South Portland Adult Education Director Erin Krivicky plans to use a $250,000 grant to provide educational resources and services for immigrants and asylum seekers. Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

South Portland will provide more education programs and services to immigrant and asylum-seeking adults in the new year.

Using a $250,000 state grant, South Portland Adult Education will ramp up its current offerings to include multiple levels of English language instruction, transportation to and from classes, and translation services.

“South Portland has historically had a very small adult education program,” said Johanna Prince, assistant superintendent of South Portland schools. “We’re just really excited that this grant will let us have a much more robust program.”

The department is looking into holding classes in multiple locations, such as at local hotels where many asylum-seeking families are staying.

“It is a promising model of going to where families are rather than having them all come to a school building,” Prince said.

Recently hired Adult Education Director Erin Krivicky, who will be in charge of implementing the expanded services, said she also wants to eliminate a major barrier for asylum seekers: a lack of childcare services.


“It’s a big challenge for our students,” Krivicky said. “We’re working with other organizations throughout South Portland to try to come up with some sort of solution.”

The grant from the state Department of Education is part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program, with the goal of transitioning immigrants and asylum-seekers into the workforce. The DOE also funded adult education projects in Westbrook and Portland.

The expansion of adult education fits well into the Community School model that the city’s new middle school will be implementing when it opens next year, Prince said.

“One of the things that we know about our work in schools is that we can do our best work when we are in partnerships with families,” Prince said, which is a focus of the Community School model. “I’m really excited about the Community School being embedded into our middle school next year.”

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