Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Student Ambassador Spotlight: Tatiana Nosova

Student Ambassador Spotlight: Tatiana Nosova

Woman with brown hair and white blouse, softly smiling

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

Hi, I am Tatiana Nosova, and I am from Russia. I like meeting new people and socializing with them. The San Mateo Adult School has been a big part of me realizing this about myself. Here at school I have heard many interesting stories and traditions from people from different countries. I really love this school.

How long have you been a student at San Mateo Adult School?

I have been studying at the San Mateo Adult School for almost two years. I started in the Low Intermediate ESL class in the evening, and am now in the High Advanced ESL class in the morning.  I have also completed the Job Search Workshop.


What made you decide to participate in the Student Ambassador Program?

During my first term here at school, there was a call out for new Student Ambassadors, so I decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to study English, socialize with people and at the same time help this lovely school. I was right. People who work here are amazing, I really like helping in any way I can.


What has been the highlight:

The highlight for me has been working with the staff during the ESL registration/orientation; this is really challenging time for the staff. As a Student Ambassador, I am able to help the staff by helping new students become comfortable as new students, answering their many questions and assisting with keeping the process organized. 


What advice would you have for someone who is interested in becoming a Student Ambassador?

I advise anyone who would like to help the San Mateo Adult School to join this wonderful program. If you would like to be involved in an office environment, would like to improve your English and would like to get to know and become closer to the lovely staff, than this is the program for you.
That is it. ☺
Sincerely, Tatiana

Friday, January 10, 2020

Student Ambassador Spotlight: Akiko Iwai

Meet Student Ambassador Akiko Iwai

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Akiko Iwai, and I’ve been in the United States for a year and a half now.  I attend evening class at the San Mateo Adult School and I’m also a member of the Garden Club.

How long have you been a student at San Mateo Adult School?

I’ve been taking evening ESL classes for a little over a year, since spring semester in 2018.

What made you decide to participate in the Student Ambassador Program?

I decided to be a Student Ambassador because of two reasons; the first reason was that I was looking for something different than just learning English in a classroom setting.  At the time, I was thinking about doing some volunteer work in this area, but I didn't have enough confidence to jump into a completely new unknown environment. Then I heard about this program, and I thought this program would be the best opportunity for me to improve not only myself but my English skills.

The other reason was that I remembered how nervous and afraid I felt when I first came to register for English classes. I didn't know where I should go and what would happen next, and the orientation went a little too fast for me to understand, but I couldn't ask even a small question because I didn't know who I should ask.  So, I thought it would make me so relieved if there were someone who could speak my language, and I would be glad if I could help new students in that way.

What was the highlight?

Helping new students and communicating with them to easy their uneasy feelings as best I could.  Sometimes it wasn’t easy to communicate with students who spoke a different language
and no very little English, but I learned a lot of new things and new ways of communicating through trial and error.

Above all, I was so happy I could give back not only to our school but to the Staff who are always really caring about students; it was and is my pleasure.

What advice would you have for someone who is interested in becoming a Student Ambassador?

If you’re interested in this program even just a little bit, I recommend you to take action before thinking you can do it or not.  Most of you may worry about your level of English skills, and may think they are not good enough to be a part of this program, and I can understand it because I felt the same way when I started.  However, now, I can tell you that you will be OK. You’ll work with another Student Ambassador who is an ESL students just like you, and you all can work together to help not only new students but each other.  Trying to help each other is more important than how much English you can speak to be able to be a Student Ambassador. You can go to ask Tia or Hilda right now if you have any questions about this program. Don’t hesitate to become a part of this program.  It is just a little step, but I hope you'll enjoy the opportunity which will make a big difference in your future.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Help Plan the Future of the City of San Mateo

The City of San Mateo wants to make a good future for everyone who lives, works, and goes to school in San Mateo.  To make a good plan, the city needs opinions from everyone who lives, works, or goes to school in San Mateo.  

Read the information below to learn how you can share your opinion.

Talk with a SMAS staff member if you need help using the online map or writing an email.

How Should We Change Over the Next 20 Years?

We’ve just released a new online activity as part of our General Plan update and would like the community to participate! Please take a few minutes to use this mapping exercise and share your ideas about:
  • What kinds of housing do we want?
  • What kinds of jobs should we plan for?
  • What improvements are needed to help people move around?
San Mateo is updating the General Plan, which is a road map for the city’s future through 2040. Please help spread the word and share feedback through this online activity by January 22, 2020. This stage follows on the community’s work to create a Vision for the future, and ten study areas to analyze first for future change.

This is one of the most important conversations we can have about San Mateo’s future, and it starts with your ideas and input!  Use the online mapping tool to share your ideas, and tell your friends and family too!

Questions? Want to submit written feedback instead? Please email: Stay engaged by visiting

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Civic Engagement - Student Leaders Have "Coffee with Kevin" - Assembly Member Mullin

Most of the year, legislators are in Sacramento, working to make laws to serve California.  Part of the year, they are back home in their home districts.  This is a good opportunity to visit with them and share ideas, discuss needs, and ask questions.  Some legislators have special events, "Meet and Greets" to make it easy to meet with them.

Assembly Member Kevin Mullin represents our part of San Mateo County in the State Assembly.  The California is divided into two parts - just like Congress.  The Assembly is like the House of Representatives in Congress.  The other part is the State Senate - like the US Senate in Congress.  

Coffee with Kevin Mullin
On December 5th, Assembly Member Kevin Mullin held a "Coffee with Kevin" event at a cafe in Burlingame.  Taxpayers did not pay for the coffee.  He paid for it.  From 8 to 9 am, anyone could come to the cafe and talk to him and his aides. 

Shelley, Nadia, Vanessa, Haruka, Asm Mullin,
Flavia, Olena, Cynthia
A team of Student Leaders from Student Council and Green Team went to the event with English Learner Specialist Marina and Teacher Cynthia.  Their purpose was to talk about Adult Education and sustainability.

The students who came were:
  • Flavia - Morning Student Council Secretary and Green Team Member
  • Haruka - Garden Club and Green Team Member
  • Nadia - Morning Student Council President and Green Team Member
  • Olena - Morning Student Council Vice President
  • Shelley - Garden Club and Green Team Member
  • Vanessa - Evening Student Council Vice President 

The "Coffee with Kevin" event had two parts - open conversation and group Q & A (Question and Answer).  In the Q & A, Cynthia asked Asm. Mullin about funding for Adult Ed.  Asm Mullin said he would ask Asm Phil Ting - the chair of the Budget Committee in the Assembly.  Asm Mullin is also in the Budget Committee.  Asm Mullin said he knew there was good Adult Education in the County and good advocacy.  

A woman from Sierra Club asked about responding to Climate Change.  Asm Mullin talked about plans to deal with Climate Change on the regional level. 

Our SMAS team will follow up with Asm Mullin to find out what Asm Phil Ting has to say about Adult Education funding for the future.  We will continue to deliver the message to our elected representatives that Adult Education Matters and good funding brings good outcomes.  And we will ask about what our state government is doing to respond to Climate Change.

Our elected representatives are our voice in the lawmaking process.  For the process to work, we must share our ideas and questions with them. This is democracy in action. 

Haruka, Olena, Flavia, Nadia, Vanessa

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Green Thanksgiving at San Mateo Adult School

A Green Thanksgiving

Green Solutions to Big Problems

With the help of Green Team, Teacher Jessica, Toshio, and many others at SMAS, this year we had a very green Thanksgiving.  Green - like leaves? Like grass? Yes and no. Green like good for our school and our community, our people and planet. Green like cooling down Global Warming and reducing Climate Change problems.  It is important for all of us to take action because Global Warming and Climate Change are creating many difficult problems - fires, flooding, rising seas, drought, hurricanes - all over the world, including here where we live in the Bay Area.

SMAS Turkey Traditions

Teacher Shaina
and her class
at their Thanksgiving table
Every year, our school celebrates Thanksgiving the day before the actual holiday.  This year, the Student Council purchased and carved the turkeys. Classrooms paired up and made it a “pot luck” event - sharing food and beverages they brought from home or purchased at a store.  There are flavors and food traditions from all over the world at our tables. We have fun together, learn from each other, and come together as a community on this day.  

Green Team
Yardwaste bag
for food scraps
San Mateo Adult School has a Green Team - a club for students and staff.  Green Team learns and teaches about ways we can have a greener school and community.  Green Team meets on Monday evenings at 8 pm and Wednesdays at 12 noon in Room 29. Everyone is welcome to come anytime.  Some examples of Green Team accomplishments are Earth Day 2019, selling silverware kits, bringing the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability Educator to our school, and helping to recycle and compost at school events.

Green Preparations

Teacher Laetitia and her
Green Step Class
with their silverware kit
Before the event, Green Team and Student Council encouraged everyone to have a green Thanksgiving celebration.  Green Team and Student Council encouraged everyone to practice the 3 Rs - Reduce, Recycle, and Rot. Teacher Gia’s and Laetitia’s classes made posters to remind people to #BYOF - Bring Your Own Fork - and to reduce single use plastic. 

Rot = compost.  Composting is one of the six most important things we can do to slow down Climate Change.  Composting = less methane. Methane makes Climate Change worse. To help with composting, Green Team provided big yard waste bags and handed them out to classrooms to collect food scraps, paper plates, paper cups, and wooden chopsticks. 

The Three Rs at SMAS Thanksgiving

Toshio washing foil
containers at the sink
Teacher Jessica
sorting the
trash, and compost
On the big day, our school practiced the Three Rs - Reduce, Recycle, and Rot (Compost).  First, students enjoyed delicious turkey and side dishes. They ate and talked together around the table.  Afterwards, they put the food scraps, paper plates, and paper cups in the big bags. In the morning, Teacher Jessica collected all the bags and took them home to her compost bin.  In the evening, Green Team Member Edy Vasquez did the same. Jessica and Edy also collected the recycling. And Toshio washed all the foil containers so they can be reused again.  

Many classes said no to single use plastic silverware. Students brought their own silverware or used silverware the teacher provided.  The students in Katherine’s and Cristina’s class had a zero-waste celebration - using cloth tablecloths, real silverware, and plates that they washed after their meal.   Teacher Gia and Teacher Laetitia’s classes used the new silverware kits they received from Green Team for becoming Green Steps Classrooms.  

Teacher Jessica
says Thumbs Down
to styrofoam
on paper cups
Green Goals

In morning, Teachers Jessica and Cynthia sorted through the bags for trash, compost, and recycling.  They found a few problems. For example, paper cups with a thin cover of styrofoam plastic. These cups must go in the trash.  They cannot be recycled. Also, some classes used thin plastic tablecloths. This thin plastic cannot be recycled. Usually it is used one time and then put in the trash.

Green Team, Student Council, Teacher Jessica, Toshio and many others will keep working to green up our school.  We know it is important. We know that Green Actions are life saving actions in a hot Climate Changing world!  

A big green thank you to everyone working toward these life saving green goals!