Adult Education learners at CCC take free English course
CCC Adult Education students Montse Rodriguez (left) and Ana Roman, took a free three-credit ENG 101A course at the college after participating in the English Language Acquisition for Adults courses at CCC.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Ana Roman met and became best friends with Montserrat “Montse” Rodriguez when they worked together at a Flagstaff restaurant. Rodriguez needed help studying for her United States citizenship exam that she was preparing for, and Roman was happy to help.
After Rodriguez passed her citizenship test with flying colors, the two young women continued taking English Language Acquisition for Adults courses in the Adult Education program at Coconino Community College. Successful in their studies, they were awarded a grant that allowed them to take a course at the college free of charge.
They chose ENG 101A, and they both passed their first official college course, and now the two are considering continuing down the college path.
“I was so scared,” Rodriguez said. “We were with students so young, so bright, who spoke English their whole lives. This class has taken me out of my comfort zone. This is a first step.”
Roman said, “I pushed myself to that goal. I never thought I’d be able to get to this point.”
According to ProLiteracy Worldwide, an international nonprofit dedicated to supporting literacy programs, the United States has the world’s largest immigrant population, and among immigrants 5 years old and older, only about half of them are proficient English speakers.
Roman was a massage therapist in Mexico who owned her own business. She was making a go of it when she was extorted for money by local drug traffickers. She had a young baby at the time, and the baby’s father didn’t help financially.
She called her stepfather in Flagstaff and said, “I need help.”
She moved to Flagstaff to provide a safer upbringing for her daughter. She’s married to a U.S. citizen and she is studying to take her citizenship exam like her friend Rodriguez.
“I had a little knowledge of English, but not a lot,” Roman said, so she began attending the ELAA classes at CCC with Montse last summer after COVID pandemic began to recede and she could attend classes in person.
“I wanted to learn more English and become a citizen,” she said.
Rodriguez has lived in Flagstaff for the last five years with her family. She has a Marketing degree from a university in Mexico, and she’s now in the process to see if any of her studies will transfer to a U.S. college or university.
But, she had to learn English first and become a U.S. citizen, so she and Ana studied hard.
Donovan Wiedmann, Senior Program Manager at CCC, said of the nearly 473 students in the Adult Education program last year, nearly 100 of them were there to improve their English language skills – and they did. Measurable Skill Gains on behalf of the English language students rose to nearly 61 percent in comparison to the 21 percent measure the year before, and the testing success rates of students who moved up a level in their English language journey rose to 96 percent from 46 percent the year before.
“We were able to do this even while being severely short staffed, because of adaptions to the pandemic and improvements to our operating procedure,” Wiedmann said.
Debbie Goldenstein, Adult Education Lead Instructor at CCC, said she encouraged the two girls to take the English placement exam after they completed more than 50 hours of English instruction. Both women placed well enough to qualify for ENG 101A, which offers the same credits as ENG 101 for all first-year students, but with a little more instruction and guidance.
“I encouraged them to go ahead with the 101A class, because I knew they were good students and would work hard to gain from this opportunity,” Goldenstein said. “And, of course, they did. I am so proud of them.”
Now that they have passed ENG 101A, both women want to take more classes at CCC. Roman said she’s going to start of slow and figure out what calls to her – maybe U.S. History or Civics. Rodriguez said that she’s doing to research to see which of her credits from Mexico transfer. She also plans to start slowly.
Both women are content, but they are looking to improve their futures, and it would not have been possible without the help from CCC and Goldenstein.
“It really helped me to see what I like to do, what I’m good at and how to move forward,” Rodriguez said.
Roman said, “It has helped me find myself and what I want to do.”
For more information about the CCC Adult Education program, visit www.coconino.edu/adult-education.
- Thursday, 1st September 2022