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ESL to Go Receives $93,000 Grant

TLC’s ESL to Go program has received a $93,000 grant from the Tennessee Office for Refugees through Catholic Charities. ESL to Go offers free English as a Second Language classes to approved asylees, refugees, and people with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) that have been in the U.S. five years or less.

Classes are offered online, and ESL to Go also has a classroom on wheels that can travel to the apartment complexes where refugees live, eliminating the need for transportation to and from class. This grant will cover the cost for classes for around 170 students.

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First Online TESL Class Graduates

Prior to the pandemic, the Tennessee Language Center’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) teacher certification course offered 150 hours of instruction, far beyond the standard 100 hours, and included a 30-hour, in-person teaching practicum. Graduates who completed the program had an advantage obtaining jobs in the field because of this teaching experience. Because of the in-person practicum, the certification training had always been limited to students in the Middle Tennessee area.

This year, TLC made the decision to pilot a completely virtual TESL certification program. On Sept. 11, the first cohort of graduates from the all online TESL certification program graduated. This class is now available to anyone in Tennessee that wishes to get certified to teach English as a Second Language.

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Titan Up for TLC!

It’s Football Time in Tennessee. If you purchase your Tennessee Titan tickets using our link and the promo code “TLC”, we get $10 donated to us for each ticket and you get up to $25 off. (For specific games listed at link.)
Let’s go Titans!
Two women and one man holding up award plaques

3 TLC Employees Recognized with Awards

Three TLC employees were recently recognized by the University of Tennessee Institute of Public Service with a Five Franklin Award, which notes those staff members who demonstrate great work and service to the institute.

Irma Hernandez, Spanish Bilingual Administrative Coordinator, has been with TLC  for a short time but has made a significant impact amongst their peers and customers. From day one, Irma has taken the initiative in speaking at a conference, participating in the fundraising team, and meeting with community members, all while learning her new job role. Irma immediately increased their area’s classes and student numbers and performs tasks with a cheerful attitude.

Richard Ponce de Leon, Bilingual Coordinator for Interpretation and Translation, has consistently demonstrated initiative and skill in many areas beyond the scope of the job he was hired to do. Richard is innovative, reliable and a source of inspiration for TLC.  Plus, Richard is rather amusing and delightful to work with (and a master of chihuahua memes).

Ramona Wilson, Evening Program Coordinator, has shown flexibility, strength, and a positive attitude through the intense changes we have gone through this past year. Ramona has demonstrated sustained high-quality job performance, initiative, good communication skills, flexibility, and commitment to the agency. When we have in-person classes, Ramona greets students and teachers with warmth and a smile, making all feel welcome. She is always trying to learn new things and be a better version of her great self. No matter what may come around, she is always up to the task.

Congratulations to all three!

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Welcome Dr. Brian Barnett as New Director of World Languages

We are so excited to welcome our new Director of World Languages at TLC – Dr. Brian Barnett. He comes to TLC from the University of Minnesota, where he served as a senior lecturer in French and as the director of language instruction in French.

Brian has a bachelor’s in French and Spanish from Kansas State University, a master’s in French from Indiana University and a doctorate in education from Indiana University.

A crowd of parents and children

Back to School Event is a Big Success

TLC was proud to participate in the Annual Back to School event at Plaza Mariachi that helps local families in the community with the essential school utensils and backpacks. We handed out pencil pouches and toys to the 1,000+ children who attended and talked to the parents about our English and World Language classes.

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TLC Provides Special 2-Day Training to Bilingual Employees at Erlanger Health Systems

Sarah Ryan, Interpretation and Translation Training Specialist, presented a 2-day, virtual medical interpretation training to 13 bilingual Erlanger employees. The training specifically focused on learning and implementing specialized Spanish vocabulary for diabetes, cardiovascular health, and women’s health. This was not a certification course, but certification next steps were discussed for those attendees that were interested.

copy of a health flyer

Translation Project for TN Justice Center Increases Access to Important Health Care Information

TLC recently helped the Tennessee Justice Center with a translation project. The Tennessee Justice Center is a nonprofit that helps families and individuals in marginalized communities navigate public benefits programs to get vital services such as health coverage, long-term supports and services, and food assistance. TLC translated a flyer and a postcard that summarize the health care and nutrition supports that are available to inform people who may not be aware of the programs and are newly eligible due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic into Spanish, Arabic, and Somali. The translation of these documents will greatly increase the number of people who will have access to the information they contain concerning TennCare, CoverKids, SNAP, WIC, and Pandemic-EBT.

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Students Give TLC Excellent Marks in Satisfaction Survey

TLC is pleased to report that our students from our spring term ranked our language classes 4.91/5.00 in our end of term satisfaction survey. An amazing 93% ranked us a 5.00.

“I like the small size of the class; the balance of listening, speaking, and writing practice; and the teacher’s style and personality,” wrote one student.

“This class is always a highlight for me each week. It’s been a lot of fun spending time with other people at my language level so that we can interact with one another,” writes another student.

We are thrilled that we are meeting your language learning needs and appreciate everyone who submitted feedback. Thank you!

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TLC Provides Interpretation for TIMES Reporter Doing COVID-19 Article

TLC Project Manager and Interpreter Richard Ponce de Leon assisted TIME Magazine journalist Abigail Abrams interview six Spanish-speaking migrant workers in East Tennessee. Abrams was writing an article on COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the nation. The workers harvest and process tomatoes at Jones & Church Farm in Unicoi, Tennessee.

Read the published article here.