CASP Curriculum Map

Community Asylum Seekers Project
Creates Curriculum Map to Help New Arrivals with Language and Job Readiness

To view the Curriculum Map online, visit https://sites.google.com/view/caspcurriculumproject.

Press release, June 2021.

As it welcomes more participants into its program, the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) is facing the dilemma of how to integrate them into life in Windham County, including finding meaningful work with limited English-language skills.

Seven asylum seekers in this area have been gainfully employed, yet in the not-so-distant past, a few asylum seekers have lost job opportunities because of barriers to the full understanding of safety directions.

Federal regulations have lengthened the wait time for work permit eligibility, so CASP has designed a language-learning plan that takes advantage of that wait to better prepare asylum seekers for finding work and keeping it. Adaptable for all levels, from beginner to advanced, the curriculum focuses on language learning plus vocational and cultural skills.

Called a curriculum map, it is made up of nine units in sequence that cover everyday life, from learning about the community, home life, safety, health and wellness, the natural world, and work to money and banking. The map is flexible and can be adapted to group or individual needs.

Each unit suggests experiences, activities, and excursions to enhance learning and get the newcomers out into their new world.

While the curriculum map was designed for local use, CASP has licensed it for noncommercial use and plans to publish it online for use by teachers of any language, both locally and nationally.

“It is arranged by units, so it is highly flexible,” said John Bohannon, creator of the vocational segment of the plan.

The language segment was devised by Nancy Lindberg, a teacher of English at the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, in collaboration with Jennifer Borch, the education program director at USCRI.

Project task co-directors are Dorothy Leech and Francie Marbury, CASP board members.

The curriculum was reviewed by representatives from local businesses and organizations, including Paul Millman, former CEO of Chroma Technologies, Alex Beck of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, and several instructors connected with The School for International Training. During the preparation of the curriculum, planners interacted with personnel from 15 local businesses.

It was funded by a $14,000 grant from the Clowes Fund of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Now that the pandemic is winding down and in-person learning can resume, CASP will be arranging for implementation of the map through various partnerships. In the meantime, it is seeking possibilities for field testing of the map, collecting lesson plan contributions, and feedback.

CASP was founded in 2016 and provides support to those seeking asylum from violence and persecution in their home countries by finding host families for them, helping with food and other daily needs, assisting them in navigating the asylum claim process and helping them achieve eventual autonomy as they proceed through the process. Currently, CASP is supporting 11 individuals in Windham County. Its Executive Director is Kate Paarlberg-Kvam.

Further information can be found at curriculum@caspvt.org, on Facebook, or by contacting CASP at
PO Box 1355, Brattleboro 05302 or (802) 579-1509.