English as a Second Language Program

The Center’s English as a Second Language program is designed to support drug court participants who have limited English language skills. The ESL Program is a partnership with the Syracuse Community Treatment Court. ESL Program participants attend classes to develop their English proficiency and work with the program coordinator to address obstacles to success related to language and cultural barriers. Without this support, non-English speakers have a difficult time navigating the court system and graduating from the drug court. The ESL program also offers opportunities for community engagement, provides specialized case management services, and facilitates the development of basic vocational and computer skills. Since its launch in 2011, the ESL Program has provided a range of educational services to the drug court’s ESL participants, who are predominantly Spanish-speaking males. In addition to providing direct services to drug court clients, the Center is also working to create a toolkit designed to assist other drug courts in New York State in developing effective ESL programs of their own.

Classroom Language Instruction: ESL clients attend on-site English classes to develop the communication and literacy skills needed to successfully navigate the justice system and communicate independently with judges and court staff. Lessons focus on language needed for participation in court programs as well as on familiarizing foreign born students to American cultural and societal norms.

Community Engagement: The ESL program also facilitates healthy community engagement through class visits to local community centers, colleges, libraries, museums, and other institutions that promote positive activities and help participants develop a stronger sense of connection with the community.  These interactions offer students opportunities to practice speaking English in real-life settings and situations and encourage them to get involved in healthy, productive, substance-free recreation.

Toolkit: The ESL Program will produce a toolkit designed to assist other courts in the development of their own in-house ESL Programs. Central to the toolkit is the goal of preparing courts to ensure ESL clients an equal shot at success in drug courts and other problem-solving court programs. The toolkit will include a course curriculum as well as tips on implementing culturally relevant teaching methods and student support strategies.

  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060