ELSS and ELI Team Up to Empower English Learners in Bridgeport and Fairfield

English Learner Support Services (ELSS) and Sacred Heart University’s English Language Institute (ELI) have joined forces to offer English language support to students at Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport and Fairfield Warde High School. The collaboration provides reading and writing assistance to English learners, fostering academic success for youth who have recently immigrated to the U.S., particularly from Central and South America. 

“The focus of the program is to build communication skills in addition to reading and writing support,” said ELSS Executive Director and Founder, Prof. Peter Shaker in a press release. Sessions will be held twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, providing consistent opportunities for students to develop their language proficiency. 

One of the program’s key features is its continuity throughout the academic year. Students who actively participate in their high school’s English support program will have the opportunity to further advance their language skills during Sacred Heart University’s ELI summer program in 2024. This summer program, scheduled from late June to early August, offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to accelerate language learning. 

According to a press release, “By this June, ELSS will have served over 90 students in 18 different groups among several schools, illustrating the impact of the organization’s commitment to student success.” In the same release, Marla McDaniels Heath, ELSS board president and SHU adjunct professor. said “ELSS, from the beginning, has continued to inspire, educate, and support new English learners adjusting to our language and education system.” 

ELSS covers the cost of attendance at Sacred Heart University for participating students. During the summer program, students will engage in language learning alongside international students enrolled in ELI courses. This immersive experience not only enhances language skills but also exposes students to diverse cultural perspectives. 

Maryssa Kozek, the director of ELI at Sacred Heart University, visited both schools to engage with students and discuss the benefits of the summer program. “Improving English skills during the summer and experiencing a college campus environment while in high school can be transformative,” said Shaker in the press release. “It opens doors to future academic and professional opportunities.” 

In collaboration with Shaker, efforts are underway to organize a campus visit for the students on March 21, providing them with a glimpse into college life and inspiring them to pursue higher education with confidence.

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