Spring ESL Forum


WAEF hosted its sixth semi-annual English As A Second Language (ESL) Providers Forum last month at Central Washington University. We were pleased to have over 20 individuals present representing programs operating in Toppenish, Walla Walla, Yakima, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Chelan and Manson.

 The purpose of the ESL Providers Forums is to build stronger adult learning programs in central Washington serving farmworker communities. This is a venue for providers to learn from each other, share ideas and provide support to others undertaking similar work.

 The spring forum provided time for networking and idea sharing with conversation focused on three primary topics: marketing & outreach, measurable goals and student assessment methods. In each instance, forum participant involvement helped to inform the discussion.

 WAEF volunteer Steve Clive of Washington Trust Bank led the session on measurable goals. He utilized ESL models from across the country to identify primary areas for impact including program intensity, levels of service, recruitment, orientation processes, student performance and instructor performance.

 Jennifer Witherbee, WAEF executive director, facilitated discussion on marketing and outreach. Social media, posters, flyers, radio, newspaper, business reader boards, community events and other methods were discussed as ways of reaching both students and volunteers. Participants provided examples of their outreach activities and shared successes and lessons learned through use of various media.

 Kelsey Martinson, WAEF student services coordinator, called upon her background as a teacher to discuss the multiple types of assessment methods. These included diagnostic, formative, summative and student self-assessment as forms of assessments to pre-assess, provide ongoing feedback and communicate effectiveness of teaching models. Some of each of these were being utilized by providers present and they added depth and insight to the conversation.

 The ESL Providers Forums are open to all providers in central Washington. Those present represented some of the organizations receiving grant funding from WAEF.

The 2018 grant application deadline is June 1st. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to organizations providing ESL and citizenship preparation in central Washington with a high percentage of participants employed in the tree fruit industry.

 The next forum will occur in September.  Please contact us at events@waef.org to be added to the invite list.  Details will be available this summer.

 To learn more about the grants, review our guidelines.

  To apply, complete the grant application and return to the posted address by June 1st.

More information is available on the WAEF website, www.waef.org/grants.