ESL Education for Latinxs in Appalachia through Community Partnerships

Estimates posit Appalachia as approximately 90% White and English-speaking in terms of ethnic and linguistic identities. However, ethnic and linguistic diversity within Appalachia is ever-growing, and as such, multicultural advocacy is the lifeblood of our work. Our homes and research areas comprise much of Southwest Virginia and our work as educators and educator researchers has led us to Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke, on the periphery of the Virginian Appalachia, though not officially part of the ARC's delineation of region due to storied political reasons, embodies Appalachia in many ways. The eponymous county and city both draw members of the region for work and educational opportunities. Moreover, the city of Roanoke is the closest Virginian metropolitan area for many of Virginia's Appalachian counties. Given this metropolitan appeal, Roanoke has attracted an immigrant community with branches spreading throughout the rest of Southwest Virginia. In our roles as educators and educator researchers, we are committed to examining various aspects of schooling, both within and without the traditional bounds of public schools. Our research centers around our work with both adolescent and adult Latino immigrants, especially as we interrogate the influence of place, region, and local culture(s) on English language learning and other educational services. We are in the process of designing and implementing a study on the intersection of Latinos, Appalachia, and education through community, international and school partnerships.