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Lynn Teachers Union and Lynn Public Schools Collaborate to Provide ESL Classes for Parents

The Lynn Teachers Union and the Lynn Public Schools this week began offering an English as a Second Language (ESL) class for Lynn parents.

Twenty-five parents with students from four Lynn elementary schools, Breed Middle School, Lynn Classical High School, and Lynn English High School attended the first class at the Lynn Teachers Union offices on Tuesday morning.

“It was amazing how many parents wanted this — after we announced the class, we got more than 75 calls, and ended up with 25 people on the waitlist,” said Sheila O'Neil, President of the Lynn Teachers Union. “The enthusiasm was infectious. The parents were so excited about learning, and participants were encouraging each other to speak up and practice their English.”

The class is a collaboration between the Lynn Public Schools (LPS) and the Lynn Teachers Union (LTU), with the LPS Curriculum department purchasing the ‘Side by Side’ curriculum for 25 students, and two retired Lynn Teachers Union members, Patricia Burke and Francesca Reyes, teaching the classes.

“Parent and community engagement is so important to our students’ success, and ESL classes are a great resource the educators of Lynn are providing for their community, “ said Beth Kontos, President of AFT Massachusetts. “This class is a great example of how our local unions work with their schools and the community to support our students and their families in all aspects of their lives.”

The classes, which will run throughout the entire school year, are targeted at parents with students at schools located near the union offices, so that parents without a car can attend. Classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday, first thing in the morning while kids are in school. The focus of the curriculum is on teaching conversational English, especially for communicating with schools, doctor’s offices, government and nonprofit agencies, and other official institutions.

“As a teacher, I’ve always worked in schools where many students speak English as a second language,” said O'Neil. “ We’re excited about collaborating with the Lynn Public Schools to offer this class and engage parents in the community!”

“I see the ESL course for parents as reflecting yet another meaningful and impactful partnership to meet the needs of the community we serve,” said School Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler. “While our parents are the direct beneficiaries of this service, we are excited about the research-supported outcomes of this work for students as well.  In all, this is a win-win and I’m thrilled that it has taken off with such gusto.”

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