A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Ambassadors turn up the heat

Calling all multilingual students interested in helping and mentoring! The Parkdale ESOL Ambassador program could be just what you’re looking for. 

Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the ESOL Ambassador program gives bilingual students the opportunity to help others who may not speak English get acclimated to Parkdale life and academics. 

‘‘This program is a mentoring program that’s meant for newly arriving immigrant students who have very low English skills to [be] paired up with an older student with stronger English skills who are also fluent in their native language,’’ said ESOL Advanced English teacher Mrs. Fletcher. 

The program is on their second year and it’s hoping to expand. In attempts to reach more students, Mrs. Fletcher held a meeting on September 10 right after school.  Newly interested and returning ambassadors learned that former ESOL math teacher, Ms. Chen who once advised the program, did not return to Parkdale and that Mrs. Fletcher would be taking over as adviser.

Although leadership of the program has shifted, the goals have remained the same.  The ambassadors serve as not only friendly faces to look to for help and advice on school for newcomers or students with limited-English-proficiency, but they also motivate, too. 

ESOL teachers have noticed a pattern of constant absences in their classes, mainly because many English Language Learners didn’t attend school because they felt lost and felt they didn’t have anyone to help them understand the schools policy.

“We wanted to give these students some additional support to get them on the right track,” said Mrs. Fletcher. 

Giving students that extra support just motivates them to do better in school. However, the English Language Learners are not the only participants benefitting from this program. By being an ESOL ambassador, students learn leadership skills that can be applied to other fields and subjects.

“I feel excited helping others, I feel like it doesn’t only help them but it also helps me as a person. I feel positive helping others in the long run.” said 12th grade student Celin Panameno   

The program may be targeted towards a certain population of students, but Mrs. Fletcher hopes it has an affect on the school as a whole.

“We hope to build that culture in the school where it’s not all about self but thinking about others and how we can pull someone else up with us,” she explained,

If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Mrs.Fletcher at [email protected]