News

English Tutoring Project Announces New Board Members

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in News |

Entering 20th Year of Operations The English Tutoring Project (ETP) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing on-site assistance to children from refugee and immigrant families to acquire English language skills in an environment where all children experience respect for themselves and their culture – is entering their 20th academic year with several new Board members. Sr. Clare Bass, Dr. Cathy Johns, Dr. Barb Teng and Iggy Yuan have been appointed to a three-year term beginning in September. “Not only does ETP benefit our immigrant children, but the other students in our school are richer for the experience.” – Michel Wendell, MA Ed, Principal, St, Stephen Protomartyr School Sr. Clare Bass is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and is pursuing a Master in Social Work. Sr. Clare is passionate about providing all youth what they need to succeed and language acquisition for our ETP students is a major component of being able to succeed in school and life. Dr. Cathy Johns serves as the Director of Curriculum for the Catholic Education Office. Dr. Johns will serve as the liaison between the Catholic Education Office and the schools in need of ETP services. Dr. Johns’ knowledge of instructional needs will be beneficial as ETP seeks to expand into new schools. Dr. Barbara Teng is the Vice President at C Rallo Contracting. Dr. Teng has a passion for Catholic education and will serve on the Advancement Committee to help remove financial barriers so that immigrant and refugee families who seek to send their children to Catholic schools are able to do so. Dr. Teng is excited about the opportunity to include her middle and high school daughters in service to the ministry. Iggy Yuan is the child of refugees from the Chinese Revolution and his passion for the ETP mission is tireless. He is a first generation Chinese American, being the only member of his family born in America. Iggy is the Associate General Counsel for First Bank and serves on the Boards of the Asian Bar Association the Alumni Board of St. Louis Priory School and is active with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Iggy with focus his role with ETP on mission advancement with a special focus on sustainability. “We are grateful for and welcome each of these new Board members as they embrace our mission to serve immigrant and refugee children in our schools and community -Sister Kathleen Koenen, SSND, Administrator, English Tutoring Project Founded in 1998, ETP is an initiative of the St. Louis Area Women Religious Collaborative Ministries comprised of sisters from 17 different congregations who remain active today within our mission and activities. Since our founding, over 1,500 students from 33 countries of origin have been assisted by our...

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Teaching Immigrants Requires More than Tutors

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in News |

Teaching Immigrants Requires More than Tutors: Stories of Justice   Sister Barbara Dreher and Associate Kay Barnes Lend Expertise to English Tutoring Project   by Sister Mary Flick, justice coordinator from Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet – St. Louis Province March 3, 2017   While immigration has captured the nation’s attention in recent months, the Sisters of St. Joseph have been reaching out to the newest of neighbors throughout their history. For some, that “reach” happens close to home through work on the board of the English Tutoring Project (ETP) in St. Louis. ETP has been providing on-site English language tutoring to children from immigrant and refugee families since 1998, with the coordinated efforts of 17 congregations of women religious in the area. Sister Barbara Dreher has served on its board of directors since 2008, and Associate Kay Barnes has been lending her expertise as a development professional since 2014. Together, they have made visible the CSJs’ love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction. Expanding Hope, Making a ‘Little Difference’ Sister Barbara Dreher was executive director of advancement for the St. Louis province when she was invited to serve on the ETP board in 2008. Since then, she has been its chair and vice-chair. More than warming a seat, she brings her keen eye in seeing opportunities to invite donors to join the work, and her large heart for teaching children. Sister Barbara has years of experience as a fundraiser for Fontbonne University, and as provincial of the St. Louis province. She currently serves on the congregational leadership team. But she considers her early years as a CSJ teaching first grade, to be one of her best experiences of ministry. “They [the students] look you straight in the eye and beg you to teach them how to be who they are,” she says. The chance to help children succeed in school and beyond was motivation for her to become involved in the English Tutoring Project. The program began with “retired” sisters teaching in a donated RV that was driven between participating schools. Today, the English language tutoring program works with immigrant and refugee students on-site at seven Catholic grade schools in St. Louis city, county, and St. Charles county. Twenty women religious and one laywoman “retired” from classroom teaching serve as tutors. In the 2015-16 school year, their classrooms included 156 students from 20 countries who spoke 22 native languages. The program, Sister Barbara says, “encourages and supports children of immigrant and refugee families to become a part of their community. And the students go home and speak English, helping their parents to learn. “When I step back and look at who we are as CSJs – how we turn beyond ourselves to serve a world in need, that we are to do all that woman is capable of, that we are serving the dear neighbor – the English Tutoring Project is an opportunity once again to be of service, and expands my hope of making...

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St. Louis women religious team up to teach children

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in News |

St. Louis women religious team up to teach children

St. Louis women religious team up to teach children by Caitlin Kerfin in Global Sisters Report June 8, 2017 St. Joseph Sr. Sarah Heger, principal of Marian Middle School in St. Louis, walks the school’s halls with familiarity, greeting girls as she passes, occasionally popping in to check out the creative work they’re doing during the final hour of the school day. The Catholic all-girls school was formed through a collaborative endeavor among St. Louis’ women religious, and the founders’ work is reflected in the encouraging drawings and messages that students have painted on the walls. Teamwork among 17 congregations of women religious in the St. Louis area became an official nonprofit, the St. Louis Area Women Religious Collaborative Ministries, in 1998. The collaborative was formed out of an initiative from Region 10 of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a national group of sister leaders. The women wanted to see what needs they could tackle together, said Sr. Kathleen Koenen, a School Sister of Notre Dame. The first need identified was education for immigrant or refugee children, which led to the creation of the collaborative’s English Tutoring Project. The program, which started in 1998, helps children from refugee and immigrant families learn English on-site at their school. “No one congregation felt at that time they could keep starting new ministries to fulfill new needs because many of the religious communities that were in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious were getting smaller in this area or had many ministries they were already involved in,” said Koenen, director of the English Tutoring Project. “But if they could collaborate with each other, they might be able to meet a need.” READ ENTIRE...

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The way it’s supposed to be

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in News |

From Global Sisters Report, May 4, 2017 The way it’s supposed to be by Carleen Reck I grew up in a home where Dad was an organizer, so we grew up expecting everything to be in order. Dad’s workbench had a chalked outline for each tool, arranged from the smallest hammer or screwdriver to the largest. Before we could read, we would line up our Tinker Toy rods by size, shortest to longest. Our building blocks likewise were automatically sorted into small, medium and large. Is it any wonder that — when I went to Kindergarten — I insisted that in the alphabet, the smaller letter “n” would need to come before the letter “m” which was clearly larger. Everyone in my Kindergarten class who could say the alphabet properly was promoted to the first grade. Alas, I remained in Kindergarten because I was unable to reverse my home culture and refused to admit that somehow “m” should come before “n.” Eventually, I suppose I accepted the illogical arrangement, figuring that “they” just didn’t understand. All of us can recall ways that we learned how things were “supposed to be.” We are all formed by the culture around us as we shape our ideas and expressions. Today, many children have been uprooted from their early settings where they could develop naturally and comfortably. They have been relocated to a new world, one where people speak with sounds they have never heard and arrange their sentence-words backwards. Learning — rather relearning — will be achieved at a cost. As we search for ways to help immigrants, we need to make the learning process a bit easier for immigrant children. The English Tutoring Project (ETP), begun in collaboration by several women religious’ communities in the St. Louis area, is an example of a learning program that addresses the differences of immigrant children. Although “pullout programs” in general have been denigrated in many educational settings, the ETP program designers recognized that children who grew up in totally different cultural and language settings would feel freer to try a new language when removed from a classroom of children whose first language was English. These newcomers are able to enjoy mastering new sounds when they are with others who are also discovering that their tongues can make new sounds. They are free to celebrate when they can “arrange their words backwards” with some level of comfort. A special learning area can also be a place where teachers and students can post items that would be either meaningless or laughable in a classroom of native speakers. The English Tutoring Project, for example, can post in its special classroom a sheet where children can record each new plant they recognize and another sheet where they can name each new animal whose name they learn. In that setting, no one laughs at the simple milestones, but all can laugh together at the new world they are claiming. A simple adaptation helps them to expand their knowledge beyond...

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Windshield Poetry Brings Smiles

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in News |

Windshield Poetry Brings Smiles

by Adrian, Alondra and Jason English Tutoring Project students are writing creative windshield poetry. The poetry is about topics such as spring, valentines and love, Christmas, and wishing people a good day. The poetry is for the citizens outside of St. Stephen Protomartyr School. Students write poetry during ETP class as they learn English at the same time. When the weather is sunny, they deliver poems and put them on parked cars. They slide them under windshield wipers. Students in ETP want to make people’s day shine by sharing amazing windshield poetry. 🙂 People who have received a poem said that “it made their day!!” One lady sent a thank you card from Tennessee. She found a valentine poem on her windshield after her father-in-law’s funeral and it made her smile joyfully. The tutor of the ETP students heard of windshield poetry from a news story on television. She thought it would be a great way to “make a difference” and learn English, too!...

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Diversity Day

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in News |

Diversity Day

Diversity Day was celebrated at St. Frances Cabrini Academy during Catholic Schools Week. Students in the school could wear any article of clothing that might have been worn in the country of their heritage. It was a day to celebrate who they are and all of their...

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