The fifth year of the Leap into Language summer program began on July 2 and will run through July 27, 2018. Millersville University (MU) has partnered on this program that pairs graduate students with English learners since 2017. The English learners participating in this program include refugee students of the middle school level.

Graduate students work collaboratively with staff from the School District of Lancaster, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit (IU) 13, and Eastern Mennonite Missions. Millersville University’s partnership with the Leap into Language summer program helps to strengthen and provide direct involvement in serving the larger community.

The program begins every morning with lessons designed to develop English language acquisition, followed by enrichment activities in the afternoon which include sports, games and crafts, to help students practice conversational English. MU became involved in this program through one of the graduate students in the M.Ed. program in Language & Literacy, Joshua McManness, who worked with the Leap into Language Program during the summer of 2016. This experience counted as part of the practicum experience required in the clinical practicum for his master’s degree. He was observed and supervised by Dr. Judith Wenrich.

In the spring of 2017, Wenrich approached McManness, who is employed as the Community Education Supervisor for the Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13, to see if he had interest in MU graduate students who were pursuing the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) certificate assisting within the program. He did and the partnership began during the spring and summer of 2017.

“Primarily, our candidates for the Program Specialist-ESL Certificate will work under the supervision of a lead teacher within each of the four classrooms to plan for and then implement the instruction for small groups of students within the program,” says Wenrich. MU also provides some educational supplies and resources for the program.

Wenrich, who is a professor in the Department of Early, Middle and Exceptional Education; and Georgia Jones, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Early, Middle and Exceptional Education, and instructional coach at Fulton Elementary School within the School District of Lancaster, are involved with the summer program.

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