Niles teacher forging program for non-English speaking parents

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- An Eastside teacher spoke on her efforts to teach English to Spanish speaking families at the Niles Board of Education meeting on Monday night.
Eastside principal David Eichenberg introduced teacher Noreen Squint and told members of the school board how she expressed an interest in starting an after-school English language course because of her experiences with students' parents who could not speak a word of our language.
Squint went back to school to learn Spanish and has now been offering this program since January of 2003.
She said she has developed friendships with her students and told of the importance of going back to school to learn Spanish.
The class has grown from two to five students and she has recently taken on parents from Brandywine as well.
Squint introduced one of her students, Mr. Ramos, who told the audience how the program has helped him to go from knowing no English to learning the basics of our language.
Board of Education President Mary Crayton was proud that such programs were in place in Niles and said "that is who we are. Our diversity makes us great."
In other business, the board approved the contracts of four new teachers. Kara Demchinski, a Special Education teacher at Niles High School; Joan Imler, a Speech and Language teacher at Ballard; Jennifer Pepper, a Speech and Language teacher at Northside; and Amanda Vins, an English teacher at Ring Lardner.
The board also approved a gift from the Ballard PTO to give Ballard School 10 computers for classroom use.
The value of this gift exceeded the $2,000 limit set by board policy, so it had to be voted on for approval.
There were also two additional gifts announced that fell under this limit.
Northside principal Cindy Wickham wrote a letter thanking the Niles Service League for their $500 donation that will go toward purchasing materials to create a perceptual/gross motor program at Northside.
Gretchen Hart, assistant principal at Howard-Ellis, wrote a letter thanking Carol Cochran and fellow members of the Niles Order of the Eastern Star for their donation of $1,400 to be used to purchase three new computers for the Ellis building.

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