Photo by Tom Jung, San Mateo Adult School
Round table discussion report from CATESOL Northern Regional Conference.
The 2013 Northern Regional CATESOL Conference on Saturday May 4th gave us a wonderful opportunity to bring together a panel of ESL educators from community colleges and adult schools to talk about A Collaborative Vision for Serving Adult Learners. It was a chance to share ways of thinking about the two systems, how they differ, what they share and how they both strive to serve adult learners through the different historic filters that have shaped them.
The session was moderated by KQED Education and the panel brought considerable experience and expertise from both sectors to the table. Dr Bob Harper, Director of Campbell Adult School and Kristen Pursley, Lead Teacher from West Contra Costa Adult Education, presented their vision for adult education and Greg Keech, elected Chair of ESL at CCSF and Sonja Franeta, former Chair of ESL at Laney College, spoke to issues confronting noncredit ESL provision in community colleges. Both sectors addressed ways to work together towards a fair and equitable system that meets the needs of non native speakers in Northern Californian communities.
Greg Keech laid out the context for this discussion in his post on KQED ESL Insights blog - What is Noncredit? “What is known as "adult education" in the K-12 system is generally known as noncredit in Community Colleges. In the ESL realm, there have been two separate entities delivering instruction: some districts have adult ESL classes under their local K-12 district, while credit instruction is provided by the community college; in other areas, the community college district provides both credit and noncredit ESL, though not always under the same roof.” Our panelists offered examples of the differing systems - City College of San Francisco provides both credit and noncredit ESL classes, whereas Laney College offers only credit ESL courses.