Mentoring Program for ESL Students

Mentoring Program Enhances Learning for ESL Students
Posted on 01/19/2021
Mentoring Program for ESL StudentsStudent with headphones working on laptop at desk.Latinos in Action (LIA) is a class/program in which bilingual Latino students provide more than 2,200 hours of instructional assistance to elementary and middle school English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

High school students enrolled in LIA serve as mentors for younger students, while gaining work experience that will eventually help them become paraeducators. 

The LIA group at Wellington Community High School recently collaborated with New Horizons Elementary School. Solymar Figueroa is a third grade Dual Language teacher and Team Leader at New Horizons, and together with Christian Carrera, the LIA Coordinator at Wellington High, they work to coordinate the mentoring sessions.   

The partnership between the two schools began in September 2020 as a pilot program for 23 New Horizons students, with plans to extend the program to other grade levels for the 2021-2022 school year.

"My third graders are developing social skills and learning from positive role models,” Figueroa said. “They are motivated to continue their academic journey and be like their mentors. As a Hispanic teacher, I'm grateful to provide this opportunity."

Carrera works with the high school students to prepare learning activities. The students connect via Google Meet during 30-minute sessions held once per week.

“From the elementary perspective, I can see that the students are very motivated to work with high school students in any subject,” Carrera said. “This partnership has given my students the opportunity to work on their communication and leadership skills, and their self-esteem has grown tremendously. They have already formed a bond that will last for a long time.”

After each session, the Wellington High students write notes and reflect on what went well, what they need help with, or what they can do to improve for their next tutoring session. This important ritual allows them to monitor their own progress, as well as the gains being made by the students they’re tutoring. 

“They put a lot of work into preparing for their tutoring sessions, and they can see how their tutees are progressing,” Carrera said. “They also look forward to working each day with New Horizons Elementary. My students are thrilled to be giving back to our community."

The School District of Palm Beach County