United Way NCA's Community Schools Solutions

Real Solutions to Overcome Language and Learning Barriers in Education

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Starting your life in a new place can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The transition may come with learning the culture, area, – and even learning a new language. Assimilating into a new lifestyle since immigrating to the United States, Maria has had some challenges getting her autistic son to transition from middle school to high school on time. While he does well in history, he’s experienced the most difficulty in math and science. Maria’s exposure to English was minimal before coming to Montgomery County, which added to the already difficult process of transitioning a child to high school.

Maria’s son attended Loiderman Middle School, a United Way of the National Capital Area community school in Montgomery County. In partnership with Linkages to Learning (LTL) and EveryMind, United Way NCA built out the programmatic work that brings essential support to students in need at the school. United Way NCA supports the Community School Coordinator in efforts to identify critical needs and strategize on solutions that can impact the broader community. One such solution was bringing conversational English classes to the school using the Rosetta Stone Program.

“Our parents that work with us come back because they love the environment here,” shares Laura, the Community School Coordinator at Loiderman, “the program giv[es] them a way to connect with the community as a whole.”

The LTL staff assisted Maria in applying for the Low-Intensity Support Service Program (LISS).  Last year Maria applied for a grant and was awarded $500. This year, Maria was awarded a $2,000 grant that enabled her to provide her son with therapy and in-home tutoring services in reading and math. Without LISS, her son would not be properly prepared for his transition into high school. Maria has also shown a huge improvement in her English through the Rosetta stone program. According to LTL, without the program, Maria would continue to lack the self-confidence to speak English and advocate for her child’s needs. 

To learn more about how United Way NCA is fighting for the health, education and financial stability for every person in our community or to get involved, please visit unitedwaynca.org.

At the request of the subject, names in this story have been supplemented to conceal personal identities.

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