When Corinne Viglietta (pictured here, third from left) graduated from Notre Dame, she had no idea she would one day be a high school teacher, let alone call herself part of the ACE and Cristo Rey families.
After studying literature in graduate school, she went on to teach English in France. Upon returning to the United States, she landed at an innovative Catholic high school, Don Bosco Cristo Rey in Washington, D.C. Her school is founded on the Cristo Rey model, which gives low-income students the chance to work in corporate jobs to finance their college-prep tuition.
Accustomed to working with college students, Corinne found teaching high school juniors—many of whom were English language learners—an enormous challenge. She explains, "I knew I needed a stronger background in linguistics and more classroom strategies, but I didn't know where to look. I was an English nerd. I had never taken an education class in my life."
Corinne learned about ACE's English as a New Language (ENL) program, which trains teachers to educate linguistically diverse student populations, and decided to apply. The ENL program helped Corinne teach challenging works by Shakespeare and Woolf to non-native readers and build a repertoire of developmentally appropriate strategies for teaching academic writing.
Through ENL, Corinne also learned to strengthen community partnerships, especially those with universities, museums, and student families. Recently, she even started a student-staffed writing center at her school, where most of the peer tutors are English language learners. "It's a friendly, supportive space for young writers," she says. "Students run the show. Differences are celebrated. Everyone's welcome."
The ENL program introduced her to the vibrancy of ACE's mission and shaped the way she taught all of her students, not just those who spoke another language at home. It also opened many doors for her professionally. After completing the program in 2011, Corinne has returned to Notre Dame for the past two summers to help coordinate the summer component of ENL. She also assists a former ENL professor with her online course.
"ENL has nurtured my vocation as a teacher," Corinne says. "I'm so grateful to ENL and to ACE for helping me develop my passion for language and literature and reminding me of my call to support the most vulnerable among us."