Education Feature: Computer lab offers bilingual opportunity

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Trinity Segura was brought on at Lincoln-Jackson Family Center as the computer lab manager. Segura said she often works with patrons through lessons in the Rosetta Stone Program.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Seven years of dual-language classes at La Casita Elementary School weren’t enough for Chautauqua Acy.

Acy, now 14, spends an hour each week at Lincoln-Jackson Family Center’s computer lab using their software to continue her grasp of Spanish. She also attends the Spanish class offered by the center on Thursday evenings.

“I want to learn Spanish so that when I get older and become a lawyer I can help more people,” Acy said, sitting in front of one of the lab’s computers, big sound proof headphones in her lap.

Tutor Cynthia Lopez said Acy is already fluent.

“I see her outperforming monolingual Spanish speakers,” Lopez said. “It’s her dedication. Some monolingual Spanish speakers take advantage of knowing the language, same with English. You have to study a language, and she does that.”

The computer lab at the learning center is open to the public.

To meet the needs of more community members using the lab, the center brought a computer lab manager onto their team. Trinity Segura is bilingual and can work with English and Spanish-learners as they progress through software programs the center provides.

Lincoln-Jackson offers a software program to teach English called Ellis, as well as classes through Clovis Community College. Clovis Municipal Schools conducts a Spanish class at the center.

Acy expands her Spanish by using the Rosetta Stone software at the center.

“I think it’s good because sometimes it challenges me and sometimes it reminds me of what I’ve already learned,” Acy said.

The center’s coordinator, Cynthia Flores, said the Ellis program requires users to have what she calls social English speaking abilities.
“Ellis works for the students who are in school that hear and speak English. Parents without social English can’t use it. Ellis works with the academic side of English,” Flores said. “It just depends on the level of English the user has.”

The center also provides machines to teach English and Spanish that parents can take home. The program called Sed de Saber, translated literally to mean Thirst for Knowledge, teaches proper English or Spanish in a social setting, such as a typical conversation, or tasks such as opening a checking account.

What: Lincoln-Jackson Family Center

Where: 206 Alphon St.

Lab hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Information: 769-4460