Literacy Program for Immigrant Families Opens Site in Buechel

by Devin Katayama on February 8, 2012

A fourth site has been opened in Jefferson County for a program that helps immigrant families with literacy and education.

Through the National Center for Family Literacy, Jefferson County Public Schools offers classes through NCFL’s Toyota Family Literacy Program, which servers parents and students at Klondike, Rangeland and Slaughter elementary schools. Now Buechel United Methodist Church is hosting a program aimed at immigrant families from Mexico.

Recent census shows a need for the family literacy program, said Sharon Darling (pictured), president of the NCFL located in Louisville since 1989.

“From 2000 to 2010, two-thirds of the population growth in Jefferson County is from immigrant families. So that is our future,” said Darling.

The program offers parents a chance to learn alongside their JCPS student, targeting K-3 students. Classes are offered to parents both during the day and at night and data shows the program works, said JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens.

“Children of the participants in the program improved in all eight key areas, including academic progress, motivation to learn, classroom involvement and classroom behavior,” she said.

But the partnership between NCFL and Jefferson County Public Schools has struggled to meet the demand. So far this year, the program has served 83 families, with around 45 families on the waiting list.

NCFL has offered programs in Jefferson County that previously served over 100 families a year, but money is running out. The current program is paid for through JCPS funds and a three-year-old $600,000 grant, which isn’t likely to be available next year, but the district will continue to rely on state and local funds to sustain the service, said JCPS officials.

The program has served 83 families this year and has nearly 40 families on the waiting list; but participation in NCFL programs has decreased as funding has been cut.

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