Vassar English Language Learners Outreach Program (VELLOP) provides tutoring services to ELL students throughout the district, focused on dropout prevention and literacy improvement. The ultimate goal is to help Poughkeepsie ELLs complete high school and go on to post-secondary education. The ELL population in the Poughkeepsie school district is made up primarily of Latino, Vietnamese, and Jamaican students, with a few North African students as well. VELLOP offers programs for these students at Poughkeepsie High School and two Poughkeepsie elementary schools.
Check out our blog here: VELLOP Blog
High School Services:
Vassar College student mentors work one-on-one with ELL students in their content classes throughout the school day to help them complete their coursework. VELLOP also staffs Vassar tutors in the Writing Center, a drop-in tutoring center that collaborates with the Vassar College Writing Center to provide students with literacy skills that they struggle to develop in a traditional classroom setting. The emphasis is placed on teaching learning strategies that will make the students better learners in all classes, as well as improving their reading skills and helping students develop academic and career plans. VELLOP works closely with Exploring College (EC) to help immigrant and Latino students access Vassar resources and connect with their college-bound peers and to provide ELL students with college advising, Spanish-language information, and support. At least once per semester, VELLOP high school students attend a field trip to Vassar College for enrichment activities such as touring the Vassar art museum or watching a student drama performance.
Watch this short documentary video filmed by a Vassar student to learn more about VELLOP’s work at the high school level: VELLOP: Giving Back
Elementary School Services:
In the spring of 2013, VELLOP expanded to serve ELLs at two Poughkeepsie elementary schools. VELLOP Elementary provides iPads and trained Vassar tutors who work with ESL teachers to help integrate technology into their teaching of young immigrant children. The pilot year was capped with a community event “Migration is Beautiful” held on the Vassar campus, where elementary students shared their new technology skills with their families and the Vassar community learned first-hand about the lived experiences of immigrants in Poughkeepsie.
The goals of VELLOP elementary are as follows:
- To support young ESL students at a time when they are vulnerable to increases in the achievement gap
- To educate Vassar students directly about the community they inhabit and the social issues they study in theoretical settings
- To connect low-income immigrant families to Vassar resources
To celebrate the elementary students’ efforts, VELLOP Elementary is pleased to host a community bilingual spelling bee in April.
For more information about VELLOP, contact VELLOP@vassar.edu.
Vassar College is grateful to United Way of the Dutchess-Orange region for its support of VCUEI and the VELLOP program.