We offer 10 different English classes for adult English language learners. Classes are available mornings (9:30-11:30) and evenings (6 to 8 pm). We have three levels of classes and offer two topic-based classes, where the activities and exercises for learning English are about the topic.
In “English for Helping Your Child in School,” students learn the basics about schooling in the United States: who are the different decisions makers and what are the ways in which they can be active in their children’s education through the school system. For example, they might practice setting up and meeting with the teachers of their children, asking questions, or go to meet the school guidance counselors.
“English for Helping Our Communities” is offered in partnership with the Somerville Community Corporation. Students in this class discuss various issues in the Somerville community and about efforts to improve them. They usually take one field trip per month, participating in activities in the community that they decide are important to them.
We know that many of our students are under high levels of stress, which makes it difficult to learn. Our teachers integrate stress management into the basic structure of their classes, and we also offer a gentle yoga class for free to our students once a week at the Mystic Activity Center. During fall 2012, anyone can attend our yoga classes. They are on Mondays from 11:30 am to 1 pm. No registration is needed.
How to Register
New students start taking classes in September and January, after coming to an information session about the classes and taking an assessment to determine their level. All students must register before coming to class. Our registration line is 617-500-7436, and we are able to take calls in Spanish and Portuguese. We keep an active waiting list to fill spots of students who leave classes.
Priority is given to students who live or work in Somerville, though we also welcome students live in surrounding cities, space permitting.
There is a $50 registration fee, with scholarships available. Books cost $25
How to Help
The majority of our classes are taught by volunteers, frequently working in pairs or teams of people with various levels of experience teaching. If you are interested in teaching, please read more details
Here are some other ways you can support our ESOL program as a volunteer:
- Provide childcare
- Provide administrative support, calling students who have missed classes and helping out with rosters of attendance
- Fundraise: host a house party or help with grant writing
- Tutor a student
If you’re interested in helping in these or any other ways, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
News and Notes
Expanded Adult ESOL Program Helps Students Connect, October 21, 2010
5 English Classes at Welcome Project this Fall, October 28, 2009
Welcome Project Graduation Celebration, June 7, 2009
International Parents Group
Parental support plays an important role in the success of young people. Yet, for many parents not born in this country, the educational system can be unfamiliar and frustrating to navigate. The Welcome Project offers support to immigrant parents, both in undertanding the school system in Somerville and in accessing information for higher education.
In the summer of 2010, we partnered with Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development to hear from immigrant parents about their views and concerns about supporting their children in the Somerville public schools. The focus was on Mystic Public Housing Development parents whose children attend the adjacent Healey School (K-8). We conducted 3 focus groups, interviewed several more, and completed surveys with 15 additional parents. Bilingual high school students in the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS) were trained as co-investigators and served as cultural brokers and assisted with interpretation at meetings, during interviews. They also conducted surveys. More information about the LIPS youth and the summer project is found here.
In the fall of 2010, parents formed their own International Parents Group and began holding regular meetings with the Healey School Principal and Ward 4 School Committee member (Christine Rafal). The parents identified several priorities for inclusion in plans for the school, including better language interpretation and translation and improved cultural understanding and literacy by school administrators, teachers, and students. These remain their priorities in 2012.