Park City School District ask residents to be good neighbors
In a town with one of the best school systems in the state, it can be easy to take education for granted.
But the truth is many residents among Park City’s underserved population received little or no formal education and certainly never obtained a high school diploma or GED.
That’s where Judy Tukuafu comes in. She is the director of community education for the Park City School District, which is unfurling the Good Neighbors Program, designed to help adult residents who are trying to learn English or become proficient in reading and writing. The program invites members of the community to volunteer to tutor the students.
Tukuafu is hopeful the program, which has no cost, will catch on quickly and have a big impact on Park City’s underserved residents.
"People in Park City really care about the community and are really dedicated," she said. "We have a lot of people who volunteer in so many ways. So I’m hoping that people will step up for this to help their neighbors. These are people they see every day and they interact with and their kids go to school with. It’s not just a face in the community. Hopefully people will jump at the chance to make a difference."
Tutors are asked to commit to three or four hours per week and will be matched up with a student with similar time availability. Sessions can be held at the Park City Learning Center, Park City High School, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pinebrook, or any safe public place a tutor and student agree on.
Tukuafu said time flexibility is one of the program’s key features because many students aren’t able to attend adult education classes, for a variety of reasons.
"So many of our students can’t come to class regularly because of their jobs and conflicts and stuff," she said. "Plus, some of our students really need extra help. And others don’t have a chance to speak English either at home or on the job, and they really want to have a conversational practice."
It’s important to invest in the underserved population because it makes up a large percentage of Park City residents, Tukuafu said. And these are largely people who have been in town for several years and simply want to improve their lives.
"To me, adult education is one of the most fulfilling things you can do because you can see the difference you can make in people’s lives," she said. "And they are so appreciative. With kids, it’s just natural progression. But the adults, they have to work at it, and they really take pride in it."
For more information on the Good Neighbors Program, including how to sign up as either a tutor or a student, visit pcschools.us and click on the "Adult Education" link on the "Community" tab.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.