Statue of liberty
IU13 Citizenship Program Voted
"Best of the Best" by USCIS
Last month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) voted the IU13 Citizenship Program as the "Best of the Best" for the 2018-2020 grant year. Read some of our accomplishment below and celebrate with us!
The Community Education Newsletter
September 1, 2020
Student Spotlight: Tuji Yedesa
Student Tuji
Tuji, originally from Ethiopia and a former resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, was astonished when he came to America. He thought he would see beautiful green scenery, but as he arrived in New York, he was surprised to find old houses and highways. However, something impacted him more the way people behaved. He could not believe how much people respected one another and how safe he felt.

In Ethiopia, Tuji was a business owner, but it was a dangerous place to live. He explains, “There are a lot of political problems; if you don’t support the government, they put you in jail. All the family suffers.” Seeking a better life for him and his family, he decided to move to South Africa. Little did he know, living there was not an improvement...

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man and woman holding American flag
Citizenship Course: A Community Inclusion Program
Last month when USCIS voted our Citizenship program "Best of the Best," we were ecstatic, and we quickly shared the news to our community partners. See, this program is only successful because of the strong community support we receive from the State and Local Governments, partnering agencies, and our wonderful IU13 teachers and assistance.
Our government officials are very involved and welcoming in supporting our program.

State Government:
As part of the learning process we invite Government Representatives as guest speakers to visit our classes. In one lesson, our students learned about advocacy. Part of that lesson was to venture to the P. A. Capitol where they could share their stories and watch the Government in session (see picture above).

Local Government:
Locally, students visited public government buildings such as the library, where some instructors conducted mock interview sessions. In addition, they visited the city council meetings or invited the city mayor and other local representatives as guest speakers. During this time, students also got the opportunity to share about their barriers and goals.

This usually stirs action from our students, and they express a desire to volunteer in local government and participate in city council meetings after their visit.
Partnering Agencies | Church World Service and Rotary Club:
An example of great partnerships is our sub-awardee, Church World Service, which provides legal workshops related to different immigration topics, like how to apply for a green card, which helps students understand the process for family members.

The Rotary Club partnership provides the class with volunteers to conduct mock interviews with students. (Picture above Rotary Club Volunteers).
All in all, students were very successful in persisting through the end of classes, taking
post-tests and making learning gains on the BEST Literacy Test, with most acing
the AACE (civics tests).

A quote from one of our instructors:
“I love the mutual support and learning that happens when low-level and high-level students work together. By introducing collaborative instructional strategies such as
small group civics matching/memory games, class surveys, N-400 round robins,
student-led reading/writing practice, and hands-on sentence construction
unscrambles, we build relationships and have fun! In the classroom, everyone is
a teacher, and everyone is a learner.”
Summer Citizenship Class
This month we finished another successful Citizenship course. However, this class was unique as it was presented live through the online platform Zoom. The change of location allowed our teachers to be creative. The teachers used fun online tools like Kahoot ( to help expand the students’ vocabulary and grammar. However, what teachers found to be most successful was creating community by using live experience as opportunities for mini lessons

In one of the classes, the students shared personal experiences and stories about their different countries and governments. The stories were then related to current news, while sorting and ordering characteristics of the government and its processes. This helps students not only learn information, but also retain and internalize it, making it easier to recall during their naturalization interview.

We also found that group and peer discussions help with the learning process. Using Zoom’s break-out rooms, higher language level students collaborate by researching different U.S. history topics and then presenting that information to lower language level students. 

Lastly, teacher assistants play a crucial part in preparing the students for the naturalization interview. In the interview, the student must have the ability to talk about personal information. The assistant conducts mock interviews with students to prepare them for a successful experience.

The success of the citizenship course is due to such a wonderful team of professionals, volunteers, community members, and students who are passionate about this country, the United States. As we prepare future Americans, we hope that our services may continue to be a reflection of what this country represents. 
Micro-credentials | Teacher Assistant
Teacher Assistant Training Starting Next Week!
IU13 Community Education is offering its Teacher Assistant Training for English Language Learners! This training prepares English Learners for careers in special education. Students will develop their English while learning the skills they need to work as paraeducators in K-12 classrooms. Click here to hear past students describe the course. Students who successfully complete the course are guaranteed a job interview with the IU13.

Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evening 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Course orientations start Tuesday, September 8th, 2020. For more information contact us at 717-947-1250.
Refugee Center and Community School
Career Pathways for
English Learners
The IU13 Community Education and the Literacy & Learning Success Centers of Lancaster-Lebanon is looking for Refugee, Immigrants, Asylees, or Cuban Entrants that have been here for five years or less for our Career Pathways for English Learners program!

For questions or to enroll in this program, please contact Beth Boll at (717)947-1652 or by email at
English and Civic Class Learn Human Rights
Women’s suffrage. John Lewis. Covid-19. Black Lives Matter. These topics have been the focus of Susan Finn-Miller’s Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) class this summer. 

Susan explains that women’s suffrage is a particularly exciting topic to study since the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote, is celebrated this month. Students have been reading articles, watching videos, reading transcripts of the videos and studying the grammar of the text.

Susan points out that the class’s study of John Lewis, a US congressman and civil rights leader who passed away this summer, drew some parallels to the suffrage movement how activism and protests bring positive change. She notes, “The courage of people who stand up for what’s right is very positive and very powerful.”

Student Buntha Hul is thankful for the IELCE class, noting, “For me, as an asylee, I have been taking ESL class with Susan since last summer. Even though during this summer we have felt stifled due to the Coronavirus, the pandemic cannot stop us from studying via our Zoom (online) class. Susan’s class is a bridge for crossing over to our goals. Due to the ESL class, I can pursue my studies as a paralegal at HACC in late August.”
Tim Talk
IU13 Community Education Program Director
Tim Shenk's head shot
Good news! It is now much easier to provide donations to IU13 Community Education with the inclusion of a PayPal drop-down giving menu.

All tax-deductible donations for IU13 go through the Lancaster Lebanon Education Foundation. The two Community Education giving options include Community Education and the Refugee Center/Community School. 

Community Education is the part of IU13 that focuses on services for adults, families, and youth. This includes supporting students in earning their high school equivalency diploma and helping English language learners improve their fluency, gain U.S. citizenship, and strengthen their job skills.

The Refugee Center provides integration services to immigrant and refugee families through bilingual cultural navigation to help them confidently access resources in their new community. The Community School connects Reynolds Middle School families with needed resources, so students can focus on learning. If you would like your funds to go to a specific aspect of Community Education or the Refugee Center/Community School, please add a note in PayPal.

During this time of COVID-19, with limited funds available to support Community Education’s vulnerable populations, your support is very much appreciated. Please give today!
Contact Information:
For more information about Community Education visit our website
or call
Lancaster 717-606-1708
Lebanon 717-450-1525

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