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School Program for Parents Weak in English to End Aug. 1

July 21, 1988|ESTHER SCHRADER | Times Staff Writer

A pilot program providing English instruction to parents of children in Glendale schools will end Aug. 1, when federal funds for the three-year program run out, school district officials said.

The district's Parent Welcome classes, for parents of students with limited English language skills, is one of 15 nationwide paid for by the U.S. Department of Education. A district request to renew that grant was denied last week.

The classes served about 1,500 people over the three years. Most were Hispanic, Korean and Armenian parents of the district's burgeoning population of minority youth, officials said.

"I'm disappointed for the parents because it really has served their needs the way they wanted and when they wanted it," said program director Joan Davis. "The beautiful thing that we were able to do was to be right on the school site, able to be there to welcome the parents, be right there for them . . . That's going to be a loss for them, I think. It's a loss for the schools, too."

Parents were taught English as a Second Language, and courses in nutrition, parenting, earthquake preparation, dealing with drug abuse and understanding the school system.

The classes followed guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education, which hoped the pilot projects would serve as models for other districts with large minority populations.

Glendale school officials said they cannot continue the classes without federal funds. The district received $280,000 over three years for the program. District officials said they will apply for a grant again next year.

After Aug. 1, the district will continue only with orientation meetings for parents of immigrant children.

"The schools have really gotten the idea of how to relate to these parents at this point," Davis said. "We certainly have created a model of communication that's not going to die."

When the program ends, Glendale Community College will be the only institution in Glendale offering English as a Second Language instruction to the city's growing immigrant population.

About 1,500 people are on the waiting list for 2,200 spaces in the non-credit classes at the college, said Saeed Ali, chairman of the college's ESL division. In addition, 1,200 people are enrolled in for-credit courses at the college.

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