Thursday, September 27, 2018

Words of Wisdom from SMAS Student Wendy Samayoa

Wendy Samoyoa served as 2017-18 Morning Student Council President
at San Mateo Adult School. At the 2018-19 Candidate Forum, she said
her farewells in a powerful speech which speaks to the value of Adult
Education not just at San Mateo Adult School but across our nation.
Here, with her permission, is her speech. Please read it and share.

Wendy Samoyoa
Farewells seem to always have a bittersweet flavor with
feelings that are intertwined, although their nature is different.
I feel sadness, satisfaction and also, a certain relief to be able
to transfer the responsibilities of the position because it’s time
for new leaders. But, above all, the feeling that gains the
most strength is, without a doubt, gratitude. Today culminates
an important period in my life, a period in which it was a privilege
and an honor to preside over this Student Council. It was a year
of commitment and, in turn, a year of projects, opportunities and
challenges, of hard work, meetings, strugglesfor the improvement
of student services, community work and professional
and human growth. I must admit that it was not easy to carry
out this task, but it was worth the effort and, in exchange, we
obtained achievements and agreements for the benefit of all
of us. As President of the 2017-2018 Student Council of the
San Mateo Adult School, I want to thank you for your support
and all the work you do every day so that adult education in San
Mateo is getting better and better.Thanks to the administration,
especially to Director Tim Doyle for welcoming us, for listening
to our complaints and supporting our activities. Thanks to
Stephanie Kriebel, our teacher adviser, for the trust and
responsibility placed in us, for her never-ending support.
Thank you to all the teachers and staff members who in different ways
always give their support. Thanks to those who with their work
and enthusiasm accompanied me in this adventure, because they have
believed in us and always supported us. Also, I would like to acknowledge
Vice President Jackie Lhereux and Secretary
Williams Avelino, who were key leaders in the work done and
who accompanied me in the quest for better student services.
I would also like to thank the representatives of each classroom,
for the work they did and for always showing up to participate
in our activities.For me it is very humbling to be in front of you
today; Being president of this school taught me something
important: believe in myself and believe in what we can
achieve together. This "faith" in us has materialized over
the course of a year, work that I have done with selflessness,
honesty and team effort.
During my time at this school, one of the areas that most
interested me was being able to collaborate in various activities.
The possibility of going with my colleagues to different experiences
allowed me to know the difficult realities in which we live day by day
and also to understand that adult education is the only transforming
force that can make a difference in many families. Beyond solidarity,
we need adult education to be the driving force of a country, so that
we all advance alone and achieve the merits, not thanks to the
charity of a few, but to our own work.We are not numbers nor are
we the results of a test; We are people who want to change the
world and for that we need tools that are not only learned in
classes, but with experiences that allow us to get out of the
bubble in which we live and open our eyes so that we can see the
reality of this country that today, more than ever, needs our
critical look as a starting point for real structural changes in the
country.I am talking with you as a student and partner committed
to generating a positive impact in our school. Today, this country
needs young people and adults who strive not only to be better, but
to offer their efforts for all and do it selflessly, and we are the ones
who have the tools to transform this country.
To you, the candidates. I wish you much encouragement and
strength in this new stage, and no advice because I know that
you are committed to yourselves and this school, and have the
vision, qualities and experience to carry on this journey. Know that
you can count on my support at any time.
It has been a pleasure for me to represent all of you and to be able
to work so that our vision is always within reach. I thank you all for
the support and I hope that my work has been to your liking and
that you will carry on this mission. The sky is not the limit!

Thank you, Wendy, for your service as a leader and for taking
the time to write this inspiring, empowering, and important speech
- and then share it with us.

After her speech, SMAS Student Council Adviser Stephanie Kriebel
presented Wendy with a special award from OTAN

Stephanie Kriebel and Wendy Samayoa
with OTAN award.
SMAS Director Tim Doyle in the background.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Results of Surveys about Possible Changes to Credentialing System for Adult Education

This Spring the Legislative Analyst Office recommended getting rid of the K-12 Adult School credential.  You can read more about that here.

I created a survey asking folks their thoughts on this entitled, "Keep, Change, Throw Away."  You can see that post and the survey here.

Results of survey intended for Adult Ed folks across the state of California

Results of survey intended for San Mateo Adult School teachers.

Be sure to click on "Responses" to read the details of what people think.

Two things seem clear from the surveys:

*  The credential system needs improvement

*  Many people in Adult Education do not feel their voice and ideas are heard or valued.

I do feel my voice is valued - and perhaps that is because I have engaged in so much advocacy work - including starting and running this blog.  But closer to the truth, I think, is that I started the blog and engage in advocacy work because I think our ideas and voices matter and have power.  Skills and organization amplify our voices and bring our ideas to the table.  How the larger conversations go depends on many factors - who else is at the table, how much our ideas threaten the status quo, what else is going on at the table and in the larger zeitgeist, etc.   But as we have seen over and over throughout history, skill, organization and commitment played as a long game have tremendous power.

Thank you to each of you who took the time to answer the survey.  Your voices and ideas make a difference and I will do my best to get them out there through these survey results. 

I was very late in taking the surveys, myself, in closing the survey, and now in sharing results due to my efforts to to keep shoes on my child's feet (said the shoemaker).  You can see I also bungled my responses in a way that doesn't misrepresent my views but make it a bit hard understanding them.

But finally!  Here they are!  The results!

Please take a look at them and consider the responses, ideas, views, etc. 

Discussion of this recommendation by the LAO to drop the Adult School credential went quiet this summer - but I am sure it will return.  We must be ready to engage in meaningful dialogue about the value of a credential in Adult Education. With facts and good ideas, we must push for what we think best serves the profession and our students.

- Cynthia Eagleton

Mom, blog author, ESL teacher at SMAS, vice-president of CFT Local 4681, sometime ball dropper.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

CFT Local 4681 Endorses AB 2098 - Immigrant Integration Metrics

San Mateo Federation of Teachers
Local 4681 of
California Federation of Teachers
Representing the Teachers of San Mateo Adult School

July 14, 2018

Re:  AB 2098 (McCarty and Thurmond) - Support

Dear Assembly Members McCarty and Thurmond,

We the teachers of CFT Local 4681 are writing to thank you for authoring  AB 2098 -
the bill that establishes immigrant integration metrics. We are very much in support of it.

We are teachers at San Mateo Adult School.  Most of us teach English as a Second Language.  
Others teach in the GED and High School Diploma, Career Tech Education, or Fifty Plus (Older Adults)
programs. Our school is part of ACCEL, the Regional Consortium providing Adult Education for the
County of San Mateo.

A few facts about the area we serve:

  • As of 2010, San Mateo County ranked fourth among counties in California and eight across the nation in the concentration of foreign-born residents.
  • Between 2000 and 2010 San Mateo County’s immigrant population increased more than any other county in California, from 25.5 to 33.3 percent.
  • Learn more about Immigrants in San Mateo County

Our school excels at immigrant integration.  We are often cited as a model of “how to do it” for
other Adult Schools and Adult Ed programs throughout the state.  

Examples of immigrant integration in action at our school:

Adult Education was restructured during the period of public education cutbacks following the global
financial meltdown.   The focus was narrowed from a broad mission that had always included
immigrant integration to college and career readiness.  It’s place in the budget was even changed
from K-12 and/or Higher Ed to Work Force.

College and career are important.  But they don’t stand unless they are founded on community.
As we see when we look at the current state of our nation - this is not just about Adult Education or
immigrants.  This is about human beings and what enables us to function in healthy ways. STEM - without ethics - becomes abuse.  Knowledge - without values - is dangerous. A nation - without civics - courts collapse. Human beings - however much they seem able to thanks to technology - do not live in isolation.  They - we - live in community. In order to do so relatively peacefully, with some measure of health for both the group and the individuals which constitute it, we must understand each other, have and use relational skills, abide by a set of common rules and customs, and agree on methods to address the problems which invariably arise.

Adult Education has always emphasized these points and taught the skills that support them --
until it was restructured in the recent financial collapse.  In the midst of a recession, one can
understand how an emphasis on workforce skills might seem the answer. But back up a minute
and look at how we got into that financial meltdown.  Were the bankers and Wall Street executives
responsible for that catastrophe gainfully employed? Very much so. What then, caused the collapse? Failure to regulate themselves or their industry - a lack of ethics - was embedded in what happened.  Workforce training isn’t all of what is needed in the midst of a recession. That’s why the New Deal included more than just jobs - it included civic renewal projects, banking regulation, history, the arts, and protection for labor.    

Employment alone also does nothing to inoculate against divisiveness.  Again, we need only to look
around at the current state of affairs in our nation to understand that a job doesn’t stop bullying,
cruelty, or abuse.  It doesn’t stop trolling on the Internet, hacking of elections, or manipulation of
public sentiment. It doesn’t prevent hatred from seeping into civic and workplace discourse or
slow the march of the KKK in our city streets.  Education does - education that includes an emphasis
on our common values, rule of law, and underlying unity.

Immigrant integration - skillful, ethical civic and community engagement - sets the compass for
immigrants to function as powerful engines of civic, community and economic health  - in addition
to functioning at top level as parents, family, and neighbors.

This is what we want, right?  We want residents of California to speak a common language, to be
great parents raising great kids, friendly neighbors who pitch in and help out in times of need,
coworkers with skills to help workplaces thrive and businesses excel, contributors to the mighty
enterprise that is California, shoulders to the wheel, hearts open and wide, hands ready to help.   

That’s only possible when immigrants have the skills that immigrant integration programs provide.

If AB 2098 doesn’t pass through into law, we fear that these programs will lose funding. In fact just
today we found out that funding for our EL Civics program was cut by half.

In today’s world, what isn’t measured, often isn’t seen and isn’t funded.

It’s urgent that AB 2098 is pushed forward into law.  If we can help you in that work,
by providing you with evidence of the value of immigrant integration programs, let us know.  
We have plenty of evidence at our school and are ready to provide it in writing or by speaking at
committee hearings.

On behalf of the members of CFT Local 4681,

Cynthia Eagleton
Vice President of CFT Local 4681
ESL Teacher at San Mateo Adult School

Slide from San Mateo Adult School
 Student Leader Presentation about
Student Leadership and Immigrant Integration
Presented at the
2017 CCAE Bay Conference 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Adult Ed Staff and Supporters!

Good and urgent news:

Good news:  Allies and CCAE have made great progress in pushing forward a way for us to measure ---

because let's face it, right now at this point in US history, everything has to be measured ---

community "success" --- specifically immigrant integration metrics.

Why is this important?  Because in order for something to get funded, legislators need to see and measure it.   That's how things work. If we want something funded - we need to show a need, show how the need is met, measure results, etc.

If we can measure immigrant integration, it will be possible to get it funded.

Some schools promote college, career, and community --- but officially, statewide, the mission of Adult Ed is essentially college and career.


We Need to Support AB 2098

What’s AB 2098?

AB 2098 is legislation sponsored by

* Kevin McCarty - a former Adult School student out of Sacramento -
* and co-sponsored by Tony Thurmond - out of West Contra Costa, who has been a big supporter of Adult Ed and is running for Calif Superintendent of Education  ---

that requires the California Department of Education to use immigrant integration metrics.

From CCAE:  This bill would  require CDE to categorize the various EL Civics COAAPs into eight categories that paint a complete picture of effective integration into American society. 

Let’s break that down:  

  • metrics are a way to measure something.
  • Immigrant integration is when immigrants successfully merge into US culture.

Examples of immigrant integration:

  • Disaster preparedness - earthquakes, fire, etc.
  • Attending a PTO meeting at your child’s school
  • Attending a parent-teacher or IEP meeting regarding your child
  • Attending a City Council meeting
  • Getting a library card, accessing educational resources
  • Volunteering - at the Second Harvest Food Bank, SPCA, Neighborhood or Beach Clean-Up, etc.
  • Learning how democracy works
  • Participating in democratic systems, including Student Council
  • Becoming a citizen
  • Voting
  • Getting involved in local community events and organizations
  • Safe health practices - individual/public health
  • Safe driving, safe disposal of motor oil

Info from CCAE and Allies

You can read all about AB2018 here. in this info sheet from CCAE - California Council of Adult Education.
Read about Immigrant Integration on the Allies website.

Urgent News

The Chancellor of Community Colleges is pushing back on AB2098.  This is a big problem. We need to act now to show our support.

What can you do?

  • You can - and should - write a letter or email and share a copy of it with CCAE

What to do:

  • Write a letter or email in support of AB2018 - explain why you think immigrant integration is important
  • Give examples - disaster preparedness, civic engagement, understanding and participating in democracy, volunteering to help elders, people in need, children, animals, the environment, etc., support and engagement in children’s education, using the library,
  • You can write one letter that you send to the same people
  • Send the letter or email to Kevin McCarty, Tony Thurmond, and the state legislators who represent you and/or our local San Mateo reps (listed below)
  • Send a copy of your letter or email to Dawn Koepke who is spearheading support for AB2098 for CCAE ---

Sample Letter

Don’t worry about it being perfect.  It can be brief and to the point.

Legislators generally already have a lot of facts.   What they need is

  • To know who you are - teacher, staff member, former student
  • to know how much people want something - is there a big need for it?
  • Stories that illustrate why something is needed and/or why it works
  • Offers of help - it’s hard to get legislation pushed through into law
  • Lists of organizations, schools, people who are behind something - that helps when they are talking about it, making a case for it

Sample Letter

Dear ------------------,

I’m a ESL teacher at San Mateo Adult School writing in support of AB 2098.  I know how important immigrant integration is - I see it every day. When our students learn how to volunteer in the community, participate in events at their child’s school, or become an officer in our Student Council - everything changes.  From even a single one of these events, they grow in confidence and then begin to seek out new opportunities to participate in and contribute in civic life, their child’s education, and day to day interactions with neighbors and co-workers. It changes how they view themselves and the community in which they live.  They become real participants and contributors - empowered and empowering. That benefits everyone.

Right now, we can’t measure that - and we need to - because it’s a vital part of what we do in Adult Education.  It needs to be recognized and funded - and measuring its success is part of how that happens.

Thank you for sponsoring this bill.  Please push as hard as you can for it.  If there is something specific staff at my school can do, please let us know.  We are very much in support of the bill.


Cynthia Eagleton
ESL Teacher at San Mateo Adult School 20 years plus

Other possibilities

Provide a bullet point list of immigrant integration of your students
Note that this needs to be measured because Adult Ed is not just career and college readiness - that doesn’t capture everything we do.
Provide links to blog posts about student accomplishments.
Provide student quotes.

To see a fancier type letter which really goes into the facts and lays out a case for AB 2098, here’s the South Bay Consortium for Adult Education’s letter.

Don’t stress out about writing a perfect or fancy letter.

  • Write your own letter.  
  • Brief is okay.
  • Writing an imperfect letter is more effective than stressing out about not being perfect and then not doing anything and then rationalizing that your letter wouldn’t have been good enough anyway.  
  • Think about what you tell students, friends, and family when they are afraid of making mistakes.
  • And then take your own advice.  

Contact Info for Legislators

Bill Sponsors McCarty and Thurmond:

Thank them and give them evidence to use pushing the bill forward

Assembly Member Kevin McCarty
Capitol Office
P.O. Box 942849,  Sacramento, CA 94249-0007
Tel: (916) 319-2007
District Office:
915 L Street, Suite 110,  Sacramento, CA 95814
Tel: (916) 324-4676

Assembly Member Tony Thurmond
Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0015, Tel: (916) 319-2015
District Office: Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street, Suite 2201, Oakland, 94612
Tel: (510) 286-1400

Remember to email a copy of what you write and to whom to
Dawn Koepke:

Writing your own legislators

  • Tell them who you are
  • Tell them you support AB 2098
  • Tell them why you support it
  • Remind them you are a constituent or work in their area

Find your legislators:

Local legislators for San Mateo area:

  1. Senator Jerry Hill:

  • Capitol Office State Capitol, Room 5035, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 651-4013
  • District Office   1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 303, San Mateo, CA 94402      Phone: (650) 212-3313

2. Assembly Member Kevin Mullin:

  • Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0022               Tel: (916) 319-2022
  • District Office: 1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 302, San Mateo, CA 94402        Tel: (650) 349-2200

3. San Francisco area legislators

4. Hayward area legislators

Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0020
Tel: (916) 319-2020
District Office: 22320 Foothill Blvd, Suite 540, Hayward, CA 94541
Tel:  (510) 583-8818

Remember to email a copy of what you write and to whom to
Dawn Koepke: