Alta-Aurelia to host ESL Night

Friday, October 15, 2021

The demographics throughout the country, and the state of Iowa have been changing in the past few decades. Northwest Iowa is not immune from those changes as well, as the population around Storm Lake and the surrounding communities has also been becoming more diverse. The heartbeat of every community is the school and those too have seen a new crop of shining faces come through the front door. In order to make all of their students feel welcome and wanted, the Alta-Aurelia School District will be having an ESL (English as a second language) night on October 21st from 5:30-7:00 pm at Alta Elementary.

“Building a bridge between our many cultures is our main objective of this night. Making sure our families know the resources that are available when needs arise and making sure they have the best care available for our kids,” ESL Teacher Jennifer Langdon. “We will be showcasing the community resources for our families and trying to make our families that are immigrants feel more included in the Alta-Aurelia Community. We also want to show the ESL families what our community spirit is all about, and make them feel included and improve cross-cultural relationships.”

Although she had roots in Iowa, Langdon is as new to the area as some of the students she is serving, as she is in her second year of teaching with the district. Much like her students, she too is learning the culture and it was fate that brought her to education, and to the area, as she did not hear the call to teach until later in life. Hailing from the Omaha area, she first took a job as an elementary teacher and then when she took a transfer to a heavily Hispanic part of the district, she wanted to serve her students better and got her ESL degree.

It was in the middle of the COVID crisis that she took a leap and accepted a date from a man from Northwest Iowa. The romance blossomed and she sent some applications out in the area. After coming in second for a position at Storm Lake, she saw Alta-Aurelia had a position open and she has been serving the Warriors ever since then.

“I just want to get to know the kid’s backgrounds and that relationship helps me to get to know where they are coming from and makes it easier to teach them. I see potential in all of our students here and I am so moved by stories and want to do everything in my power to help them,” she said. “I look at their parents as heroes as they left everything they know behind, their language, their culture, even their weather to come here and make a better life for their children. That’s what this night is for, to help our families out by making them aware of some services or people that are out there for them to get some assistance if they need it.”