PODER’s Integrated English (IE) and Workforce Development (WFD) training programs went virtual in a matter of only five days. Instructors, under the guidance and leadership of our Program Manager Christina Corral, have served over 293 students virtually with a retention rate of over 80% during the pandemic. For Iveth Sambonino, English acquisition is a critical step that allows students to “feel free and more human in this country and we know our mission is too important to be put on hold.” The pandemic has forced PODER to pivot, but our entire team remains committed to a holistic and student-centered approach to learning.
Integrated English (IE) instruction is now integrally tied to digital literacy skills as students navigate Zoom and Google Classrooms with the help of PODER staff and teachers. Although this shift has come with inevitable challenges and growing pains, the PODER team sees digital learning as a new opportunity to attract and retain a wider base of students. There are many students who in the past may have been deterred from enrollment because the time or money required to travel.
But what about the students who are unable to commit to a virtual classroom experience? Sarah Prado, a PODER IE instructor, has launched a YouTube channel and is posting weekly lessons for students to access and study when convenient. The PODER team continues to search for new ways to engage English-learners in the Chicago community and beyond!
Integrated English instructors handing out tablets and books to adult learners.