English at Large Inc.

Woburn, MA   |  http://www.englishatlarge.org

Mission

English at Large is a nonprofit that provides individual and small group instruction through a volunteer network to adult immigrants and other newcomers who want to acquire English language skills as they adapt to life in the United States. Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Ms. Maureen Willis

Main address

800 West Cummings Park, Suite 5550

Woburn, MA 01801 USA

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Formerly known as

Eastern Massachusetts Literacy Council

EIN

04-3050593

NTEE code info

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Conversation Groups

English At Large Conversation Groups provide English learners at an intermediate level and higher the opportunity practice spontaneous, spoken English in a supportive group setting. These small groups are led by a volunteer team. who serve in a facilitator role, creating opportunities for English learners to gain speaking confidence while learning more about American norms and culture. Groups meet at local libraries and other community spaces across our service area, and are offered on a semester basis on a varied schedule to meet the needs of local learners. Conversation Groups fill a critical need of local English learners to practice speaking English, while also meeting other learners from their community.

Population(s) Served
Adults

English At Large uses a creative learning model for English instruction. We believe that the one-to-one tutoring setting ensures the personalized attention necessary to understand and capitalize on each learner's strengths as a foundation for addressing their individual needs. Each program volunteer meets individually with an adult learner 2hrs/week and provides English language instruction that targets each learner's goals. These goals may include obtaining employment, starting on a path to citizenship, and learning to better advocate for their children in the school system. Along with 12 hours of training from English At Large, tutors are trained to draw on their own use of English as a foundation for personal instruction, and receive ongoing training and support throughout the year. Tutors use real-life communication skills that learners can use immediately in their daily lives. Using this creative approach, English At Large is able to keep program costs down while simultaneously serving a large number of learners (85 tutor/learner pairs at any given time).

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our primary focus for Beginner English classes is to serve English language learners in the high needs communities of Waltham and Medford. Our program focuses on survival English, to teach words and phrases necessary for day to day life. Offered on college campuses at Brandeis and Tufts Universities, the program is facilitated by student volunteers.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

ProLiteracy America 1970

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

English At Large is a unique provider of English language instruction. Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals. Instead of teaching from textbooks, our tutors and facilitators uses our learners' narratives as the guide for teaching. Our unique approach is inspired by the Language Experience Approach - a tool that provides immediate language skills tailored to our learners' needs. English At Large is a small organization with a big impact. With 4 staff, we serve over 600 learners a year with the support of our volunteers.

Just as no two learners are alike, English At Large does not have a one-size fits all curriculum. Our learners have different learning styles, different rates for processing information, and varying degrees of comfort when speaking a new language. Because each individual learner is unique, our tutors are trained to use a variety of teaching approaches. But the very first thing that tutors must accomplish is to find out everything they can about who their learners are, where they come from, their experience with learning English, their hopes for using English, and how English can be used to achieve their life goals. Language Experience Activity (LEA) has been considered an effective strategy for working with adults with limited literacy because it connects oral communication to meaningful. Linking the learner's actual experiences and concerns with engaging lessons allows learning to be contextualized and relevant. English At Large places a high value on the learner narrative. Therefore, EAL programs utilize the learner's experience as the ""textbook"" for learning English. Lesson plans are created using the learner's immediate environment. When learners are able to learn material that is relevant to their daily life, they are more likely to remember the lesson. Thus, at EAL, English is taught through context: the learner who is pregnant learns vocabulary and grammar relevant to pregnancy, hospital visits, and visits to her OB/GYN. Similarly, the father who juggles two jobs while supporting his family, and whose wife also works, learns words and concepts like childcare, aftercare, and Head Start. Learners are immediately taught the language skills that apply to their ongoing individual needs, and in the order that their needs arise. In short, the beauty of our program is how extensively and continually volunteers are trained to teach English that is immediately applicable to a learner's own current situation, as well as those situations learners are likely to face in the future. Using these approaches, the participant's learning experience goes well beyond learning vocabulary and understanding grammar. The majority of EAL's program volunteers are long-time residents of our service area. They are experts in their community's educational systems, shopping centers, human services, recreational areas, libraries…etc. Volunteers are trained to address learner needs that extend beyond language: how to explore community resources applicable to their interests and needs (daycare for children, access to higher education and job training, etc.). Through our program, our learners gain cultural knowledge and communication skills that are necessary for success in the United States. This way, the process of learning English becomes a richer experience beyond the classroom.

The Power of Volunteerism:
Our participant's learning experience goes well beyond learning vocabulary and understanding grammar. The majority of EAL's program volunteers are long-time residents of our service area. They are experts in their community's educational systems, shopping centers, human services, recreational areas, and libraries. Volunteers are trained to address learner needs that extend beyond language: how to explore community resources applicable to their learner's interests and needs (e.g. daycare for children, access to higher education and job training). Through our program, our learners gain cultural knowledge and communication skills that are necessary for success in the United States. This way, the process of learning English becomes a richer experience beyond the classroom. With such an intimate relationship between our learners and tutors, it's no wonder why so many continue to be friends after their formal EAL relationship ends. We couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome, because not only does this mean that our learners will become more engaged and participatory in their communities, but it also means that they will deepen their community networks and lead to even more autonomy and independence.

Our Leadership:
English At Large's leadership represent the diversity of the communities we serve. EAL's Executive Director, Qingjian Shi, is a first generation Chinese immigrant who has worked closely with immigrant and refugee populations for over 6 years. The English At Large board includes current/past tutors and learners who have spent years with the English At Large community. The majority of our board members live in our service area and are very familiar with the needs of our communities. The President of the Board, Catherine Corliss, is a Senior Human Resources Consultant at Partners HealthCare System and holds the Professional in Human Resources certification. Her previous work experience includes managing human resources and administration in an early-stage technology company and serving in management roles in several non-profit organizations.

The demand for ESOL education is huge and many adults who want to learn English struggle to succeed in large, classroom-based settings. Others have work or family obligations that make traditional class schedules impossible. Part time status, and limited preparation of ESOL teachers influences the quality of the education received by students for the longer term. Insufficient infrastructures such as classroom space and technology resources often persist among ESOL providers. Furthermore, the important emphasis employment for English language learners as well as post-secondary education and training is often lacking. Given all of these challenges the reality is that wait lists for ESOL classes can run 400 students long across the state of Massachusetts (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, 2013). Some students end up waiting over a year to receive their first ESOL lesson. Looking to the future, the need for efficient, effective and successful ESOL instruction becomes even more urgent. If the immigrant population in the Greater Boston continues to grow at the rate it has been for the past few years (10,000 persons a year), it is estimated that the net increase in the number of limited English speakers is about 6,000 persons every year (Breaking the Language Barrier, A Report on English Language Services in Greater Boston, The Boston Foundation, March 2011).

English At Large is no exception. Our waitlist is currently 300+ potential learners long (an average wait of 12 months). According to The Boston Foundation, the ability to communicate effectively can mean the difference of over $20,000 in annual earnings and increased benefits in the workplace. English At Large's flexible, one-on-one tutor-based instruction model and conversation groups may be many learners' only opportunity to learn English effectively. We hope that we will be able to shorten the amount of time potential learners will have to wait for our services with additional funding.

Financials

English at Large Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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English at Large Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/27/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Matt Roper

Mimecast

Term: 2022 - 2021


Board co-chair

Jeff Backerman

Consultant, Retired

Term: 2021 - 2022

Mihir Shah

Repligen

Andrew Albano

HarborVest Partners

Melissa Assis

B’nai B’rith Housing New England

Bonny Saulnier

Consultant

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/27/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data