The school began translating all communications into Spanish and Arabic, but Ms. Harrison knew they could do more to help these families feel welcomed and valued at West Hills E.S. She had seen other schools with English classes for the parents, and she thought that might work here as well. She turned to the KCS Welcome Center, and they pointed her to KIN!
Then she went to her amazing ELL (English Language Learning) teachers, one of whom is an international herself. ELL teachers quickly get to know the families of their students. They thought adult English classes might work, so they surveyed the families to be sure. Twenty people were interested in an evening class!
Working with KIN, the ELL teachers interviewed those interested parents to assess their existing English communication skills. A couple of weeks later, 14 parents attended the first evening class, and the numbers have gone up since then. On one recent evening, they had 24 participants. WHES provides rooms at the school. KIN staff teaches one class, and a volunteer teaches the other. Additional volunteers encourage learners, take care of children, and supply snacks so the parents can study effectively.
These parents’ English skills are improving, but also, they are now familiar with the school building. Perhaps they are also beginning to feel what Ms. Harrison has felt all along: that every family at West Hills E.S. belongs there.
READY TO GET INVOLVED?
Ms. Harrison looked around her and started doing something to improve the lives of internationals in her circle of influence. At KIN, we say, "Start Here." Where is your “here?” You don’t have to be a school principal to start an English class for adults or meet 1-on-1 with an international to work on communication skills. Explore ways to Get Involved on our website today!
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.