Friday, February 19, 2016

CIES Family Tree - Colyn deGraaff

Having been around for nearly three decades, serving a quarter of million clients in that time and employed hundreds of people over the years and our extended family is, in fact, quite extensive. We are also a society that currently employs approximately 80 Calgarians, along with a roster of more than 100 volunteers, and a daily client roster of 1000 clients. In other words, our current family is very sizeable on its own. Colyn deGraaff, resident web master and LINC Home Study Coordinator is one of our many faces of CIES today.

Born in Calgary, Colyn earned his Bachelor degree from St. Mary’s University and worked in the Calgary’s theatre industry for over ten years before joining the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society in 2012. A published short‐story author and public speaker, Colyn conducted a cross-country study of Canadian arts and culture, travelling coast‐to‐coast (Victoria, BC, to Meat Cove, NS) to over 30 Canadian cities where he provided coverage on fringe festivals, concerts, and galleries. Earning a greater appreciation of Canadian identity during his travels, he returned to Calgary and joined the C.I.E.S. LINC department as its web designer and program coordinator where he supervised the launch of the LINC Home Study program. CIES very own resident Movie Buff and comic aficionado,  Colyn was married in August 2014 and lives at home with his wife and two dogs.

The LINC Home Study Program is vital to CIES and Colyn has worked diligently to keep things running top notch since the beginning. As you will well know, not every student can attend LINC classes. Some are prevented from attending due to illness, disability, conflicting work schedules, or distance. For these students, CIES provides the LINC Home Study program. There are two parts to LINC Home Study: first, students complete exercises and activities online each day on the LINC Home Study website, a digital version of the in-class curriculum developed specifically for at-home students. Students can log on any time and work through the online classes to complete their learning objectives. Secondly, students are paired with a LINC Home Study instructor who monitors and encourages their growth. Students receive a weekly phone-call (or Skype!) from their instructor which lays out the week's activities, assign and discuss homework, and answer additional questions.Through LINC Home Study, students are provided with online learning modules, exercises, voice and text lessons, individualized lesson plans, and links to language and community resources.

Colyn has led the CIES LINC Home Study program to some of the best overall improvement scores in the country significantly ahead of national averages across Canada. He has been an innovator since day one with CIES and we are lucky to have him on board.

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