Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
The biggest barrier that cities face in integrating immigrants into the community tends to be the language gap. Cities have tried to provide English classes, but attendance can be spotty due to scheduling conflicts and lack of transportation options. The non-profit MATT Foundation combats the challenges students face by offering its Maestro en Casa (teacher at home) program, an audio program (aired over traditional radio, on Internet radio, or on CD) that allows students to study English in their own homes. The lessons cover vital areas of knowledge like health care, finance, workplace conversation, education and citizenship. Maestro en Casa first launched in San Antonio in 2009 and has since expanded to Denver, Los Angeles, and recently Austin, Texas. The Austin Independent School District (AISD) started the program (paid for by MATT) as a way to increase parent involvement, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Alex Sánchez, AISD's director of public relations and multicultural outreach, told the local newspaper that the district reached its goal of signing up 1,000 parents within two days. Once participants complete the program and pass an exam, the school district and MATT will recognize the graduates in a June ceremony.