Meet Alpha Ibanda, Noemi Nunez and Maribel Flores.
All three migrated to the United States as adults unable to speak, write and read English. The struggle to assimilate felt insurmountable – from understanding a doctor’s instructions and reading a water bill to completing a job application and interviewing. It wasn’t until Alpha, Noemi and Maribel enrolled in the Adult Education and Literacy Academy that they found hope.
Irving ISD, in partnership with the Greater Dallas Workforce Solutions, offers a 15-week class, pairing ESL instruction with industry-related skills – at no cost for people just like Alpha, Noemi and Maribel.
Now that they have graduated from the Academy, their futures look bright. Alpha and Maribel are business owners with high aspirations. Alpha is pursuing college, and Maribel is focusing on growing her business and earning her GED. Noemi recognizes the impact learning English has made in her everyday life.
“I’m now able to communicate with my sons’ teachers and volunteer at their schools. Because of my involvement, I know what’s going on in my children’s education,” she says. “The same is true for the doctor’s office. When I take my sons to see the doctor, I understand what I need to do to make my sons feel better because I can read the medicine bottle labels and understand instructions in English. This class has changed my life.”
Delia Watley, director of Adult Education and Literacy for Irving ISD, is incredibly proud of the program and its impact. “I know that learning English is important and when our students master it, it makes their lives so much better. They can be the parents, employees and citizens they aspire to be,” Watley says. “I have graduates tell me, ‘You changed my life.’ It’s hard not to get goosebumps after hearing that.”
The Adult Education and Literacy Academy is offering another workforce skills class starting in January. To learn more, call 972-600-6130 or visit www.IrvingISD.net/AEL.