Monday, May 14, 2018

Looking for Family Fun? Read Advice from Anne!

Are you looking for fun for your family on the weekend or over vacation breaks?  Read this advice from ESL Distance Learning student Anne!

Share Some Tips To New Families

Hi, I’m Anne. My family has been living in the Bay Area for 1.5 years. We have three kids, a 13 year old boy, 7 and 2 year old girls.

    We love nature.  We try different parks nearby every weekend.

Coyote Point Park

Walk, run or bike, near the beach! It has  a great playground, boat marina, and CuriOdyssey Museum.

CuriOdyssey Meseum

A small zoo, fun science exhibits.

Crystal Spring Reservoir.(Sawyer Camp Trail)

A huge lake, perfect view.

Half Moon Bay State Beach  (Remember, do not approach or touch wildlife such as seals.)

Picturesque spot for camping & fishing.

Twin Pines Park

A neighborhood park features a creek, two playgrounds, picnic areas & a rec center.

And so on.
These are all places that you can return the same day. We usually use Google Map to search.

    If you luckily have public holiday and weekends back to back, you get a three day holiday. We choose popular places for camping, skiing, fishing…
Remember, popular campgrounds need reservations at least 3-6 months in advance.

Yosemite National Park

Amazing place! There are many things worth doing in different seasons.

Lake Tahoe

Amazing lake with crystal clear water! “Best lake”. We went to Tahoe skiing twice, and we’ll plan for the third time.

You can go to the parks official website to search for the information you want, including campground, hotels, restaurants, weather,etc.

    When kids are in school holidays, which usually are one week to two months, you have more choices. 

Holiday camping

At the school entrance and city council you can find generally advertisement. If your kids are not interested in these, use Google to search.
Most camping sites have early bird discounts.

Long trip

We usually do a two to three week road trip, stay in campgrounds which saves money, and fosters children’s social skills and independence.

Hope this helps you!
Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The ESL City Government Academy: Wendy's Story

Wendy Samayoa, Morning Student Council President, writes about her experience in the ESL City Government Academy. 

Wendy trying out a
police motorcycle
Hi, my name is Wendy Samayoa and I’m from Guatemala. I came to the USA in July, 2016 and in August of the same year I started studying at San Mateo Adult School. I was a High Intermediate ESL student when I started in this school.
A couple of months ago my teacher Stephanie Kriebel told me we were going to participate in a new project called ESL City Government Academy. Although I could not understand at that moment what she said in her presentation, she left a great impression and although I had some doubts, I joined this project.
This is my first experience with a project like this. I know that the objective of this project is to show us how the government of our city works, and to learn the appropriate processes to request help or to report an emergency.
At first it was difficult for me to understand the whole process and the amount of communication skills involved; but now I understand the sense of obligation between the members of a community and its government. With this project I have acquired a greater knowledge about the work carried out by the city government and the complexity it entails.
On our first class to Fire Station 23 in San Mateo, we received a binder to keep all our information organized, and also a bottle of water with the logo of the City of San Mateo. Over the course of the program I’ve learned how to respond correctly to an emergency, how to reserve an area in the parks of San Mateo, how to request the help of the police if it is not an emergency, and how they treat the wastewater to send it back to the ocean.
Throughout these weeks I have had the opportunity to collaborate with my classmates from other classrooms and learn from them. This project has given me many benefits in terms of group work as part of the teaching and learning activities. Working as a team can greatly facilitate the work and involve the students. By getting involved in this group I increased my participation, began putting in more effort, and got more satisfaction because I believe working in groups can be challenging at times and requires a set of skills.
Being part of this project is very pleasant for me since it has made me aware of the things we must do to improve our lifestyle for the benefit of all of us. Another lesson I’ve learned is that things can change very quickly and dramatically if we do not make a change now; it is in our hands to give a better future to the new generations. This project has given me a new vision about the work done by the city government and I appreciate the opportunity my teacher has given me to be part of this project.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New! Job Shadowing/Training

Looking for a job?  Need job skills? 
Check out this new program at SMAS!

Job shadowing/training is an opportunity for students to spend time with a school employee in order to learn about their job, observe their daily work activities and be trained on that employees job duties. This is being done to assist students in obtaining office skills that will make them more employable in the workforce.

Here are some examples of some job duties that will be taught here at the San Mateo Adult School:
  1. Answering the telephone.
  2. Faxing documents.
  3. Using the copier.
  4. Interacting with the public.
  5. Using email.
  6. Taking dictation.
  7. Leading a meeting.

If you are interested please contact Tia or Marina at the Smart Center.
ESL Student Rie shadowing SMAS employee Nita

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ESL Students Graduate from New San Mateo City Government Academy

ESL Students Graduate From New San Mateo City Government Academy
From the City of San Mateo: From breaking down barriers between police and immigrants, to educating new community members about an array of local recreational opportunities, the very first English as a Second Language City Government Academy has proven to be a success. The diverse class of 25 students hailing from 10 countries will join for a graduation ceremony to commemorate the four-month pilot program designed to empower immigrants with a deeper understanding of how to participate in local government.
The City of San Mateo, in partnership with the San Mateo Adult School of the San Mateo Union High School District, launched the program designed specifically for ESL students. The Academy educates immigrants about how to access local services while also increasing civic engagement, leadership and volunteerism.
"This program has been tremendously successful in helping a new segment of our community feel empowered," said City Manager Larry Patterson, who championed the program's inception. "It has been a unique forum to directly educate our community about all that is available to them, and to do so in thoughtful way that considered potential cultural as well as language barriers."

Academy participants have an opportunity to meet with City staff and tour a range of facilities including San Mateo's Fire Station 23, Beresford Recreation Center, Police Station, Wastewater Treatment Plant and City Hall. They've learned skills such as how to operate a fire extinguisher, register for a recreation class, and what not to dump down their drains.
For many participants, the Academy is helping them assimilate further into the local community and changing their perceptions of local government.
"The police here are so different from what I imagined," said student Grace Jiang. "They're so friendly and helpful." Tim Doyle, director of the San Mateo Adult School, said he's already noticed a positive impact the Academy is having on the community.

"The students are educating their peers here on campus with their newfound knowledge," Doyle said. "There's a huge buzz on campus about this new program, and great interest in seeing it continue."
The pilot program culminates with a tour of City Hall and graduation ceremony April 19, 2018.

Photos courtesy of the City of San Mateo

Adult Ed Week 2018: Being A Part of the Rally at the State Capitol

Riding the bus to Sacramento
On April 9th, fifty students and two teachers from San Mateo Adult School took a bus to the state capitol of Sacramento to join a rally for Adult Education.  The rally was held by CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education.  Students and staff from all over California attended the rally.  They rallied to bring attention to the need for strong funding for Adult Education.  They rallied to remind legislators that Adult Education matters.  Rie Shinohara was one of the students who attended the rally.  Here, with her permission, is her story about that day.

Being a Part of the Rally at the State Capital
When I first arrived at San Mateo Adult School, there were many new students in the lobby waiting to be registered. I could easily get in a class after I paid $30 fee for the semester. Later, the cost of going to this school became free, and one day, I heard that modern office technology classes became free, too. I thought that some people must have played an important role to waive fees from students; however, I did not think through how they did it. I assume that once students are in the school system, they take it for granted that their seats are secured and no further action is needed.

As I have worked as a volunteer to assist new student registration process for the last two years, I noticed how many people need more education to live in the United States. Last few semesters, classes got full quite quickly, and several of the scheduled registration dates were cancelled. There were waiting lists, and I knew some students who were dying to get into particular classes. I felt a growing need for adult education, and there was a chance to express my thoughts.

SMAS Students in the capitol building
On April 9, I was at the capitol of the state, Sacramento. More than 50 students and some faculty members from San Mateo Adult School headed for a rally for adult education that was organized by the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE). Before the rally began, we were trying to witness the moment when assembly members declared that the week was Adult Education Week. Third floor was literally full of people who wanted to appeal their own needs, and I could not even see how the room legislators were in looked like. I later heard that the declaration was not made on that day because the legislators had too many items on their agenda.

Adult School students in scrubs
Right outside the capitol building, with abundant sunshine coming down to us, the rally started. Groups of people from all parts of the state gathered to support adult education, and I was surprised by the number of people at the event. Many people held signs that said we need adult education. Some people were in scrubs, indicating that they pursue medical profession through adult schools. The group of us from San Mateo wore red clothes, like we do every Tuesday at the school to show adult education matters. Our presence at the rally clearly showed that there is a need for adult education.
Assembly Member
Kevin McCarty
speaking at the rally

It was so sunny that Kevin McCarty, an Assembly Member, asked if it was okay for him to come into a shade with those gathered. He actually benefited from the adult education system because he was short on credits to graduate from his high school. It was somewhat encouraging to me that someone who now works as a legislator took some courses at an adult school.

Margarita Lewis shares her story
From the beginning of the event, I was standing by a woman who anxiously held a palm-sized handwritten script in a small red folder. I instantly sensed that she was going to present her speech. In fact, the woman, Margarita Lewis, from Castro Valley Adult and Career Education, was the last person to share her story after two men who also spoke about their appreciation for adult education. When her name was called, she left my side, hastily asking her friend to take a video of her speech with her phone. Having witnessed her nervousness, I felt closer to her than any other speakers who came to the podium. She spoke about her situation, her family, and citizenship class at the school, where she prepared for the citizenship test and also made friends. After her speech, participants enthusiastically clapped, and her friends at the school came to her and gave compliments and hugs.

The rally reassured those gathered that the state of California needs places for people to study for their next stage. Many people need English to live in their communities, while some others need high school equivalent degrees or practical career trainings. Adult schools can serve people with so many different goals. For example, the first speaker Joshua Lang studies at Inland Career Center after serving way over 10 years in a correctional facility. The second speaker Erick Salas wants to work at a court after finishing his court reporting course at Sacramento City Adult School. If it were not for those schools, people would be having difficulties going from one to another phase of their lives.

Carolyn Zachry
speaking at the rally
Having been a part of the rally, I feel that I deeply understand the need for adult education. That was my first time to see students from other adult schools and hear their stories. Also, I had never seen people who are in charge of adult education, such as Carolyn Zachry, the head of adult education for the California Department of Education, and Kevin McCarty. It is crucial to talk with those who have power to make difference in adult education so that schools have more budget to serve a wide range of students’ needs. I would like to encourage other people to come to the rally next year to experience the feeling of being the part of the effort firsthand.
Will you join us next year?