

JCLC’s home visitors make the initial contact with families through home visits/ They explain the program, encourage participation and work with Mrs. See plan and facilitate monthly Family Nights. On-going outreach and home visits to families is also part of the program. Debbie Yahn is JCLC’s ASA program advisor. She and Michelle Nickerson are home visitors who work with families. JCLC also provide translation services with bilingual visitor Marlyn Warden.

ASA is a unique learning program planned for English Language Learners (ELL) and their families. The program emphasizes developing English language and literacy skills. ASA provides learning experiences for children that are fun-filled and developmentally appropriate. Parents and children have opportunities to learn together by sharing activities. There is no cost for attending ASA. The goal of ASA is to actively engage parents with limited English speaking abilities in the education of their children while also providing additional academic support to their children in the twice weekly after school component.

“I create and implement curriculum that supports NYS standards with the focus on language development skills for ELLs,” said Mrs. See. “We have all grade levels with varying proficiency levels. I use differentiated instruction geared towards all components of language learning.”

After school enrichment for students includes: home work help, educational games, music time and art projects that improve literacy and fluency in English as well as increasing confidence and self-esteem. Monthly family nights are held where parents are invited to partake in a family meal and intergenerational learning activities with their children.

“Family engagement is crucial to a child’s success in school which can be much more challenging when there is a language barrier,” said JCLC Executive Director Rosary Kovalis. “ASA is designed to break down that barrier by making parents feel welcome as partners in education and helping them understand how they can support their child’s learning at home.”