World Language Program

The World Language Program at Irving is an introduction to different languages and cultures. In these classes, students will learn basic communication vocabulary. The relaxed class environment will help students overcome their apprehension to speak a foreign language. Language skills will grow over years of instruction.

WLP is completely independent, funded solely by tuition paid by families of participating children. World Languages are sponsored by the PTO, endorsed by the School Board, and encouraged by the staff and principal of Irving School.

WLP will run for 12 weeks from February 4, 2019 through April 29, 2019.

The fee for WLP will be $130 for one child, $240 for 2 children or 2 languages. Scholarships are available.

Register online HERE! 

WLP Schedule.jpeg


Amer. Sign Lang. (ASL): Stephanie Hartman Mondays 2/3; Wednesdays 4/5

German: Lauren VanderBerg Tuesdays 2-5; Thursdays K/1

Hindi/Gujarati: Krina Ghandi Tuesdays*

Mandarin Chinese: Paul Chen Mondays 2-5; Fridays K/1

Portuguese: Carrie Goldbeck Tuesday K/1; Fridays 2-5

After School

Amer. Sign Lang. (ASL): Melissa de Jesus-Vasquez Tuesdays K/1

French: Lori Robert Wednesdays K-5

Greek: Maria Tsagaris Mondays K-5

Spanish: Samantha Esparza Wednesdays K-5

If you have any questions, please email Lauren at

We do have a registration minimum and some classes may not run if the number is not met.  All classes will meet for an hour once a week.

*Depending on enrollment, some languages may not be available for all grades.

wlp 2019 flyer.docx

Instructor Information:

American Sign Language (ASL)

Stephanie Hartman is a Julian and OPRF parent. This is her third year teaching American sign language at Irving and her second at Whittier. She completed a degree in sign language interpreting in St Louis and was a licensed and certified educational interpreter working in Missouri and Illinois. She has experience teaching ASL enrichment classes at schools and teaching private lessons (both small group and individual). Her classes will focus on learning about Deaf Culture and ASL through hands-on activities, games and short videos.

Melissa de Jesus-Vasquez is an Irving mom of two fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).  She was first introduced to ASL at a young age. She has an older sister, who is deaf, and her parents learned ASL to communicate with her and taught their younger children.  Did you know there are more than a million deaf people in the United States? Knowing just the most basics of ASL, such as the alphabet, can make a difference when you are in the company of a deaf person in the USA, Canada and parts of Mexico. She will be teaching our youngest grades ASL and promises it will be a great experience and a lot of fun!


Lori Robert is a Whittier parent, who is raising two bilingual children along with her French husband. This is her third year teaching French at Whittier and Hatch, and her second year at Lincoln.  She completed a French minor at the University of Arizona and spent a year abroad in Paris. Her experience includes teaching French enrichment classes at multiple local elementary schools, teaching private lessons, and planning lessons for the French-Speaking Children’s Group of Oak Park and River Forest. Her classes will focus on speaking and comprehension through fun songs, projects, games, short videos and stories.


Lauren VanderBerg is an Irving mom of three. She has studied German for 30 years and has a BA in German from the Univ. of Illinois. She has lived in Germany for over 2 years combined. She worked for the US Commercial Service in Germany as well as the German American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago for 5 years. This will be her 5th year teaching at Irving. Her students return to her year after year. She teaches fundamental  German through videos, songs and games. Sprechen Sie Deutsch?


Maria Tsagaris learned the Greek language by studying it through Greek classes for 13 years.  In addition to this, speaking primarily Greek in the home growing up and visiting Greece often made her fluent in the language.


Krina Gandhi is a mother of two girls.  She grew up and lived in India until the age of 17, where Hindi is the national language.  In addition to Hindi, she also grew up speaking Gujarati. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering and a Masters Degree in Nursing from UIC.  Currently, she works part time as a OB/GYN nurse. Her previous experiences include being a teacher’s aide for CPS for special needs kids. This is my first time teaching Hindi but I am very excited for this opportunity.

Mandarin Chinese

A native Mandarin speaker, Paul Chen received formal education in Taiwan, has lived/worked in Beijing and traveled extensively in China for work. He speaks Mandarin with a neutral accent, has a practical vocabulary for different audiences or social settings, and is proficient in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. Paul is enthusiastic about creative writing and translation, and is passionate about sharing his love of languages and cultures. He regularly gets compliments from native speakers on his accents when he tries other languages, and he loves to advance his French!


Carrie Goldbeck learned Portuguese when living in Cabo Verde, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. During her two years there, she also learned the native Krioulo which is a mix of Portuguese and various African languages.


Samantha Esparza comes to Oak Park by way of Aguascalientes, Mexico, where she spent the first 17 years of her life.  She is currently employed at Wintrust Mortgage as a bilingual Team-Lead Sales Assistant. Ms. Esparza has two daughters, Ashley and Katie, and four sisters, whom she speaks to regularly in her native Spanish. Ms. Esparza is very excited to work with Irving students and help them to gain an understanding of, and interest in, the Spanish language.