March 5, 2004

EUHSD and YMCA collaborate to offer computer training

Basic computer training for Spanish speakers will be available in March

Spanish-speaking parents will soon have the opportunity to learn basic computer skills for free at the Palomar YMCA’s Teen Center in Escondido.

The YMCA has set up a training program in collaboration with the Escondido Union High School District and will offer computer instruction in Spanish starting March 2.

Steve Totten, executive director at the Palomar YMCA, said the classes are a result of a strong association with EUHSD and District Superintendent David Hughes.

“The classes really stem from a recommendation from David Hughes,” said Totten. He’s on our board, and at the time he felt a stronger association with the YMCA would be something the high school district ought to endeavor.”

Sarah Christensen, YMCA Teen Center director, said that the high school district helped to make sure the program would be successful, and that Sonny Portacio, director of technology at EUHSD, has been an important part of developing the program.

“Sonny’s been helpful in organizing it and making sure the program would work,” said Christensen. He’s also been the person that contacted us with the teacher Isabel Hines from Escondido High School. He helped make sure we have the right equipment to teach the class, such as a projector and screen.”

“Sonny also made sure we had the right software so that teens can’t get into inappropriate Web sites,” said Christensen. “Since most of our kids come from the high school district, it makes sense to have the same rules – to reinforce the same ethical policy everywhere the kids go.”

But the main focus for the computer classes is to help the students’ Spanish-speaking parents catch up with their tech-savvy teenagers, said Christensen.

“A lot of the kids’ parents feel that they can’t help them with school if they don’t know computers,” said Christensen. “We are trying to help the parents right now.”

“Our society is so based on using computers right now, it’s hard for people that don’t even know how to turn a computer on, or even to write a letter on one,” said Christensen.

“The classes will be about the basics such as resume building, the Internet, and setting up email accounts – things that will get them to that basic level that employers expect.”

Students will also learn basic computer skills such as MicroSoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Dates and times for the classes will be every Tuesday in March from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The classes are free and pre-enrollment is necessary due to limited seating. For reservations call the Palomar YMCA at (760) 745-7490. Childcare is available.

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