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Story - News

Mar 25, 2013 5:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe And Southampton Schools Offer Incentive For English Learners

Mar 26, 2013 3:28 PM

Sitting in front of bright computer screens in Tuckahoe School’s technology lab on a recent Monday night, Latino students young and old clicked through electronic books, read aloud and asked their teacher for help. The youngest participants in the combined English and technology class seemed to be at home with a mouse in their hands—but some of their parents looked on timidly.

Tuckahoe hopes to put them at ease. Taking the initiative to learn English and better understand how to use a computer, Latino families in Tuckahoe have signed up for the Digital Age Family Literacy Program offered through the Educational Products Information Exchange (EPIE) Institute, a non-profit organization that provides a 12-week course for non-native English speaking families. And as an additional incentive, those who complete the program get to take home the laptop computers they learn on, free of charge.

“I knew nothing, zero, about computers,” said Consuelo López, who is originally from Colombia and takes the course with her daughter, a fifth-grader, who was absent that night. “My daughter is amazing on the computer, and I am embarrassed when she asks me to help [with work on the computer].”

The digital divide isn’t uncommon, according to Southampton resident Luis Duque, also of Colombian descent, who teaches the class three days a week. He said there are many levels of understanding within the class. Many parents do not know how to use a computer, and many children are adept. Some children speak English better than their parents, and some parents are more fluent in English than their children, he said. “Some have no knowledge of the language, but I love seeing how they progress, and I’m grateful to see how they improve,” Mr. Duque said.

Each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning on February 25, five families have shown up for two hours of computer and reading time. The idea is to gain basic computer skills while brushing up on English literacy. If the students complete the program by putting their time, attention and energy into their studies, they get to keep the used laptops they are assigned at the start of the class—in other words, if they learn, they earn.

The computers are donated by Comp4Kids Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Jonathan Zimmerman, a teacher at the Great Neck School District. Comp4Kids collects and refurbishes used computer equipment and distributes them for free to low-income families across Long Island and the tri-state area.

To track students’ progress and time spent working, the group uses IBM’s free Reading Companion software, which presents students with material to read into a microphone. Depending on the accuracy of the pronunciation of what is read into the microphone, the software gives positive reinforcement, asks the student to try again, or offers the correct reading of the words on the screen. As a student’s skill improves, the technology reads less so that the learner reads more.

In addition to receiving help through the computer programs and online tools, students like Ms. López are guided by their Spanish-speaking teachers. Mr. Duque, who works at the Bridgehampton National Bank office in Southampton, offers advice along the way. According to Ms. López, he has recommended that she immerse herself in English television, music and literature.

Just two weeks in, Ms. López said she was getting a little bit more fluent in her reading and on the computer. “I understand a little bit more,” she said. “I can do it for myself now, I’m very happy.”

The class comes as a response to a growing population of Latino residents within the Tuckahoe School District, according to Superintendent Chris Dyer. Approximately 55 percent of the student body is Hispanic or Latino, and many are in need of additional English language instruction. Unlike many English as a second language classes, the Digital Age Family Literacy Program offers a unique chance for parents and their kids to learn together.

Mr. Dyer said he sat in on a couple of classes and was pleased. “The atmosphere was positive, relaxed and family-centered,” he said. “The program’s design is to foster community support and connect 24/7/365 learning opportunities for working adults—on the families’ schedules.”

According to Ken Komoski, the founder of the EPIE Institute, their efforts have a big impact. “In dealing with Hispanic and Latino families, I’ve learned that they need to become more competent in English, which will enable them to become both contributors to their growth and their work, but also in their community,” he said, noting that not knowing the language can lock them out of the surrounding community in many ways.

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English speaking families who can't use a computer have to go to Suffolk Community college and pay for classes. This is nonsense I'm sick of paying taxes to help the law breakers. You can't be a citizen without knowing English so we are teaching illegal parents English. No I'm not a racist I just don't like people who abuse my country.
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Mar 29, 13 9:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, do you ever actually read articles or are you simply looking for any excuse to make a fool of yourself

"The computers are donated by Comp4Kids Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Jonathan Zimmerman, a teacher at the Great Neck School District. Comp4Kids collects and refurbishes used computer equipment and distributes them for free to low-income families across Long Island and the tri-state area."

This is not "your" country, this is "our" country and the article mentions ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Mar 29, 13 2:29 PM
Chief, you are a freaking baby!
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Mar 29, 13 3:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am all for them learning to not only speak english, but also learn how to use a computer. It will help them to become more productive and less dependent.
By dnice (2343), Hampton Bays on Mar 30, 13 7:21 PM
Chief doesn't read stories. His attention span limits him to the headlines.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 30, 13 8:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
for those of you that don't realize it,this website charges you money to read full stories .. if chief isn't a subscriber, like me, then he only sees a partial story -- and in that partial story there is no mention of the computers being donated.

27east knows it gives out this partial story; so its not really chief's fault .. I mean look at that photo .. I lol'd as soon as I saw it also.

I also thought that my tax dollars were paying for it also ..the pc's, the space, the insurance, ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 1, 13 9:47 AM
(but then again ..with 576 comments he's gotta be a subscriber) ..anyhoo, theres my 2nd comment of the day .. max'd out.

have a
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 1, 13 9:50 AM
All that may be true, davidh, but if you KNOW you only read less than half of the info provided, why would you comment?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 13 9:58 AM
Let me give you a little info on non profits. You do pay for them, because instead of paying taxes people pay a non profit. This makes the collection less so you have to pay more.Yeah People First it does make me mad I pay 1600 a month for medical. I work 12 hr days and this country still thinks I should pay even more taxes. There is no free ride for anyone except the one's that are paying the bills. Why don't you go to county center in Riverhead someday, and see the hundreds of illegals getting ...more
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Apr 1, 13 11:11 AM
"This country is really becoming dumb." And you go out of your way to prove that, Chiefie.

Instead of admitting that he did not read the article, he doubles down on his foolishness. Where in this article do they mention health care? Admit you were wrong, that you used this article. like every other one on this site, to spew you lies and move on.

By the way, every reputable economist on this planet will tell you that undocumented workers are a net POSITIVE to the U.S. Economy. ...more
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Apr 1, 13 12:18 PM
And since 2007 builders are using unskilled labor as skilled labor.
Mechanic grade pay for the construction field has remained the same for easily 20 years. And thats from living it Hazel , not reading propaganda.
Do you not realize how much has changed since 2007? Turn off CNBC and take a walk.
By double-D (96), southampton on Apr 2, 13 4:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow! You really are in your own special world, aren't you? See people are required to pay taxes. People CHOOSE to donate to a non-profit. If the donations do not meet the budgetary needs of the non-profits, they are not able to provide the service that they seek to.

"This makes the collection less so you have to pay more" Did Yogi himself show you how that one works?

"There is no free ride except the one's that are paying the bills". huh?

Please, please show us a link ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 13 12:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
The mother has the baby and says she cant take care of it and puts it in foster care. The grand-mother goes to the county and takes the child as a foster child home to its momma.
I believe its actually 1500 a month and not 1200.
Mom and grandma says mom dont live there and let the money train begin. 3 kids is 4500 a month.
I cant show you a link but i do personally know someone in another state living the good life.
By double-D (96), southampton on Apr 2, 13 4:24 PM
Wow Blank you think because someone paid into SS, but doesn't now should be thrown to the street? You also think that the county doesn't pay $1,200 a child to illegals that claim the children have no fathers? Your naive if you think this doesn't happen in fact this country is sending money to illegals that live in other countries. Look it up. We have Southampton Hospital filled with illegals getting their bills paid by social services, but that's ok too. What can I expect from a guy that thinks ...more
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Apr 1, 13 9:15 PM
Chief, please provide actual, documented proof to any of your claims that does not come from a right wing blog. Just one bit of evidence from a reputable source. Southampton Hospital filled with illegals? You are out of your mind, chiefy. Keep doubling down on your bs. Keep trying to distract, but your opinioin does not make you correct.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Apr 2, 13 8:27 AM
OK Chief, YOU made the claim of these $1200.00 payments. Now show a link.

I said nothing of what the county should or should not do in regards to the elderly being removed from the county nursing home. I just stated some facts, something you have an inability to grasp. Are these people now "being thrown into the streets" no longer paying taxes as you claim? FWIW, they are being moved to other approved nursing facilities throughout the island.

Now, try to get back on topic and please ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 13 9:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
Cheif did not read this article. I doubt he ever reads more than the headline, but, he should be forgiven because that is the MO of extremists - it is OK to be wrong as long as you do it loudly! When he is called out, what does he do? Teaparty tactic number 2 - change the subject. When he is called out again, what does he do? Teaparty tactic number 3, accuse someone else of being a "bully"? Hilarious and oh so predictable, but he is still wrong.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Apr 2, 13 8:30 AM
Hey Witch Hazel why don't you leave the house once in a while? You can see the anchor babies being born, and the county showing up at the hospital with the financial aid forms. The mothers lies, and say they don't know who the father is, and then receive $1,200 to $ 1,500 a month per child. I have seen this first hand , and the County of Suffolk now has thousands of anchor babies on the government teet. This is a tea party tactic? Is that the best you can come up with? Your a fool, and should get ...more
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Apr 2, 13 5:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, "Leave the house once in a while"? Hah, that's rich coming from a man with 580 posts to my 102.

Once again, chief doubles down on his teaprty tactics. He still refuses to admit that the did not read the article (or that he intentionally lied) and then doubles down on another lie re: money per child. He offers absolutely no proof and expects us to simply acccept his false teabaggery.

A quick glance at this board, Chiefie, and it is evident that the only person buying your ...more
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Apr 3, 13 9:39 AM
Chief, The story is about a non-profit providing computers and lessons to people. Return to the topic and answer the questions.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 3, 13 12:13 PM
Blank, No the story is actually why do we help people that are here illegally? Why don't we help the struggling people that pay taxes, and work hard? And no Witchie not all economist say that illegals will help our economy. We have millions of illegals here working off the books and paying no social security. Who is going to pay their social security when they retire? Better yet why does anyone think that all illegals want to become citizens when they can pay no taxes now/ This country loves to ...more
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Apr 4, 13 8:06 AM
You are wrong, Chiefie. You make up "facts" based on your myopic view of a world that you feel has cheated you in some way. Keep trying to change the point, I will keep answering with facts.

CBO: "Immigrants Pay Individual Income, Sales, And Property Taxes." In a December 2007 report detailing the impact of undocumented immigrants on the budgets of local and state governments, the Congressional Budget Office found that "[a]ccording to available estimates," there were about "12 million ...more
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Apr 4, 13 8:13 AM
No Chief, I read the entire story. Not once did I see mention of anyone's status. I guess they must be "illegal" cause you said so

Please, help us out and enlighten us on how non-profits are run again.

By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 4, 13 3:28 PM
Hey Blank maybe since they don't speak English you can figure alot of them are illegal. Being you need English to be a citizen that might be a good guess. As far as the Witch goes why don't you reseach California and see the Billions in the red illegals cost them. Just take a look around here, and see how much illegals cost the school district. Do you think the motel on North Rd with 50 children going to the HB school district is a net positive? Considering they pay $16,000 in real estate taxes, ...more
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Apr 5, 13 8:51 PM
Chief, please, I want more Yogi speak. Fill us in on how an individual starts a non-profit and we al pay for it.
Here's a news flash for you Chief, there are 12-15 million undocumented aliens living in the United States. The bus bringing them south of the border is NOT coming Saturday to pick them up. Get over it and get used to it. Your attitude is eating you from the inside out.
Apr 5, 13 9:43 PM appended by But I'm a blank!
And who said anything about them being citizens?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 13 9:43 PM
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 7, 13 8:52 PM