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Learning English Was a Life-Changing Experience for Gladys Chanco

For Redwood City’s Gladys Chanco, enrolling in community-based English courses offered by Cañada College was a way to help her six-year-old daughter with her homework.

Chanco’s daughter was enrolled at Selby Lane Elementary School. “I learned about the English courses from a flyer that my daughter brought home. I needed to help my little daughter with her homework so I had to learn English. I remember going to class with her and feeling proud that I would be able to help her.”

Chanco passed the English as a Second Language 800 course and was so encouraged by her success that she began to set new goals. “My second target was to finish the first four levels of ESL and earn my ACE (Academic Command of English) Certificate. Today, I’m taking ESL 400 and I’m preparing for a course in accounting. I want to finish all of the ESL courses so that I can earn my associate degree in accounting.”

In addition to opening a door to a new career, having command of English made Chanco’s day-to-day life easier. “I passed the driver’s exam and got my license and now I’m able to drive myself around. I’m able to study for my citizenship exam next year. I’m also able to meet with my daughter’s teacher during parent-teacher conference without the need of a translator.”

Chanco said people who come to Redwood City without the ability to speak English should register for the community-based English courses offered by Cañada. “It’s never too late to start studying,” she said. “Studying English as a second language will open the door to many opportunities. It was the best decision I ever made in my life.”

The Cañada College CBET/Off-Campus ESL Program is a collaboration between the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD), the Redwood City School District (RCSD), and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The CBET/Off-Campus ESL Program provides language and computer skills classes for the workforce. These ESL and computer classes, offered at seven different sites in the South San Mateo County community, serve as a bridge to on-campus academic and career programs. Upon completing the program, students receive the English for the Workforce Award.

For more information, please contact: Jenny Castello, ESL and CBET, Department Coordinator –; Diana Espinoza-Osuna, ESL and CBET, Retention Specialist –; or the ESL and CBET/Off-Campus ESL Program- (650) 306-3388.


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