, Salem, MA

Local News

December 24, 2013

Parents are 'students' at Salem grade school

SALEM — Bentley Elementary School honored several “graduates” last week, a group of school parents and grandparents who recently became U.S. citizens or are far along in the application process.

As part of its outreach to Spanish-speaking families whose children attend the elementary school, Bentley has hosted evening classes in citizenship and English as a Second Language courses for the past two years. More than 40 parents have enrolled.

Mayor Kim Driscoll and Superintendent Stephen Russell were on hand Thursday night as certificates were presented to Bruna Toribio de Ozoria, Sofia Castañeda, Maria Monegro and Erika Harrison, who took the class last year in preparation for becoming U.S. citizens.

The citizenship course is taught by Nestor Grullon, a native of the Dominican Republic who is a longtime community activist and president of VOCES, a social services organization located in The Point, a largely Latino neighborhood near the downtown.

“We’re still waiting for immigration reform ... but while we’re waiting, we can work with parents who want to become U.S. citizens,” said Grullon, 54.

“I was so proud to do that same thing. ...I want them to learn that when you become a U.S. citizen, you can vote,” he said. “Voting is one of the privileges ...Your quality of life changes — it could be a better job and more money.

“I want people to get involved with politics, get involved with democracy...”

Grullon said he has about a dozen students in his current class, which meets two nights a week at the school. The ESL class is even more popular, with 17 students enrolled this school year.

Bentley, which serves a number of Latino families, began these outreach efforts last year after being designated a Level 4, under-performing school by the state. One area that needed improvement, the state said, was parent involvement.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale CDC Addresses Lab Safety Problems Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Mass. Mayor: Families Lost Everything in Fire Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup'
Comments Tracker