ESL Staff:

Amy White, ESL Program Coordinator, x235

Cindy Brown, Associate ESL Coordinator, x239

Diana Gibson, Associate ESL Coordinator, x250

Erin Maradiegue, Associate ESL Coordinator, x251

Kristen Gasimov, Associate ESL Coordinator, x249

Sheila Sullivan, Associate ESL Coordinator, x238

Phil Spencer, Associate ESL Coordinator, x243

Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike
Suite 307
Falls Church, VA 22044
(T) 703-534-9805
(F) 703-534-9809

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Amy's Ramblings

Hello everyone! Welcome back to our returning volunteers and a very warm welcome to all of the new teachers! We are gearing up for the start of classes throughout September – please check in with your site coordinator if you have not done so already. You will notice that we have switched the textbooks from Side by Side to Step Forward. We hope that our students will benefit from a more life-skills focused curriculum and that teachers will benefit from a more comprehensive teacher’s guide. Your beginner students will also be receiving the new and greatly improved Speak Out in English, which Hogar staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to publish.

Over the summer, we piloted an online interactive website called “wikispaces” at four sites. This “wikispace” allows teachers to post class reports, access teacher and student rosters, contact their site coordinator, review training materials and a myriad of other useful info! You’ll get to see other teachers’ class reports, swap ideas for class activities and be “in the know” about happenings at your location. You will receive instruction from your site coordinator once the wikispace has been implemented for your site. If you would like to see it beforehand, please visit We anticipate this wikispace will allow us more interaction with all of you at your respective sites.

On a more serious note, most of you have been following what has been happening in Prince William County and Loudoun County regarding the recent immigration resolutions. While we still do not know how it will affect immigrants in those areas, we will make announcements to both teachers and students as soon as it becomes available. True to our mission, Hogar Hispano will continue serving those in need and welcoming the stranger.

Thank you for everything that you do for your students. It is appreciated way beyond any words I could write here.

Have a wonderful start to the semester!

Un abrazo fuerte,
Amy White
ESL Program Coordinator

ESL Updates

Gear Up for the Fall 2007 Semester!
We are excited to announce the beginning of the fall semester! Registrations are taking place throughout September and early October at 14 convenient locations all over Northern Virginia. Classes are available at levels varying from Basic to Advanced. We welcome all adults interested in learning English and there are no residency requirements. Walk-ins are welcome after registration unless specifically stated.

St. Rita's Catholic Church
3815 Russell Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22305
Levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Spanish Literacy
Registration: Tuesday and Thursday, September 4 and 6, 7 – 9 pm; Sunday, September 9, 2:30 – 5 pm
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 7 – 9 pm or Sunday, 2:45 – 4:45 pm

Berkeley Community Center
2910 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia 22206
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate
Registration: Monday and Wednesday, September 10 and 12, 6:15 – 8:15 pm
Classes: Monday and Wednesday, 6:15 - 7:45 pm, 7:45 - 9:15 pm
Woodbury Park
2335 N. 11th Street, Arlington, Virginia 22201
Levels:Beginner, Intermediate
Registration: Monday and Wednesday, October 10 and 12, 6-8 pm
Classes: Monday and Wednesday, 6 - 7:30 pm, 7:30 - 9 pm
Fairfax County
St. Michael's Catholic Church
7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale, Virginia 22003
Levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Tuesday and Thursday, September 4 and 6, 7 – 9 pm
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 7 – 9 pm
St. Leo the Great's Catholic Church
3700 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Saturday, September 8, 10 – 12 pm
Classes: Saturday, 10 am – 12 pm
Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 310, Falls Church, Virginia 22044
Levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Citizenship
Registration: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, September 24, 25, and 26, 10 am or 6 – 8 pm
Classes: Monday - Thursday (4 Days) 9 – 10:30 am, 10:30 – 12 pm, 6 – 7:30 pm, 7:30 – 9 pm
**Does not accept late registrants
St. Anthony of Padua's Catholic Church
3305 Glen Carlyn Road, Falls Church, Virginia 22041
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Saturday, September 15, 10 – 12 pm
Classes: Saturday, 10 am – 12 pm
St. John Neumann's Catholic Church
11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, Virginia 20191
Levels: Beginner and Intermediate
Registration: Saturday, September 8, 3 pm
Classes: Sunday, 3 - 5 pm; Thursday, 7 – 9 pm
St. Bernadette's Catholic Church
7600 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield, Virginia 22152
Levels: Basic, Beginner, and Intermediate
Registration: Saturday, September 29, 10 am – 12 pm
Classes: Saturday, 10 am – 12 pm
St. Mark's Catholic Church
9970 Vale Road, Vienna, Virginia 22181
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Tuesday and Thursday, September 11, 13, and 18, 8 – 9:30 pm
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 8 – 9:30 pm
Loudoun County
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church
46833 Harry Byrd Hwy. (Rt. 7), Sterling, Virginia 20164
Levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, August 20, 21, and 22, 7 – 9 pm
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 8 – 9:25 pm
**Does not accept late registrants
Prince William County
Holy Family Catholic Church
14160 Ferndale Road, Dale City, Virginia 22193
Levels: Beginner 1 and 2, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Sunday, September 16, 2 – 4 pm
Classes: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 7 – 8:30 pm
All Saint's Catholic Church
9300 Stonewall Road, Manassas, Virginia 20110
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Registration: Sunday, September 9, 11:30 – 1:20 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, September 4 and 6, 7 – 9 pm
Classes: Tuesday and Thursday, 7 – 9 pm or Sunday, 11:30 am – 1:20 pm
Our Lady of Angels
13752 Mary’s Way, Woodbridge, Virginia 22191
Levels: Beginner and Intermediate
Registration: Monday and Wednesday, September 10 and 12, 7 - 9 pm
Classes: Monday and Wednesday: 7 - 9 pm


Boot Camp
If you are new to Hogar Hispano's ESL program, this training is for you! Boot Camp is a 6-hour course that prepares volunteers for being in an Adult ESL classroom. The training includes activity ideas, do's and don'ts of the classroom, and policies. It is also a wonderful chance to meet other volunteers.

Attendance at a boot camp is mandatory for all new volunteers, but it also serves as a great refresher for ESL veterans.

When: September 8, 10 am - 4 pm
Where: 6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307, Falls Church, Virginia, 22044
Please RSVP, lunch is provided


The Wonderful World of Wikispacing
What is a wikispace? A wikispace is a simple webpage that allows multiple users to edit the page together. We have been working to make just such a space for the teachers of all of the sites. Piloted at the Berkeley Center, Christ the Redeemer, Hogar Hispano, and Woodbury Park site, the wikispace has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for teachers, site coordinators, and staff. Through this wikispace volunteers can access information about our weather policy, volunteer policy, news and announcements, and they can email the Hogar staff and the site coordinators quickly and easily. Most importantly, teachers can communicate with eachother inter-site and intra-site.

On the class summary pages (which can be reached on each individual site page) teachers can write a summary of a lesson, discuss concerns or success stories about the students, and have a running log of what has happened throughout the semester. Additionally, it works as a detailed archive for anyone who has to substitute in an unfamiliar class. A substitute can quickly acquaint himself or herself with the students and the class without having to play phone tag or email tag!

From Hogar's main wikispace page (, you can access site specific wikispaces (example: which will hold class rosters, substitute lists, and other site specific information.

There is a tutorial at the bottom of Hogar's mainpage that explains how to make an entry on the swapshop, discussion, and site class summary pages.

Take some time to explore and get familiar with the wikispace. If you have any questions please call Erin Maradiegue at 703-534-9805 x 251 or email We hope you find this resource useful!

New Books for a New Semester!
As those of you familiar with Speak Out in English: A Beginning Text for Immigrants know, it is a text designed and written by Hogar Hispano specifically for beginner level adult-immigrant language learners in the Northern Virginia area. The first edition was published in 2002 and has successfully aided in the education of English language students in the city of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County.

Five years later, Hogar Hispano is proud to unveil the newly updated edition of Speak Out. Throughout the last year, staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to get the second edition of the student textbook and the corresponding Teacher’s Guide published. This version has been condensed in order to make it more feasible for a class to finish the book in one semester. Some improvements include: a lesson objective listed on each page, a vocabulary review at the end of each unit, information on library locations in four Northern Virginia counties, and many others. In addition, many pages have been updated such as visiting the doctor, using the hospital and emergency room, how to call 911, information about the State of Virginia, how to use the post office, how to set-up a bank account and write checks, using coupons, etc. The Teacher’s Guide to Speak Out in English has also been edited to make it easier for teachers to incorporate communicative language activities in the classroom. Each page includes a copy of the student page with instructions, tips, and activities for teaching new material. Each page lists an objective and most pages includes ideas for warm ups, instructions on how to present new material, and ideas for group, pair, and/or individual practice.

Intermediate and advanced students will switch to a brand new series from Oxford University Press called Step Forward: Language for Everyday Life. Lesson plans are student-centered, focused on teaching English through real-life contexts, and include sections on civics, the workplace, the community, and academics. Among the topics addressed are: workplace and school policies; job applications, interviews, and evaluations; interpreting prescription labels, bank statements, checks, and phone and credit card bills; making and rescheduling medical appointments; identifying and using community resources; personal health and financial plans; civic involvement; study skills and habits; and recognizing and addressing household problems. All topics which every student should know and can use! Another great aspect of these books is that each lesson incorporates multilevel strategies and tips to assist teachers whose classes have students of varying abilities. Additionally, all units and lessons in Step Forward are correlated to national and state standards, including Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System competencies (CASAS), which will aid Hogar Hispano students in meeting National Reporting System goals for adult education programs.

The new textbooks will make teaching easier, while enabling the students to use the lessons in and out of the classroom!

Immigration Bulletin

On August 16 a panel discussion sponsored by
La Voz of Loudoun was held in Leesburg entitled “Immigration and the Undocumented: Fact vs. Fiction in Loudoun County and Beyond.” The panel included Sheriff Stephen Simpson of Loudoun County; Rob Brown, Executive Director of Just Neighbors, which provides immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees and has an office in Herndon; Flavia Jimenez from the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group; and Laura Valle, Executive Director of La Voz, an agency which works with the immigrant community to assist immigrants in the process of integration.

Hogar Hispano volunteer Bob Ashdown attended this discussion and has written a summary of the comments given by each member of the panel.

Sheriff Simpson: The County is entering into section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to go after the “worst of the worst” criminal illegal aliens.* Sheriff Simpson’s department will not use the authority to try to round up undocumented residents who are not committing crimes that threaten the community. Much of the contention on this issue is the result of this being an election year.

Sheriff Simpson stated that limited space in the old Loudoun County jail prevented him from getting involved in 287(g) earlier. The new jail is already overcrowded and he is sending prisoners to jails in other locations. The need for space to incarcerate prisoners for deportation was one of the reasons that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began entering into these agreements. The cost of transporting prisoners to other locations for incarceration will cost Loudoun County more than it will receive in funding from ICE by entering into 287(g). He didn’t have statistics to assess the impact of the undocumented on crime, but he did say that only one out of 16 or 18 gang members apprehended was undocumented.

*Section 287(g) allows the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting trained officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.

Rob Brown: Loudoun County Supervisors are considering denying services to the undocumented. Due to the complexity of immigration law, documentation may be nothing more than a piece of paper signed by a judge. Brown said that if the denial of services takes effect, an unrealistic burden could be placed on local officials. How would a librarian, for example, be able to evaluate documentation?

Another indication of the complexity of immigration law is the status of family reunification cases. These types of cases often take years to process. Children could become adults before the Federal government finishes processing their applications.

Flavia Jimenez: Because of the failure of Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, local jurisdictions are taking actions that are adversely affecting the Latino community. She reported a few examples of disturbing incidents: the police asked a woman for her social security number when she called about an abusive situation - the woman is from Puerto Rico and therefore a citizen. A person who is here legally was incarcerated because the police thought that he was undocumented. She discussed the immigration situation in Hazelton, Pennsylvania where the Mayor and City Council recently passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, considered by some to be one of the strictest anti-immigrant ordinances in the nation. She also said that she sees evidence of coordination among groups targeting the undocumented. She cited a case in Tennessee where a local ordinance was identical to one proposed in New Jersey – even to the extent that it contained the name of the New Jersey jurisdiction. She is concerned about women in abusive situations being reluctant to call the police because of the crackdown on the undocumented.

Laura Valle: Verifying documentation is hard for employers. She has first-hand experience because she and her husband operate a small construction company. They lost a good worker when the Social Security Administration notified them that a discrepancy existed with the worker’s name and social security number. A CEO recently told her that he had to handle thousands of these situations. It is difficult to find good workers with solid documentation. It is difficult for small businesses to comply with new rules issued by Homeland Security. La Voz does not check for documentation when providing services because it is an all volunteer organization, primarily involved in outreach, whose goal is to help immigrants integrate.

Tip of the Month
Breaking the Ice
The first few lessons of any class are stressful for teachers and students alike. Usually students don’t know each other and you don’t know them. In a classroom full of strangers, students will be apprehensive to speak about themselves to their classmates. Ice-breakers serve as a way for students to get to know each other, as well as become comfortable with you, their teacher and classroom facilitator. During the first day or two of any long-term class, it may be helpful to focus the majority of the lessons on activities where students work together and learn about each other. If students gain familiarity with one another and with you, they will communicate more. An adult learner must feel accepted and encouraged in the classroom before he or she will attempt to use new, unfamiliar language. The best atmosphere in a classroom is one free of anxiety in which students have no reason to fear the reaction of others when they make a mistake.

The most effective way to ensure community building in the classroom is to start by learning names. An activity should involve people saying or writing the names of the other students. One very simple and effective game involves arranging students in a circle, asking for a volunteer to begin. That person states his or her name. The person to follow must repeat the first student’s name and state his or her own. Students follow in sequence until the last person finishes by saying everyone else’s names. This is effective and fun for learners at any level, but especially for beginners as it does not involve new language, and would be a great introduction to a lesson on What is your name?, incorporating pronouns (My name is Angelina. Her name is Anh), and can be adapted later on to incorporate Where are you from? For intermediate level classes and above this simple activity can be made more difficult by having students pair a descriptive adjective with their name, for example, “Silly Cindy, Daring Diana, Adorable Amy.” Building parameters into the task, such as requiring that the adjective must start with the same letter/sound as your name, will keep students focused and prevent them from being overwhelmed with infinite possibilities. Mingling activities such as scavenger hunts or human bingo are also a great way to get students to talk to each other. You may think about what fundamental things you’d like to know about your classmates, such as whether they are single or married, have children, where they work, and where they are from. Students enjoy opportunities to talk about silly things as well, such as what flavor ice cream they like, what strange talents they have, sports they play, and places they have been.

When planning an ice-breaker activity you should always keep in mind the functioning level of your students. An ice-breaker is meant to build comfort rather than create anxiety, so be sure to teach any new vocabulary that may be necessary, and clarify grammatical forms that will be used before asking students to produce them on their own. New material should be kept to an absolute minimum. Remember that even after the ice-breaker activities are finished, you can continue to build community and promote cooperative learning in the classroom by organizing activities that require teamwork and students seeking information from others. Ice-breakers are a great start to creating a classroom in which students feel a sense of solidarity as they pursue their common goals and become invested in the learning process.

Picture Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison News, February 26, 2002

Volunteer Spotlight

St. Rita’s Dream Team
Chris Kincaid and Purvi Boradia, the self proclaimed “Dream Team” have been volunteering at Hogar Hispano’s St. Rita site in Alexandria for two and a half years. They were originally paired together to co-teach, and have been an ESL success story ever since.

Chris and Purvi say that the rewards reaped from their charity far outweigh the donation of their time. “I’ve taught with Hogar Hispano for almost three years now and look forward to each semester and the relationships I develop with the students,” Chris says. He and Purvi both feel that teaching doesn’t seem like much work when you think about the outcomes. They spend one hour a week preparing for a two-hour class, but can see the appreciation for their efforts on their students’ faces.

Chris advises new teachers to find out early what the students’ goals are. “It is really worthwhile when you know your students’ tangible goals and can plan your lessons to help them get there.”

Alas, the St. Rita Dream Team cannot last forever. Purvi is pregnant and will be taking a break for the fall semester. Chris will continue teaching and hopes to find a new co-teacher who can help him carry on the tradition of teaching excellence. Let us all wish Chris and Purvi (and the forthcoming newest member of the Dream Team) the best of luck in the future!


A Note of Appreciation for Russ Tarver

I've taught with Hogar Hispano for almost three years now and look forward to each semester and the relationships I develop with the students. This past summer semester was my third teaching period with Russ Tarver as site coordinator at Saint Rita's and I've really come to appreciate his professionalism and engaging manner.

As a teacher, I walk in the door 10 minutes before my lesson and I know any registration, testing, or logistics issue is taken care of because Russ is always prepared. I'm glad he teaches as well, since that is the fun part that relies upon his behind the scenes work. I just wanted to recognize his efforts from the teacher side and let you know we appreciate him.

-Chris Kincaid, ESL Teacher at St. Rita


Site Coordinator Barbeque
Site Coordinators and Hogar Hispano ESL staff gathered together for a site coordinator appreciation barbeque Saturday, August 26 at Kutner Park in Fairfax, Virginia. We shared tasty food, interesting conversation, and great company! Thanks to all of the site coordinators who were able to make it. We appreciate the hard work, enthusiasm, and commitment of all of our site coordinators!

Left picture: from left: Ida Hiller-St. Mark, Janet Smith-All Saints, Mike Kocher-St. Anthony, Diana Gibson-Hogar Hispano, George Vogen-St. Anthony. Right picture: from left: George Vogen-St. Anthony, Mike Kocher-St. Anthony, John Odenwelder-Hogar Hispano Program Director, Ryan Odenwelder

August's Vignette

In the frenetic pace of Northern Virginia life, we all experience time crunches due to hectic work schedules, family obligations, transportation and traffic issues. Even the weather can keep us from doing what we need to do. Nationwide student dropout rates in adult ESL programs are high and it is a very special type of student who can achieve perfect attendance! At Hogar Hispano’s summer class program, we wanted to recognize our perfect attendees and ask them about their experiences with their English class.

"This class is great because it forces us to use our English the whole time"
For this select group of students, making a commitment to class was a top priority and Hogar Hispano’s program offered many advantages. One is the welcoming classroom community. “We like coming to school here because all the teachers are very good at what they do, and they are nice to us,” Willian said. Others, such as Carlos, pointed to the convenience of the class hours. “The schedule is flexible and it’s great for people who work long days. There is always a class available through this program.” José O. added that Hogar’s classes are a great value. “The class is not expensive at all—it’s much cheaper than other schools in the area and the teachers are great.”

Students noted that they often spend a lot of time with our friends who only speak a little English. “This class is great because it forces us to use our English the whole time,” said Willian. “It helps us get over our fear of speaking and using the language.” Carlos agreed, “The best thing we do is speak often and work on pronunciation.”

Even more important than the class itself are the positive results that students see in their everyday lives. Willian commented on his daily interaction within his community. “When I go shopping, and I speak with the store clerks, they tell me that they notice how good my English is, and they tell me that I must be going to a good school!” Even simple tasks used to prove challenging for some students in their new country. “When I get letters in the mail now, I used to not be able to understand any of them, and they were important information,” José O. related. “Now I understand about half of them, which is great!” Kim, an advanced student, put it best when she expressed her hopes for her new English skills. “We want to be able to communicate with people in the community, and gain better job opportunities,” adding, “tell everyone to come to these classes!”

Back Row: Liber, Eli, Kim, Roberta, Carlos, José P. Front Row: Willian, José O.


Summer Conversation Class Comes to a Close
This summer volunteers Cindy Lopreto and Cate Fantozzi held a conversation class at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church. Using a newsletter entitled, News for You as a springboard for conversation, the classes discussed various topics and learned a lot of new vocabulary!

Bits and Pieces

Volunteer opportunities at Hogar Hispano

Discover the Joys of Teaching
With the upcoming fall semester, it is never a bad time to start thinking about volunteering! If you have a friend or coworker who may be interested in teaching ESL classes please pass the word along!

Classes are beginning in locations throughout Northern Virginia with a wide variety of days and times. One is sure to fit your schedule!

Get to know our wonderful and diverse group of students. No ESL experience is necessary! Please contact Sheila Sullivan at 703-534-9805 ext. 238 or email her at

Help Others to Become U.S. Citizens
Become a part of the citizenship process by volunteering to help fill out U.S. Naturalization applications at Hogar Hispano's Citizenship Workshop. Training is provided at the workshop.
When: September 15, 2007, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm. Stay as long as you can.
Where: Arlington Mill Community Center, 4975 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA
Contact: Michelle Sardone, or 703-534-9805 x 236
Lunch is provided

Workshops are held every six to eight weeks, so if you can't make this one, look out for the next one.


Conference on Immigration
In light of recent immigration ordinances passed in Northern Virginia, as well as the ongoing national debate, this year's annual conference sponsored by the Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Arlington will focus on the Church's stance on immigration. Entitled The Many Faces of Our Human Family: A Catholic Perspective on Immigration, the event will include workshops with local and national panelists. Special guest Cardinal McCarrick of Washington will serve as the keynote speaker discussing, “What the Church Teaches”.

When: September 22, 2007, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Where: Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, 3305 Glen Carlyn Road, Falls Church, VA 22041
For more information go to the Diocese of Arlington's Commission for Peace and Justice Website.


Literacy and Language Lab Grand Opening
Arlington Central Library is holding the grand opening of its Literacy and Language Lab September 28, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. The lab is designed to help adult learners with basic English language through computer assisted instruction. Software such as Rosetta Stone and IBM's Reading Companion will be available to improve reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. This was made possible by a joint intiative of the Arlington Public Libraries and the Northern Virginia Literacy Council. All are welcome to attend.

For more information contact Chang Liu at 703-228-5968 or Monica Simone 703-237-0866.
Arlington Central Library is located at 1015 N Quincy St, Arlington, Virginia 22201