Welcome to the Saint John Neumann website for our ESOL program. You will find information concerning the brief history of our program and information about the current 2022-2023 Learning English year. We outline the tentative schedule for the 2023-2024 Learning English year on a separate page. Additional pages include our summary of teaching needs and a related Volunteer Teacher Registration form, a Student Summary and Registration form, and other additional information.


John Dister established the ESOL program for adults at Saint John Neumann in 2018 as a supplement to existing tutoring for school-age children that occurred after the Sunday Spanish Mass. These in-person classes continued on Sunday afternoons until Covid-19 arrived in March 2020. Due to the threat of COVID-19, we canceled all in-person classes that March and did not offer classes again until January 2021. In January 2021, we asked students if they would like to restart their classes online. Many students opted to switch to online classes, which have been taught continuously since that date.

In the Fall of 2021, a new group of teachers and students began a new year of online English classes using the Zoom program. Many of these students have continued their online classes with their teachers. Currently, we have six teachers teaching 10 students online.

In the Spring of 2022, we formed a bilingual Advisory Committee, composed of members of the Saint John Neumann community (English and Spanish), to help guide the program’s structure and assist with student communications.

In Fall 2022, the program added new in-person classes at Saint John Neumann. These classes meet in the classrooms at SJN on Thursday mornings and evenings. We currently have three Level 1 classes, two Level 2 classes, a Level 4 class, and a Level 5 class. Altogether, we have 8 teachers and 11 in-person students. The Winter-Spring Semester for these classes will end on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

The Saint John Neumann ESOL Program uses the same books and curriculum as Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington – Oxford University Press, Step Forward Program for learning English. We are currently using Levels 1-5.

Upcoming 2023-2024 ESOL Classes

We are currently in the planning stages for the upcoming 2023-2024 Learning Year. Our tentative schedule is as follows:

Fall Semester

June 2023 – Call for teaching volunteers (3 successive Bulletin ads)

July 2023 – In-Person (and online, if possible) Student Registration and Student Testing (two weekends)

August 31, 2023 – Deadline for Fall Student Registration and Testing

September 7, 2023 – Teacher Orientation

September 14, 2023 – Student Orientation and English Classes Begin

November 23, 2023 – Fall Break for Thanksgiving

December 14, 2023 – Fall Semester classes end

Winter-Spring Semester

November – 2023 – Call for teaching volunteers (3 successive Bulletin ads)

December – 2023 – In-Person (and online, if possible) Student Registration and Student Testing (two weekends)

December 22, 2023 – Deadline for Winter-Spring Student Registration and Testing

January 11, 2024 – English classes continue / new classes begin

March 28, 2024 – Spring Break for Holy Week

May 16, 2024 – Winter-Spring Semester classes end

helping students learn English and patience since English is difficult to learn. Being fluent or knowledgeable in the native language of the students (mostly, but not exclusively, Spanish) is helpful but not required. 

Textbooks and Curriculum

We are using the Oxford University Press’ Step Forward textbooks and workbooks for these classes, so there is a curriculum to follow for each one of the five levels of English proficiency. We provide each teacher with a hard copy of the textbook and workbook for their teaching level, a digital copy of the textbook, and access to the online Teacher Resource Center (provided by OUP for each teaching level) that provides additional teaching resources and a method for measuring student progress throughout the year. We have a teacher Orientation meeting in September before the start of the Fall Semester.


We have reserved classrooms for English classes on Thursday mornings (9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon) and Thursday evenings (7:00 – 9:00 PM). Volunteer teachers should indicate their preference and availability to teach during these two periods each Thursday. Class size varies each semester, but the Level 1 classes generally attract the largest number of students. If there are more than five students in a class, we try to assign two teachers (subject to availability) to that class to teach as a team. Historically, our courses have the highest student attendance early in the semester. Our students are busy, working adults, and most have families and the many obligations and uncertainties that go along with both. Consequently, we lose some students over a semester or full Learning Year. Nonetheless, many students can persevere and continue to learn English throughout the full Learning Year, and this is the opportunity that we strive to present to each student.   


As you will see in the schedule above, we develop our teaching resources before student registration. 

So we advertise for teachers in June for the Fall Semester and November for the Winter-Spring Semester. However, we are always open to more volunteers afterward for full-time teaching, as needed, and substitute teachers, when needed. If you would like to volunteer for this rewarding ministry, please complete the ESOL Teacher Registration Form and return it by text or email to Eddie Byrne,  esl.stjohnneumann@gmail.com, or 703-298-2292.

To register as an ESOL teacher, click here.

To register as an ESOL student, click here.