Basic English Literacy Class Aims to Help Immigrant and Refugee Parents

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines Public School program aims to help immigrant and refugee parents adapt to the American culture and learn English.

According to DMPS Bilingual Outreach Coordinator Vinh Nguyen, the basic English literacy class focuses on topics that will help parents through every day routines.

“We target different topics for them. We will help them to learn numbers, the alphabet, how to spend money, how to go shop and how to fill obligations for employment and anything they need to. We are very targetful and true in those topics for parents to learn,” Nguyen said.

The program will start October 10th and end December 14th.

Nguyen said there isn’t a formal textbook, but rather work pages that have parents writing out letters, numbers, etc. The adult classes will incorporate technology to help with certain lessons.

DMPS noticed a need in its community, and designed classes to focus on parents to make adapting to a new country easier.

“There is a huge need for people to adapt due to culture. Language and culture are parallel, so therefore if you want people to adapt to a new culture they must know the language and the culture that they are adapting to,” Nguyen said.

Tuesday and Thursday night classes will begin at 6:00 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m.

Locations include:

  • Hiatt Middle School: 1214 E. 15th Street Des Moines, IA 50316
  • Meredith Middle School: 4827 Madison Avenue Des Moines, IA 50310
  • Walnut Street School: 901 Walnut Street Des Moines, IA 50309

Saturday classes will be held 9:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. starting October 14th.

Locations include:

  • Hiatt Middle School: 1214 E. 15th Street Des Moines, IA 50316
  • Meredith Middle School: 4827 Madison Avenue Des Moines, IA 50310
  • Weeks Middle School:  901 Park Avenue Des Moines, IA 50315

There will be a small pilot class Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Walnut Street School. You will need to call (515) 242-7691 to check availability.

Nguyen said it is important for people wishing to participate to show up to the first few classes, for the work is cumulative.

There is no cost to take the classes.