Family Literacy Program: ESOL for Immigrant Parents

Our Family Literacy program is designed for immigrant parents with children in New York City elementary, middle and high schools. Classes focus on learning English and computer skills so that parents can participate more effectively in their children's education. Lessons include workshops on the New York City public school system, educational resources available for children, and techniques for helping children to succeed in school.


The program gives immigrant parents the practical knowledge and English skills they need to be proactive in their children's education, enabling them to participate in school events, communicate with school personnel, as well as to be more productive in everyday language tasks.


The curriculum includes such topics as navigating the school system, parent-teacher conferences, phone calls and notes to teachers, solving school-related problems, supporting children's learning, and other family issues. Students participate in Parents and Children Together (PACT) activities, as they explore ways to support children's learning both inside and outside of the classroom, through family projects, family night events and field trips.


Grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking skills are incorporated into each contextualized lesson. In addition, part of the course addresses goal setting for parents in order to prepare them for their own further education or job training.


CIET successes in ESOL & Family Literacy instruction include:

Generous grant funding from the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation allowed CIET to create the "Connecting Parents to Schools" project and website (2011). This project addresses the major barriers impeding greater immigrant parent participation in the New York City school system with level-appropriate contextualized ESOL resources. Learn more at:


CIET faculty created lesson sets for use with En Camino educational resources toolkit online through a generous grant from the National Center for Family Literacy’s Family Literacy-Community College Partnership Initiative (2013):


NY State's Department of Education has rated CIET's Family Literacy Program as a highly proficient program as a result of our educational and employment tracked outcomes. Additionally, internal surveys are administered to all parent participants in order to assess the effect of the program on parent interactions and communications with the school system.

What our students say:


After studying at CIET, I feel more confident communicating with my child's school. 95% agree
After studying at CIET, I have more information about the NYC school system. 93% agree
After studying at CIET, I communicate more frequently with my child's school (by phone, email or in person) than last year. 77% agree
After studying at CIET, I attend meetings at my child’s school more frequently. 72% agree
At CIET, I met other parents from my child’s school and compared information with them about the teachers and the school. 75% agree
I completed the (green) NYC Dept of Education Parent Survey this year. 84% agree