Summer 2008 Volume 1, Issue 2
A Newsletter for San Mateo Adult School faculty and staff
A small but vital part of the Adult School
OPEN HOUSE DRAWS CROWD!
is our Secondary Education department,
which helps prepare adults and out-of-
school youth to earn their high school
diploma or a G.E.D. Typically we award
over one hundred diplomas and certifi-
cates each year. The culminating activity
of the year is our annual commencement
ceremony to recognize our graduates.
This year the ceremony will be
held at the College of San Mateo's
lose to 150 community members visited the SMART Center on
Arts Theater on Thursday, June 19,
at 7:00 pm. Family and friends of March 14 for the Adult School’s first Open House. The day-long
the graduates are invited and all event, scheduled to coincide with California’s Adult Education Week,
faculty and staff are welcome. was an opportunity to showcase some of our outstanding 50 Plus and
While not as large as a typical high fee-based programs and teachers.
school graduation, ours is a most mean-
ingful event for many graduates who The day began with a 30-minute “Yoga Sampler,” led by instructor
never expected to receive such recogni- Matthew McGovern. Following the yoga, Dr. Karl Knopf, coordinator
tion. Student speakers from a cross sec- of Foothill College’s Adaptive Fitness program, informed and enter-
tion of our graduates share their person- tained the audience with tips on healthy aging, including the benefits of
al stories of triumph against the odds to
exercise. He noted that with the outstanding selection of classes
complete their goal. The evening’s guests
will include Dr. David Miller, PhD, offered for little to no cost through the Adult School’s 50 Plus pro-
Superintendent of the San Mateo Union gram, we have made it easy and fun for community members to stay
High School District, and Mr. David Pine, physically, mentally, and socially active.
representing our Board of Trustees. On display throughout the day were paintings in oil, watercolor,
We will present over $10,000 from
our scholarship fund to provide financial and acrylic mediums and ceramics and other art by student artists in
assistance for continuing education to teachers Jeri McGovern, John Warner, Julie Andrews Paladino, and Lisa
some of our graduates. Major donors to Evens’ painting and ceramics classes. Many of the artists were on hand
the fund include: the Burlingame and San to discuss their work. In a session that was touching, humorous, and
Mateo Scottish Rite Bodies and their associ-
personal, budding student poets and authors from Carolyn Ybarra and
ated Masonic Lodges, the Rotary Club of
Foster City, the East Bay Club of Printing Katherine Lieban’s creative writing classes read from their poetry, fic-
House Craftsmen, Mrs. Jane and Mr. John tion, and nonfiction writing.
Winters, Mr. and Mrs. John Shipman, Attendees were also treated to a taste of our cooking classes, with a
Mr. and Mrs. John Nelson, and Mr. and Mrs. Cajun/Creole cooking demonstration by instructor Charlmaigne
Bill Price. We will also present the first
scholarship award from a fund bequeathed Thibodeaux. The chicken and sausage gumbo and homemade pralines
to us for this purpose by the estate of the were a big hit. continued on page 2
late Lynda Mathe, co-coordinator of our
Fifty Plus program, who passed away last
year. We are most grateful to our loyal
donors who have contributed generously
over these many years.
For additional information or a per-
sonal invitation, please see Carlota.
San Mateo Adult School
789 E. Poplar Avenue
Open House, continued from page 1
San Mateo, CA 94401 Banjo instructor and San Francisco
(650) 558-2100 Banjo Band director Bill Portman led a
www.smace.org rousing afternoon banjo jamboree.
The San Mateo Adult School is a serv- Unbeknownst to the audience, most of
ice of the San Mateo Union High Bill’s students had never performed in
School District to the communities of front of a crowd!
Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, The day closed with Tom Jung
Millbrae, San Bruno, and San Mateo. demonstrating the magic and ease of
Photoshop Elements in manipulating
Staff digital photos.
Lawrence Teshara, Director Although the majority of attendees
Tim Doyle, Assistant Director were current students in the 50 Plus program, most of them had never
Fred Thompson, Assistant Director been to our main campus (most 50 Plus classes take place off-site) and
Thomas Jung, Vocational & Fee-Based they were not familiar with the school’s other programs. Many brought
Jeri McGovern, 50 Plus & Adults with friends who were not yet enrolled in 50 Plus classes.
Disabilities We are pleased with the results: attendee feedback tells us that cur-
Connie Zakos, Adult Secondary & rent students feel a stronger connection to the Adult School; new stu-
Basic Education dents signed up for classes; and many current students said they were
Cynthia Eagleton, ESL Outreach interested in trying new classes in addition to their existing selections.
Stephanie Funk, Volunteer & We continue to receive positive feedback from participants and the
question, “When is the next Open House taking place?!”
Many thanks to the SMART Center staff, who provided a warm
welcome and assistance to our visitors. Thank you to teacher Stephanie
Welcome new teachers: Navarro for help with set-up, and to all the teachers who encouraged
their students to participate in the event. Special thanks to Mr. T for his
Greg Biles role in making the event possible, Tim Doyle for his behind-the-scenes
Building Futures support and encouragement, Fred Thompson for securing the banjo
Alesha Dentoni band, and Jeri McGovern and Tom Jung for their Herculean efforts in
ESL Multi Level, Workers Resource planning, coordinating, and executing a very successful event in a very
Center; ESL High Beginning short amount of time.
50 Plus: Vintage Sewing, Earth Day (and Night) = Cleaner, Greener Campus
Intergenerational Knitting On Friday, May 2, all of the onsite ESL classes participated in an Earth Day
planting and campus cleanup.Thursday evening a large group of students
from the Workers Resource Center
Concurrent program, Literature came over and helped with planting.
Natalie Montoya Students removed weeds and over-
Concurrent program, Business English grown bushes in the old parking lot,
planted two coast live oaks in the
islands, and spread 5 cubic yards of
shredded redwood bark as ground
ESL Multi Level, Workers Resource cover and weed deterrent in unplanted
Melvin Ong The parking lot and street side of
the school was picked clean of trash, as
ESL Low Advanced
well as all areas around the SMART
Center and the East campus. Students
also cleaned the classrooms, removed
SMART Connections • 2 • Summer 2008
DEPARTMENT NEWS: ESL Location,
Farewell, Dave Willey Location!
Do your students
A leader in many ways, Dave Willey is lead-
know that we offer
ing a 1980s Adult School boomlet of ESL
ESL classes and/or
teachers into retirement.
Distance Learning in a number of off-
Dave was hired along with many others
campus locations in San Bruno, Foster
after enactment of the Immigration Reform
City, Burlingame, and San Mateo? Help
and Control Act (Amnesty Act) of 1986.
us get the word out!
The Act allowed formerly undocumented
If you have students who are
people to gain legal status with one of the
struggling to find the time and trans-
requirements being that they needed to attend 40 hours of English
portation to get to on-campus classes,
instruction. A flood of new students led the Adult School to lower the
we may have a classroom location clos-
requirements to teach in the ESL program somewhat (a pulse and an
er to their home and/or work. Check
ability to stay awake for 3 hours were necessary).
the Schedule of Classes for more
With Dave’s considerably higher teaching prowess, he was able to
keep his job after the wave subsided and he became a leader in the
We also have classes tailored to
efforts to raise the professionalism of the school. He became president
meet the following needs:
of the Teachers Union in 1995 and his steadying influence on the con-
tract negotiation process and his willingness to keep open communica- Childcare: The ESL classes at George
tion with all school parties has led some teachers to declare him Hall, Sunnybrae, and Washington
President- for-Life. Elementary Schools include childcare
In the classroom Dave exerted the same calm presence. He was an for children age three and over.
anchor in the evening ESL program, teaching four evenings a week for 50 Plus: Seniors get their own special
the 20 years he was at the school, in addition to his afternoon conver- focus in ESL and Citizenship classes at
sation classes. While most ESL students refer to their instructors as the Central Park Recreation Center/
“Teacher”, Dave had the unique name of “The Nice Teacher with the Self-Help Center for the Elderly.
Beard.” At his retirement party in March, Dave was showered with lim- Workers: The Day Labor Center offers
ericks, stories, and thanks, all of which carried the theme that he is a ESL classes tailored to the needs of
great guy who will be sorely missed. young men looking for work.
Dave plans to work back into shape to make some long treks in
Distance Learning: We now offer
national park lands and to continue on with his work of granting
Distance Learning checkout in three
scholarships to prospective students at the University of Nevada-Reno.
locations: St. Lukes’ Church in Foster
How the scholarship work came about is an interesting story. You can
City, the Adult School in San Mateo,
ask Dave about it because he revealed that he has accepted a position
and St. Bruno’s Church in San Bruno.
as a GED test examiner and will still be seen around the Adult School
several times a month. Good luck and see you around, Dave! Workplace Classes: The Adult School
—By Tim Doyle is willing to open new classes at new
locations if the numbers warrant it, so
let your students know if their work-
gum from the underside of tables, washed walls, and cleaned windows and place has a big enough need, we can
desktops.They took out all recycling and any extra papers that teachers
bring a class to them!
were not using.The campus looked great for the start of the new semes-
ter! We held a BBQ party (with our new BBQ) after the clean up.The —By Cynthia Eagleton
Adult School provided the hamburgers and the students brought every-
thing else.We fed almost 600 students and staff! International Day:
Thank you to the staff who helped organize the event and all of the
June 12 (evening)
staff and students who helped dig, plant, wash, and cook our way through a
successful Earth Day and Night! June 13 (day)
—By Fred Thompson
SMART Connections • 3 • Summer 2008
Volunteer Looking Back
The following is an excerpt from the farewell message of for-
Spotlight mer ELD Assistant, Meredith Hystadt. Meredith offers a
Welcome new volunteers: thoughtful reflection on the work we do here at the Adult
School, and it seems appropriate to reprint her inspiring
Alpha (Citizenship) message as the summer semester progresses.
Gina (ESL) “To be a part of this unique community has
Leonel (ESL) been the greatest privilege, highest honor, sometimes a challenge, and
Magdalen (ESL) always deeply satisfying. In the office and in the classroom, we are part-
Margaret (ESL) ners as we attempt to meet the needs and address the interests of our
Patricia (ESL) diverse student population. Students enter with a mixed sense of inter-
Stephanie (ESL) est, curiosity, determination, and caution. And we welcome each one.
We, as a school, serve senior citizens, adults with disabilities, non-
Thank you to our returning English-speaking adults, parents, future U.S. citizens, budding chefs,
and long-time volunteers: aspiring tradesmen, photographers, and employees in transition. We
Amihan (ESL) offer returning students the chance to complete high school diplomas
Anna (ESL) or earn a GED. There are classes for the community that help with
Carol (ESL) managing finances, upholstery, digital photography, and much more.
Clara (Citizenship) Basic to the ELD position is a respect for the richness of cultural
Darryl (Citizenship) diversity, and an appreciation of the courage required for a person to
Ellen (ESL) integrate into a different life, to embrace a new country and its tradi-
Hannah (Citizenship) tions, attitudes and rules. Our students’ educational and cultural back-
Jim (Citizenship) grounds are myriad; from no education to advanced degrees; from
Kaveh (Citizenship) abject poverty to great wealth; from 18 years of age to more than 80;
Louella (ESL) from dictatorships to democracies to tribes.
Maggie (Citizenship) It must be a priority to make each applicant feel welcome, comfort-
Maria (ESL) able, respected and understood. It is a privilege to be trusted with this
Patrick (Citizenship) responsibility, as we are the first experience many of our students
Shirley (ESL) encounter as they adjust to being the newest Americans. Our immi-
Susan (Citizenship) grants, after all, contribute the ingredient that made this country great -
HOPE. And we can help to smooth their way.”
If you are a teacher interested in utiliz-
Longtime San Mateo Adult School volunteer James Nacey
ing volunteers in your class, or you are
passed away this winter during his battle with lung cancer.
a student or community member inter-
Born in Liverpool, England, James immigrated to California in
ested in volunteering your time, please
1970 and for many years was a radiation physicist in the Oncology
contact us, (650) 558-2100.
Department at Stanford Medical Center. After retiring in 1998 he spent
Potential volunteers are asked to
much of his time volunteering for various organizations, and was a
fill out an application (available online)
dedicated volunteer in teacher Aleth Reilley’s Citizenship classes.
and observe at least one class before
Aleth offers this remembrance: “James was such a gentleman. Always
starting their volunteer assignment.
even-tempered and very patient with his group of students, he challenged them to
There is also a one-day tutor orienta-
think about the responsibilities that citizenship entails, as well as the rights it
tion/training conducted by Tim Doyle
would grant them. He was very interested in political events and trends and would
each semester to help ease brand new
bring in newspaper articles to share. We all miss him and will remember him for a
tutors into the ESL and Citizenship
long time. He is leaving us with good memories and an occasional chuckle when we
recall the positive impact he had on the Citizenship class.”
SMART Connections • 4 • Summer 2008