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Literacy Lines Fall 2014

Director's Letter Fall 2014

The fall always feels more like the start of the New Year than January.  Maybe that’s because the Literacy Council gears up for a new program year and implements the changes and improvements we talked about over the summer and committed to in the Strategic Plan. This edition of the newsletter highlights some of these adjustments and improvements that will be made over the next year.  There will be more to come in the next three years.

LCNV’s 2014-2016 strategic plan includes the goal “Improve program capacity and performance through organizational improvements, efficiencies and social entrepreneurship.”  Or, more simply, look for ways to create efficiencies, save money and build a sustainable future.  That can happen through many small changes over time, and honestly should happen for an organization to stay relevant and current.  One can certainly agree that is it a good thing that LCNV is not doing business exactly the way we were doing it in the 1960’s.  Advancements in technology alone have created efficiencies in every aspect of business. LCNV’s adult learners have also changed, as the regional demographics have made clear.  Who remembers the days when LCNV served 133 Basic Literacy learners, and 121 ESOL learners?  The 2014 statistics report 1,150 LCNV learners in ESOL programs, and 336 in Basic Literacy (86% of whom are non-native speakers).

To stay competitive in the region’s growing non-profit sector, keep pace with best business practices, raise enough revenue to remain financially sustainable, and most importantly, to maintain LCNV’s reputation as one of the premiere literacy organizations in the country, we must continue to change.  Please stay with us and stay tuned as we take small steps and big steps toward the future.

Patricia Donnelly, Executive Director, Literacy Council of Northern Virginia

Patricia M. Donnelly, Executive Director

P.S. Thanks for supporting LCNV generously during Acumen Solutions' Race for a Cause 2014. Our learners couldn't do it without you. Read here for more details.

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Tutor's Corner: What's Happening in Tutoring?

By Carole Vinograd Bausell, Director of Tutoring
Nathan Caruso, Program Assistant, trains Literacy Council of Northern Virginia Placement Advisors

Photo: Nathan Caruso, Program Assistant for Tutoring, works with LCNV Placement Advisors from left to right: Alyse Goldman, Lynne Sprung, Claire Brown, and Debbie Droller

During the past ten months the Tutoring Program witnessed a number of changes designed to improve responsiveness and service to learners and create efficiencies by using technology for volunteers and staff. One of the most high profile and popular changes allows tutors to complete quarterly reports online and submit them with the push of a button.  Another innovation aligns supplemental tutoring options with a broader spectrum of learner needs.

Tutoring typically involves a match between one tutor and one student who meet weekly in a library for about 90 minutes. This paradigm encompasses the vast majority of students and works especially well for those who are highly motivated and practice their English in between tutoring sessions. But some students may need more than one tutoring session per week or require tutoring as an adjunct to classroom instruction in order to succeed in class. Other students may need the benefits provided by peer interaction within small group instruction. Consequently LCNV now offers flexible arrangements that are designed to meet a wider variety of student needs.  

One tutor, Alexandra Roncal, now instructs two small groups of learners. Each group comprises two or three adults at the same instructional level. “I like working with more than one student at a time,” she says. “The language interaction between the students benefits learning and multiple voices enrich our conversations. I use a text book that facilitates the interaction.”

For the first time, the quarterly report form asks tutors to check off the tutoring model that they employ. Here are the flexible options from which they can choose:

•    One-to-one tutoring;

•    Two LCNV tutors team-teaching the same student on different days;

•    Small group tutoring (2 to 4 learners); and

•    Tutoring to support an LCNV classroom student

Regardless of the model employed, one of the most important factors in the tutoring paradigm remains a well-trained and thoroughly prepared tutor. LCNV volunteer tutor-training teams continue to receive high marks for preparing new tutors to work with adult learners and volunteer placement advisors skillfully match those trained tutors with learners. Motivated, committed learners complete the equation.  

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Donor Spotlight Fall 2014

By Michelle Hall-Norvell, Communications Specialist

Capital One Financial Corporation was recognized for the second time in 2013 as one of the top 50 community-minded companies in America on the Civic 50 survey—an annual initiative that identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to invest their time, talent, and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.

Through its Investing for Good approach to community involvement and investment, Capital One is committed to strengthening economic opportunities for individuals and communities where it does business. This holistic approach utilizes philanthropy, lending and investing, volunteerism and sponsorships to achieve impact. In 2013, Capital One provided $45 million in philanthropic support to nonprofit and community organizations, and Capital One associates served nearly a quarter million hours through company-sponsored volunteer activities.

In keeping with its major focus on education and workforce development, Capital One will provide generous community support for The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia to develop, design, and test Destination Workforce® for Adult ESOL Learners, a scalable language-based workforce training curriculum for today’s adult limited English proficient population. Destination Workforce® will build language and literacy competencies including cultural fluency, speaking to communicate, and 21st century skill development for those seeking jobs or job security.

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Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives. To learn more, visit www.capitalone.com/investingforgood

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Classroom Corner: Welcome 2014-2015 AmeriCorps Classroom Instructors!

By Classroom Programs team (Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Specialist, and Serife Turkol, ESOL Learning Centers Specialist)
Photo caption: AmeriCorps Instructors (from left: Shani Brown (LCNV), Liesl Stach, Keelin McGill, Raubia Nouristani, Kaylee Yoder; Aziza Jalloh-Jamboria (LCNV)

Photo caption: AmeriCorps Instructors (from left: Shani Brown (LCNV), Liesl Stach, Keelin McGill, Raubia Nouristani, Kaylee Yoder; Aziza Jalloh-Jamboria (LCNV))

The LCNV Classroom team would like to welcome two new AmeriCorps members who began their year of service in September.  Aziza Jalloh-Jamboria first came to LCNV as a volunteer class aide at LCNV’s Crestwood Elementary School Family Learning Program class during the spring semester.  Aziza recently graduated from George Mason University and after her service with LCNV hopes to serve in Africa with the Peace Corps, a goal that has taken a pause with recent health events. Jackie Corkins joins LCNV after serving as a volunteer teacher at Loudoun Literacy Council.  Teaching ESOL is a second career for Jackie who previously served in the military.  She recently obtained a TESOL Certificate from NOVA.  Aziza and Jackie join returning AmeriCorps members Xavier Muñoz, in his third year of service at LCNV, and Shani Brown, in her second year of service at LCNV. The team, now in their third week of teaching this semester, has already accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time having registered over 400 students.  We are very excited about our new AmeriCorps members who join an already experienced team.  We appreciate their service and commitment and look forward to a successful academic year.

Photos: LCNV AmeriCorps Instructors (from left):  Jacqueline Corkins, first year of service, and
Xavier Muñoz, third year of service

Editor’s note: Other new literacy AmeriCorps instructors include Loudoun Literacy Council’s Liesl Stach and Keelin McGill and Beacon Literacy’s Raubia Nouristanit and Kaylee Yoder.  LCNV welcomes them as well to their first year of AmeriCorps service with their respective organizations.

Visit LCNV’s blog Literacy Lines! at http://lcnvblog.wordpress.com/ for more AmeriCorps stories.

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Volunteer Corner: Fall 2014 Update

By Ruba Afzal, Director of Volunteers, and Tony Hopkins, Volunteer Trainings Coordinator
LCNV ESOL student (left) and volunteer tutor (right) work on English language skills

LCNV ESOL tutoring student (left) and volunteer tutor (right) work on English language skills

Literacy Lines readers may have noticed some changes recently in the way LCNV onboards its volunteers. The ads promoting our numerous tutor and teacher volunteer opportunities, laden with jargon like “BAL,” “ESOL” and “ESOLT,” have been forgone in favor of a single message: “Come to a Volunteer Orientation!” So how did this come to be?

The origins lie in staff meetings during fall 2013, in which LCNV reflected upon the quality of our volunteers’ experience—from each individual’s initial expression of interest in serving the Council’s mission, to the time he or she began service. We discovered that the paper application alone was not enough to provide prospective volunteers with a complete picture of LCNV’s various opportunities or what they could expect from their service roles. Language regarding our mission, programs, and volunteer opportunities was sometimes unclear.

Volunteers would occasionally arrive to their initial training with misunderstandings of the roles they hoped to fulfill. Furthermore, our volunteer tutors, teachers, and class aides take on a great responsibility and time commitment, which many may have underestimated until well into their training.

With this understanding, LCNV set about developing a prerequisite for trainings: an information session for interested volunteers about the Literacy Council’s mission, the population we serve, and the commitments our students expect. Each session would also include an updated picture of current volunteer opportunities based on current student geography and program needs. This brainstorming culminated in LCNV’s first Volunteer Orientation held on July 16 to an audience of two dozen prospective volunteers, most of whom have since completed training and joined the LCNV family.

LCNV’s next Volunteer Orientation is coming up on November 17, 6:30 p.m. at James Lee Community Center – spread the word!

Editor’s note: Visit LCNV’s blog Literacy Live http://lcnvblog.wordpress.com/ for more Volunteer Spotlights and other news.

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Volunteer Opportunities Fall 2014

By Tony Hopkins, Volunteer Trainings Coordinator
Photo of LCNV Volunteer participating in past gift wrap event at Barnes & Noble-Clarendon

Photo of LCNV Volunteer participating in past gift wrap event at Barnes & Noble-Clarendon

Spread holiday cheer through one of LCNV’s gift wrapping events at local Barnes & Noble stores! Volunteers are needed to wrap customer purchases, talk about LCNV, and encourage donations. Participating locations are Potomac Yard, Seven Corners, and Tysons Corner. Each gift wrap shift generally lasts three to four hours. Dates begin as early as December 13 and go through December 24.

To express your interest in gift wrapping, or to get involved in one of our upcoming instructor volunteer opportunities listed below, contact Tony Hopkins at volunteers@lcnv.org.

Upcoming Events:

Volunteer Orientation: Nov. 17, 2014

Classroom Teacher Training: Jan. 25, 2015

Annual Holiday Potluck: Dec. 5, 2014
RSVP to this event at info@lcnv.org. Bring a dish to share your family’s traditions.

All events takes place at this location unless otherwise specified:
James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22042

Visit www.lcnv.org/events for more details.

Also consider writing for The Student Special, LCNV's newsletter especially for students.  Visit here for more details.

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LCNV Annual Holiday Potluck 2014

LCNV Annual Holiday Potluck 2014

Details can also be found at Events.

Return to Literacy Lines Fall 2014 Newsletter mainpage or choose another article from the sidebar options.

Download a pdf version of the Fall 2014 Newsletter (some articles are abridged due to space limitations).

Share The Student Special with your learner.

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