SUMMARY REPORT

NORTHEAST LIT-TECH MINI-GRANT 
“THIS IS YOUR COMMUNITY”

PERTH AMBOY ADULT SCHOOL
178 Barracks St.
Perth Amboy, NJ  08861
(732) 	826-3360, Ext. 350, 351

	The Northeast Lit-Tech mini-grant awarded to Perth Amboy Adult School
supported an adult ESL literacy project to develop an on-line resource for
other similar classes.    The project linked classroom literacy activities with
actual visits to key community locations.  The web page we developed
presents students’ original writing about their experiences at these sites, along
with photographs of some of the locations.    Further development of the web
page is planned, with additional community sites to be added.

	This report is designed to share information with other mini-grant
recipients and interested professionals and students about our experience.

	NEED FOR THE PROJECT:  The need for pictures, photos and text
to introduce actual neighborhood locations is vitally important for this
population of adult learners of English as a Second Language.  Many of them
are newcomers to our city, Perth Amboy, and to the United States.
The incorporation of actual photographs into the ESL curriculum is needed to
support the emphasis on authentic materials.  The integration of real-life
context into the ESL lesson is a successful technique for motivating and
involving students.  They immediately see the connection between classroom
practice and practical use.  The technology made possible by the mini-grant
is needed to personalize the textbook lessons and make learning functional.



PROJECT GOALS and EVALUATION:
This project was designed to accomplish five goals.   An evaluation
is given for each one, based on my personal analysis and observations. 

Goal 1:    Provide information about community resources in Perth Amboy to
local residents;
Evaluation:   Successfully met.  The information on the web page gives useful
and helpful information about Perth Amboy.  

Goal 2:    Develop adult ESL students’ language skills in the context of each
community location;
Evaluation:  Very successfully met. The project activities were the basis of
several weeks of classroom lessons characterized by a high degree of student
involvement and enthusiasm.  Students developed speaking, listening, reading
and writing skills in preparing their materials for publication.

Goal 3:     Publish adult ESL students’ original writing about experiences and
interactions at these community locations;
Evaluation:  Very successfully met.  Writing for an audience was one of the
most motivating features of the project.  The Web page concept was a new
one for most of the students, but they all immediately recognized the
significance of the technology.  Seeing the finished product was very
gratifying and they are all very eager to see their work on-line.

Goal 4:     Utilize the technological capability to integrate photos, students’
text and links to the websites of the community agencies, where available;
Evaluation:  Met to a satisfactory degree, but further work needs to be done
to accomplish the intended purpose.  Digital photos taken of Adult School
staff and some community sites were linked to students’ writing, but we have
not yet added photos of other community agencies mentioned by the students,
for example, the hospital, or the Unemployment Office.  In addition, we are
continuing to look into the possibility of adding links to websites hosted by
some or all of these other agencies.  

Goal 5:   Offer resource information, including lesson plans, to assist adult          
educators outside of Perth Amboy through publication on the web. 
Evaluation:  Partially met, but further information will be forthcoming.
This report contains some information about instructional activities.  

PROJECT OUTCOMES:

	The mini-grant from Northeast Lit-Tech was a welcome and much-needed
boost to staff morale, student motivation, and skill level in using technology
for instruction.   The acquisition of the scanner, digital camera and software
energized me as a teacher as well as my students to explore and utilize the
capabilities of the new technology.   The level of enthusiasm was high,
especially when students realized that they were writing for a potentially
world-wide audience.   Students became so involved in writing and sharing
their experiences that they volunteered to write much more than was expected
for the class assignment. 

 The project exposed a large number of students to the Internet for the
first time and helped several others work on their computer skills, including
word processing and web page design.  The effects of the mini-grant will
continue to be felt since students are eager to see the results of their work
online and to access other similar web pages.    The ESL curriculum will
focus on adding other information to the web page if possible.
	
	The Perth Amboy Public Schools have recently upgraded the computer
center and we are fortunate to have this state-of-the-art facility in our building
and accessible to our teachers and students.  We are looking forward to
accessing our web page for all to see and share.    

Personal Notes and Reaction:
I myself gained a great deal of confidence from learning how to handle
the camera and the Adobe software.    I was always interested in mastering as
many computer skills as possible, and my experience with this project has
fueled my interest to find more ways of incorporating technology into my
classes.   In the first few months of the project, I was very lucky to have the
help of a very generous and helpful “techie” in our Computer Center who
gave as much technical support as I needed.  Without a knowledgeable
resource like this, I think it would have been very difficult to wade through
the instruction manuals to learn how to connect the camera, the scanner, and
find my way around the PageMill and PhotoShop programs.  Recently,
because of a staffing change, I am more or less on my own again, but feeling
much more comfortable about using the technology.


INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS AND ESL PROFESSIONALS: 

Description of Program:
	The Perth Amboy Adult School offers a comprehensive program of
Accredited High School, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second
Language, Citizenship, adult literacy and enrichment courses to
approximately 3000 adults a year.  Classes are available during the day and
evening.  Students enrolled in the Adult School reflect the diversity of Perth
Amboy, a community with a large minority population, including a 
significant and growing number of Spanish-speaking and other immigrants.
	The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program consists of a full
daily program of classes in Conversation, Reading, Writing, Grammar and
Job Skills.  There are four levels of ESL: Port of Entry, Level I (Beginner),
Level II (Intermediate) and Level III (Advanced). Students are scheduled for 
classes based on intake interviews and placement tests.  Students enrolled in
the Alternate Work Experience Program, designed to facilitate transition from
welfare to work, attend classes for part of the day and report to work
assignments for  the remainder of the day.  
	An important goal of the program is to prepare students to enter the job
market.  Of course, the primary objective of the ESL Program is to develop
English language proficiency for general communication in social and
vocational contexts.  Classroom instruction focuses on the functional use of
English in natural and authentic situations.  Students also are scheduled for
individual assistance in resume development and job search strategies.  The
One-Stop Career Center, housed in the Adult School, is available to students
and to the community at large for this purpose.

Instructional Plan:
	Students in Dr. Villafañe’s Level II and Level III ESL classes
participated in the “This is Your Community” Project.  The following
classroom activities were carried out over a period of about six weeks, in
May and June of 1999.  
1. 	Identifying community locations and learning vocabulary related
to each, through the use of textbooks, pictures and authentic
materials. 
2. 	Identifying and practicing conversations associated with each
location, e.g., buying stamps, mailing a package, going to the 	
               emergency room.

3.  Student survey rating most important sites to be selected for     
	     project.  Winners were:  the Adult School, the Post Office,
	     the Hospital, the Unemployment Office, the Welfare Office.
4. 	Selecting and scheduling field trips to the Post Office and nearby 
     locations and taking photographs with Digital Camera.
5. 	Photographing  Adult School teachers, administrators and office
     staff, using the Digital Camera.  
6. 	Captioning of photographs by students and learning names and 
     job functions of Adult School staff.
7. 	Writing, revising and sharing students’ original paragraphs about
      their personal experiences at the selected community locations.
8. 	Wordprocessing the students’ writing.  
9. 	Designing and developing the Web page.
	10.  Viewing the finished product and planning continuation activities.     

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1999 Perth Amboy Adult School