Pre-GED English

January 29, 2019

In December, we rolled out a new class here at the Center for New Americans: Pre-GED English, or as the students call it, Lit 5. This class is for our students with high literacy skills and big educational and career goals. Some of my students, in particular, have plans to go to nursing school, open up a restaurant, or study theater at a liberal arts university. Pre-GED English will help these motivated students achieve their impressive goals.

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The morning Lit 5 class. I told them to look extra smart for this picture.

This class is offered in the morning, afternoon, and evening, and so far, the students have read scholarly, academic articles on the topic of health and obesity, learned and used new vocabulary, and studied grammar and mechanics more intensively. I can tell you that they can spot a conjunctive adverb from a hundred yards, no problem. 🙂 Throughout this class, students will read and write about more important and timely topics such as the environment, checks and balances, civil rights movements, poverty, immigration, and higher ed.

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Teacher Mary’s evening Lit 5 class, still smiling after a full day’s work.

In Pre-GED English, the students are learning the elements of purposeful writing and analytical reading. Organization, prediction, credible research, and thesis statements are just some of the specifics we are focusing on this class. Once a student leaves our classroom, we want them primed and ready for their next educational step, and Pre-GED English is a way to help them succeed.

By Lindy Obach, ESL Teacher, Center for New Americans


Give Back! Get Discounts! Buy the Coupon Book!

December 26, 2018
May June 2018 IPC students with certificates

June 2018 Introduction to Patient Care students receive completion certificates. Coupon Book sales will help fund 2019 classes.

This holiday season, there is a unique way to support LSS! Downtown Gives is a program that promotes the sales of coupon books that can be used at several downtown retailers. The books are $15/each.

 

Proceeds will benefit LSS adult English students at the Center for New Americans by providing them with Skills That Employ People (STEP) Classes. These one-month workforce training classes prepare students with the English language and skills they need to enter and thrive in employment. Common classes include Introduction to Patient Care, Manufacturing Skills and Safety and Commercial Housekeeping.

 

Books will be available for purchase until December 31 and coupons are good until March 31, 2019.

 

The book offers great discounts at stores and restaurants listed below. The only way you can purchase a book is in person by visiting one of the participating businesses:

 

*   Acorn 19/Bead Co. – 319 South Phillips Avenue

*   Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen – 600 North Main Avenue

*   Chelsea’s Boutique – 220 South Phillips Avenue

*   Child’s Play Toys – 233 South Phillips Avenue

*   Coffea Roasterie – 200 South Phillips Avenue

*   Cookie Jar – 230 South Phillips Avenue

*   EmBe – 300 West 11th Street

*   Fernson on 8th – 201 North Weber Avenue, #100

*   Game Chest – 421 North Phillips Avenue, #113

*   Great Outdoor Store – 201 East 10th Street

*   Grille 100 Restaurant (Holiday Inn City Centre) – 100 West 8th Street

*   Half Baked – 120 South Phillips Avenue

*   K Restaurant – 401 East 8th Street, #128

*   M.B. Haskett – 324 South Phillips Avenue

*   Mahlander’s Appliance and Lighting – 8th Street and Minnesota Avenue

*   Nyberg’s Ace (Downtown location) – 200 East 12th Street

*   Palmer Lea – 206 South Phillips Avenue

*   Plum’s Cooking Company – 401 East 8th Street, #107

*   Rehfeld’s Art & Framing – 210 South Phillips Avenue

*   Rug & Relic – 401 East 8th Street, #114

*   Say Anything Jewelry – 225 South Phillips Avenue

*   Sharing the Dream in Guatemala – 421 North Phillips Avenue

*   Shop Dog Boutique – 5015 South Western Avenue

*   Simply Perfect – 401 East 8th Street, #108

*   Sticks and Steel – 401 East 8th Street, #118

*   Young & Richards – 222 South Phillips Avenue

*   Zandbroz Variety – 209 South Phillips Avenue

 

 

Don’t miss out on these great deals and the opportunity to help raise funds for LSS Center for New Americans!

 


The LSS Adult English Language Students Have Spoken – Student Survey Day 2018

October 2, 2018

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by Laura Smith-Hill
Each year the LSS Center for New Americans (CNA) facilitates a “Student Survey Day.” On this day, the program provides interpreters and staff to assist students with completing on-line agency client satisfaction surveys. All fourteen program laptops and all twenty-two tablets are pulled out to assist more than 150 students with completing these surveys throughout one very busy day.
But our program does not stop there! We take this opportunity to inform students about all the classes available to them though the LSS CNA (English speaking classes, English literacy classes, computer classes, workforce training classes, citizenship classes). I, as the Education Program Coordinator, give them a short motivational speech about the journey of acquiring a new language, what they can do to help themselves learn English more quickly and to let them know how we, as their instructors, strive to do our best to help them meet their life goals!
Part of us being our best as English language instructors is taking the time to hear honest feedback from our adult learners. That’s where our student survey discussions come in.
We have students divide up into native language groups with interpreters to discuss their thoughts and feelings about the questions below. Here are the most common responses of our student body.

2018 Student Survey Feedback
1. Why do you want to learn English?
1. To communicate and speak with people.
2. To get a job or a better job.
3. It’s the national language.

2. What do you think of this program?
1. Helpful/Useful
2. Very good teachers
3. Free/not expensive

3. A Great Teacher:
1. Repeats a lot
2. Gives multiple examples
3. Is happy

4. What’s most challenging about learning English?
1. Writing and spelling
2. Speaking and pronunciation
3. Reading

5. How can the teachers help you more?
1. Repeat tasks, words, sentences more to increase student understanding.
2. Offer more hours of class time.
3. More writing, reading, homework and grammar (such as verb tenses).

6. What do you want to learn more about?
1. Speaking and writing
2. Reading
3. Computer
4. Vocabulary and spelling
We take our students’ feedback, suggestions and ideas very seriously. I read each and every groups’ survey notes, share the student body feedback with all our teachers, then we review and debrief the input as an Education Team. We use the students’ feedback to inform our on-going professional and programmatic development.
“Student Survey Day” inspires us as a teaching team. We are reminded of the humility and dedication of our students, and are humbled by their recognition and gratitude for the work we do for them each day. We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve our students through our profession as teachers and to contribute toward the mission of LSS: Inspired by God’s love, we care for, support and strengthen individuals, families and communities.


Mount Rushmore Ceremony Brings Hope to Sioux Falls Refugees

July 20, 2018
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Mount Rushmore, June 14, 2018, a majestic view for a remarkable day

Flag Day, June 14, 2018, was a joyous occasion for many refugees and immigrants from South Dakota. The day itself was beautiful, sunshiny, and a wonderful welcome for the 168 new citizens who participated in the naturalization ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

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New Citizens of the United States take the Oath of Allegiance during their Naturalization Ceremony

Forty-one countries were represented at the ceremony, including American Samoa, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iraq, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

 
Presiding over the ceremony, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Viken, expressed, “What you have done by choosing to become citizens is to enrich and strengthen all of us. And now we are one. Welcome home.”

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Prithi and Ninga Tamang at Naturalization Ceremony

Several students of the Center for New Americans, among them were students Prithi and Ninga Tamang, from Bhutan, their son, and daughter-in-law. After becoming a citizen, Ninga says, “I love America and everything about here! Being American citizen gives us hope of bright future and life long satisfaction. Because once we were refugee and lost hope of better life but now everything seems all right and happier than before. I got opportunity to see different country, people and experience their beautiful culture. My children have excellent life here.”  During the ceremony, their son expressed his appreciation, “I am a refugee, and actually I never had citizenship.  This is my first time.  I’m very proud.  Thank you America!”

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A very happy student Ty Nguon poses in front of Mount Rushmore with his citizenship certificate

LSS Citizenship Instructor John Haraldson commented, “It gives them hope because they feel like they are a part of the country they are living in. They feel like they are safe and more connected to America. For some students, it is their first time ever having citizenship anywhere. It is very special for them.”

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Presentation of the Colors at the 2018 Mount Rushmore Naturalization Ceremony

Also among the new citizens was former LSS instructor, Kristin Kuchenbecker. After the ceremony, she commented that it was a “great day for all 168 of us. All people sworn in today had remarkable stories.” Like many new Americans, she says that her reasons for becoming a United States citizen was multi-fold, but she is definitely looking forward to participating in our democracy instead of only talking about it. Kristin says, “There is no place like [the United States] in terms of diversity and that should be celebrated daily!”

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Magistrate Judge Wollman, Kristin Kuckenbecker, and Chief Judge Viken

 

As we celebrate freedom this month, we are happy to welcome all our new citizens and hope for a great future for them!

Written by Heather Glidewell, LSS ESL and Citizenship Instructor


Hope for the Future (Citizenship Classes)

July 10, 2018
Statue of Liberty

photo courtesy of sharemomentssharelife

On July 4, 1776 marked the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which declared the United States of America a new country free from foreign rule and it marked an important event during the American Revolutionary War. In addition it stated that those who chose to live as citizens in this new country had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As a native born citizen, I have always felt a connection to July 4. Not only was I born in 1976, the bicentennial of our country, I even have a nephew who was born on July 4. However, the biggest connection is that I, like many Americans, believe in the hope that comes with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and I find it a wonderful privilege to teach citizenship classes to students at the Center for New Americans. Four times a week I am greeted with eager, hopeful students who wish to learn and become a citizen.
Luida and her husband are a couple of the students who attended Citizenship classes at CNA. On July 2 Luida passed her Citizenship interview, an essential step in fulfilling the hope to be a citizen of the United States. Luida was so excited that she brought a beautiful Ukrainian Honey Cake as a thank you and in celebration of the Fourth of July, which has taken on even more meaning for her and her family now.

Luida's cake

Another student, Mar, also just recently passed her interview and is excitedly waiting for her ceremony in August. Mar says that she did not learn to read or write English until she came to the United States. She is so very thankful for the intelligent, caring teachers at LSS that have helped her achieve her goals of learning English and becoming a citizen. She says, “LSS teachers are smart, now I am smart. I am so happy! I can’t believe it!”
LSS provides citizenship classes to immigrants and refugees that qualify to apply for citizenship. Currently the Center for New Americans is serving approximately 200 students who diligently come to evening, early morning, or weekend classes.
What does it take to become a U.S. Citizen?
The U.S. naturalization process is an expensive and difficult process. Candidates for naturalization need to undergo and pass an intensive interview in English.
Candidates must then undergo an oral examination on U.S. history and government where they must listen to and correctly answer six out of ten questions that are randomly chosen from 100 possible civics, history, and geography questions.

Would you pass?

The USCIS has an online practice test: https://my.uscis.gov/prep/test/civics
Finally candidates are required to demonstrate their English reading and writing ability. Candidates must pass all three exams before being recommended for citizenship (naturalization).

For Free Citizenship Classes starting in July 2018:
You can receive free citizenship classes if you bring your green card. LSS will be enrolling new students the evening of July 12 and the morning of July 28 for citizenship classes. Call 731-2000 to schedule an enrollment appointment for the next class session.
To be a Citizenship Class or ESL Class volunteer: Contact Kristyne Duffy at Kristyne.Duffy@lsssd.org.
Want help filling out the “citizenship application” or N-400?
Call 731-2000 to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney for reduced or free rates.
Want to know more about the process of becoming a citizen?
Visit the USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/ for details.

 

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL and Citizenship Instructor


When We All Work Together

June 19, 2018

“There is no “us” or “them”. We are different, yes, but in the same way that we are different from anyone else. We have all lived different experiences, and some of us are privileged to have experienced the lives that we have.”—Tea Student 2
The Tea Area High School Spanish instructor, Ms. Mahli Garry, and 6 of her Spanish III students along with students from Mitchell, SD, spent the morning with our students during their English classes. The students had the opportunity to observe and interact with English learners at all levels.
Additionally Ms. Garry and her students had a school-wide fundraiser raising 144 folders, 67 notebooks, 876 erasers, 2957 pencils for the students at LSS. The class who could raise the most had the opportunity to pie their teacher, and Ms. Garry was the honored recipient.

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LSS Education Program Assistant Diana Streleck, Tea Area Spanish Instructor Mahli Garry, and Tea Spanish III students with supplies raised for the LSS students.

After visiting LSS, students reflected on their experience. One student (3) said, “The days leading up to the trip I was quite nervous. I had no idea what to expect from these refugees. I honestly didn’t want to go on the trip all together. I felt like I was going to be so out of my comfort zone that it would be ‘painful.’” But now, “This experience will have quite a lasting effect on me. Actually getting to see the refugees and understand the process a refugee must go through to get relocated to a place such as LSS was a very humbling moment.”
Additionally a student commented, “I had many favorite moments during the trip, but I enjoyed hearing about the various cultures. I knew that I was confronting the description of ‘America is a melting pot’ head on.” And yet another student remarked, “Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the students at Lutheran Social Services. I would highly recommend this field trip to other high school students. This was an amazing opportunity to gain a better understanding of our area and the world we live in. With all of the talk in the media, I feel that it is important for students to have the opportunity to form their own opinions of the world and the people that live within it.”

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Students from Tea visit one-on-one with LSS English students.

LSS ESL Instructor Supervisor Laura Smith-Hill said, “[The high school] students did a wonderful job interacting with ours and I am so pleased that they continue to find value in this experience as do we.”
This is the third consecutive year that Ms. Garry and her Spanish students have had toured and volunteered in classes as a cross-cultural field trip. A big Thank You Ms. Garry and the Spanish III class for your dedication and continued support.

 


Nadifa – A Success Story Continues

May 22, 2018

Nadifya

A while ago I introduced you to Nadifa Mahamed, who came to Sioux Falls in 2010 with her family as refugees from Chad, West Africa. Nadifa came with no English but a powerful drive to learn, to learn everything she didn’t have the opportunity to learn back in Africa. She navigated the American school system and graduated from high school. She just finished her sophomore year at University Center, forging a path for herself that is uniquely her own.
Nadifa has grown into a confident young lady who knows what she wants to do in the future. She has been asked several times to share her story, a story that she hopes will inspire other young people to go after their dreams.
Last December the South Dakota Board of Regents was meeting in Sioux Falls and Nadifa was invited to speak to the Board – an event that would have a huge impact on her future as a student. The board members were touched by the fact that she was willing to share her personal story and they visited with her privately after the meeting. The president of a university and a local writer, all wanted to help Nadifa.
One board member in particular took a few more minutes to talk to Nadifa – and gave her the most incredible news: he was going to pay her tuition – every semester from now on until she finished her undergraduate degree! Nadifa couldn’t believe her ears, she was crying, she was smiling, she was shaking, she was so happy! And all this generous man wanted in return was to be kept updated on her courses and grades. No problem there.
Nadifa still works part-time as a food ambassador at Avera and an administrative assistant at LSS-Center for New Americans. But Nadifa feels no more financial pressure. In the fall, she will start her junior year at SDSU at the University Center, majoring in sociology with a minor in human resources.
After graduation, she plans on being involved with non-profit organizations, working with empowering women and girls of color to become strong, independent individuals. Eventually she plans on having her own non-profit whose mission will strive to end arranged marriage and child marriage, issues she feels very strongly about. “If we had stayed in Africa, I know I would be married by now with several children, but we came to America, where I can be free!” Nadifa says.
I am sure we will hear more from Nadifa in the future!

Written by Silke Hansen, LSS English Instructor at the Center for New Americans


51 Students Visit Pierre

March 22, 2018
students enjoy the sunshine on the capitol steps

Students Enjoy the Sunshine on the Capital Steps

Wednesday, February 28, was a busy day for many Sioux Falls refugees and immigrants. Waking up early in the morning and boarding a bus, 51 adult English language learners, 3 teachers, and 1 volunteer spent the day traveling to Pierre, SD, to see the state capital, watch the House session, meet the governor, talk with government officials, visit the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial, and tour the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center. It was a fun day for everyone!

Representing 15 countries, the students met with Senator Reynold Nesiba, Laura Trapp of the Department of Labor, and Policy Advisor Matt Konenkamp. They also were able to have a photo with Governor Daugaard in the capital rotunda, and Representative Tom Holmes gave a warm welcome to the students in the House.

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Students Rest and Have Lunch

After returning to Sioux Falls, McKervans, a young man from Haiti said, “I had fun, so I want to go next year again. It is important to know other things like the museum and capital in Pierre. I’m so glad because I was able to know the capital for my first time.”

half of the students with Matt Konenkamp

Students with Matt Konenkamp in the Governor’s Office

half of the students with Matt Konenkamp #2

LSS CNA Studnets with Governor Daugaard 2018

Students and Teachers pose with Gov. Daugaard

Thank you to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Adult Education and Literacy for sponsoring the event.

 

Heather and Laura with a few students

Everyone Enjoyed an Eventful Day


Remembering

January 16, 2018

“What movement tried to end racial discrimination?” The Civil Rights Movement
“What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?” Fought for civil rights

As a Citizenship Class instructor, I have the privilege of sharing about the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. every session. Before discussing the 1960s, we cover the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation. The focus then jumps to World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II before moving to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. The history questions for the Naturalization Interview do not hide the long history of slavery in the United States. Students learn early in the session that slavery existed in the “thirteen original colonies.”

“What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?” People from Africa

To help students understand “racial discrimination” and what life was like in the United States for many African Americans following the Civil War and during the time of Dr. King, we often look at the infamous pictures of segregated water fountains and bathrooms. I tend to avoid the darker pictures of lynchings and angry mobs, not wanting to rouse any post-traumatic stress in our refugee and immigrant clients.

In reality, they “know” discrimination in a much deeper sense than me, their instructor. Many experienced racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination in their own countries. The Nepali-speaking refugees from Bhutan, the Kunama refugees from Eritrea, the Karen and Karenni refugees from Myanmar and many other minority groups that we serve at the Center for New Americans fled or were expelled from unbearable conditions.

 

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(Photo courtesy of AND JUSTICE FOR ALL)

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the lines above in 1963 from where he sat in a Birmingham jail following mass demonstrations of organized civil disobedience. Its truth rang loudly when it was first read, and continues to resonate reality today. I love my job and I love interacting with and learning more about my students, but their daily presence is also a stark reminder that gross injustices have occurred and continue to occur in many of their countries. I am grateful they now live in the United States without fearing for their lives. I am grateful for the rights guaranteed them and protecting them in the Bill of Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but I wonder about their family and friends not here…those still in the refugee camps, those still in their native countries. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” My students remind me that we are all responsible for each other.

Written by Kadie Becker; Reposted by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


Introduction to Patient Care Class

December 4, 2017

 

nursing equipment

 

The Center for New Americans will be hosting an Introduction to Patient Care Class in January.  This class is designed for intermediate English learners.  They will be studying nursing vocabulary, cultural skills and content to prepare for a potential career in the healthcare industry.

Students are required to take and pass an entrance examination to join the class.  Examinations will be held Monday, December 11, at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, December 13, at 12:30 p.m.

Anyone who is interested in the class can contact Celina at 605-731-2000 or come to the front desk for the entrance exam.

Posted by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


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