Limited English Proficiency
Charles W. Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity
The Charles W. Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity serves all communities in Montgomery County. Its mission is to provide an opportunity for all residents to gain a better understanding and deeper appreciation for the variety of cultures that make up our society. The Center provides an open, supportive and hospitable environment that affirms the county's multiculturalism and fosters a sense of belonging among all in our community.
The Center offers programs and services, including, but not limited to: English for Speakers of Other Languages, Citizenship Test Preparation classes, Basic Legal assistance, informational seminars on a variety of themes, informative seminars on small business development and an extensive Information and Referral system including County programs and services and community based programs and services.
Anyone wanting more information on programs and services offered or in need of information on other programs and agencies available in Montgomery County should call 240-777-4940 (Wheaton location) or 240-777-6950 (Up County location). Bilingual staff members are available (languages changes depending on staff on duty) who would be able to answer most inquiries.
The Wheaton location is open Monday to Thursday 9-1 and 5-9; Friday and Saturday 9-1.
The Up County location is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9-1. The link to the Gilchrist Center is http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist.
Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services Information and Referral Line
(240) 777-1245, TTY (240) 777-1295
Trained information and referral (I & R) professionals are available during normal business hours to refer callers to appropriate health, human services and related agencies and programs. Multilingual staff members speak numerous languages in addition to English, currently Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Urdu. Information & Referral staff will use the Language Line to communicate with callers in other languages.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Related Programs
- Montgomery County ESOL Resource List: The following website lists English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and related resources for Montgomery County and all jurisdictions in Maryland. It is maintained by the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. The link is http://www.umbc.edu/alrc/dir.html.
- The Charles W. Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity offers ESOL classes and many other programs. Call (240) 777-4940 or (240) 777-6950 or visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist.
- Montgomery County Public Libraries provide many resources on language assistance, English classes, providing access to the disabled community, reading materials in many languages and a special link to resources in Spanish. All information is available on the County website: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.
- Other Library resources:
- The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Counseling Office can be reached at (301) 230-0675.
- The Special Needs Library with resources for the disabled community is located at 6400 Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda. Call (240) 777-0960, (301) 897-2217 TTY.
- English language tutorials are available to residents learning English through the Rosetta Stone program. The tutorials provide students the opportunity to practice speaking, writing and listening to English. Tutorials are available through the Gaithersburg (301) 840-2525, Long Branch (240) 777-0910 and Wheaton (240) 777-0678 branches. Contact the library branches directly for more information.
- Montgomery College provides many resources for LEP individuals through courses offered by the Workforce Development and Continuing Education division. Information on courses on American Sign Language, English as a Second Language and many other offerings are available at www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce or by calling (301) 279-5188. Courses can be taken at Montgomery College's Rockville, Takoma Park or Germantown campuses or at Workforce Development and Continuing Education centers in Wheaton, Silver Spring or Gaithersburg.
- Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) provides services, resources and information in a variety of languages. The Call Center is a one-stop call-in line available to answer most questions regarding the school system. The number is (301) 309-MCPS (or 6277). The line is staffed with English and Spanish speakers. Speakers of other languages, including Cambodian, Chinese, French Korean and Vietnamese, are also available. More information on MCPS is available at http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/index.cfm.
- Other MCPS offices that can provide assistance to LEP families:
- The ESOL Parents Center can be reached at (301) 230-0674.
- The ESOL Testing Center can be reached at (301) 230-0673.
- The Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs can be reached at (301) 230-0670.
- The Bilingual Assessment Team can be reached at (301) 230-0656.
- The office for ESOL and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) programs can be reached at (301) 962-8950.
- The International Student Admissions Office can be reached at (301) 230-0686.
- The Literacy Council of Montgomery County is a nonprofit agency housed in the Wheaton Library dedicated to helping adults learn English. Call (301) 942-9292 or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.