TRENTON, NJ — Nearly half of the 125 cleaners that are members of the Cherry Hill Supportive Staff Association speak Spanish as their first language, according to the New Jersey Education Association.
At a recent district in-service training day, it was noted that membership was divided and separated in to two groups, with one group receiving information in English and the other given the exact same information with the help of a translator, the article stated.
"From this, an idea was born," said NJEA UniServ Field Representative Nancy Holmes.
"What if the school board, the Cherry Hill Supportive Staff Association and the Cherry Hill Education Association helped these staff members to speak English more fluently? What if we all worked together to help them navigate their way through their lives at work and as NJEA members," Holmes added.
According to the article, with the help of both the board and local associations, an English as a Second Language (ESL) program was born.
Ten sessions were planned with 90 minutes of each session devoted to English-language instruction, while 30 minutes were set aside for district and association information, the article noted.
"This program is important because it teaches us how to talk to people and how to do a better job. We are communicating much better," said Bienvenido Tavarez, a cleaner in the district.
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