FUSD and Fresno State partnership supports English learning students

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is joining forces with Fresno State to support the district's English learners.

Gregoria Ahuejot still remembers the challenges of being an English learner.

"I got here when I was 10 years old and it was just my brother and I," said Ahuejot. "We both didn't speak the language."

"I had to learn," continued Ahuejot. "Otherwise in class, I wouldn't be able to communicate with my teachers."

The Fresno State graduate is now an interact fellow with Fresno Unified and knows first-hand what her students are facing.

"The younger kids are shy at the beginning, but after a while they start getting comfortable," said Ajuejot.

Launched during distance learning, the interact fellows program is a partnership between Fresno State and Fresno Unified that allows college students with a passion for teaching to assist with the district's English learners.

"Our students were online and we understand that came with so many challenges," said Carol Padilla with FUSD's English Learning Services. "Just having that consistent adult made a huge difference for our students."

When it first started, interact fellows were serving students virtually at over 50 different sites. Now with students back in person, dozens of interact fellows are working throughout the district.

"Aside from just getting the experience of one on one, I get to see the whole classroom," added Ajuejot. "I get to see how the teachers teach. I'm helping them but they're also helping me."

Each fellow is paired with multiple English learners, working with students both in-person and virtually, hoping to make a lasting impact on their education and their futures.
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