Posts made in July, 2018

Women religious fill unmet need in Catholic schools: English Tutoring Project helps immigrant, refugee children

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in News |

Women religious fill unmet need in Catholic schools: English Tutoring Project helps immigrant, refugee children

Article from St. Louis Review June 11-17, 2018 by Joseph Kenny First-grader Helen Kim held a card and prepared for her turn in the game of modified Go Fish she was playing with fellow students. She asked if the other had a card with a word that was the antonym of “wide.” Seeing no response, Sister Joan Stoverink, ASC, defined the word “wide” so one of the students at the table could find the opposite. She extended her arms and said that wide “is a tough one; it means ‘spread out.’” Just then, a student sprung to his feet and shouted out the antonym, “narrow.” Four students at St. Stephen Protomartyr School in south St. Louis came together to play the game as part of their participation in the English Tutoring Project, which is completing its 20th year of helping immigrant and refugee students in Catholic schools acquire English language skills. It’s an initiative of the St. Louis Area Women Religious Collaborative Ministries. Helen said that the tutoring helps her with one of her favorite activities, writing. She displayed a story she wrote earlier this school year, “Making a Snowman Friend.” Joseph Thang, a third-grader at St. Stephen who came to America as a refugee at age 1, took part in the program as a kindergartner and first-grader and now is a graduate, having mastered English skills. “I liked game day,” he said with a smile, adding that the program was especially important in helping him understand instructions that were given in his classroom. St. Stephen parishioner Hou Khan Nuam has a kindergartner, David, and first-grader, Michael, in the program. “I appreciate this project,” she said. “They gain confidence, get extra practice and gain the same understanding of English as other students in the class. They also learn about and appreciate a new culture.” Her children learn proper pronunciation, one of the biggest adjustments to make in learning the language, she said. She and her husband speak Zomi, a language originating in northwestern Burma (now Myanmar). The older of her two children in the program was shy at school, but with the confidence he gained from the tutor, he now raises his hand in class and asks questions. Pau Mung, Helen’s father and a member of St. Pius V Parish in south St. Louis, said the family speaks Burmese at home. His daughter now speaks a lot of English and corrects his broken English, he said with a laugh, giving the example of his mispronunciation of the word “apple.” The program allows St. Stephen School to add diversity by serving immigrants and refugees. “We learn about other cultures, their history and that we can all get along in a rich, inclusive environment that makes us better,” said Michel Wendell, principal of St. Stephen. “And it’s great to have a religious sister teaching in our building.” The women religious who founded the program 20 years ago looked for an unmet educational need and focused on students in Catholic schools who...

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Sr. Kathleen Koenen on The Marc Cox Morning Show

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in News |

Sr. Kathleen Koenen recently talked about The English Tutoring Project with Tim Jones on The Marc Cox Morning Show FM News 97.1. CLICK HERE  

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