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Friday, June 9, 2017


3rd Annual MCAEL Meeting

MCAEL is in the third year of holding its annual meeting, where board, staff and coalition members come together to share updates and discuss the future of ESOL in the county. This annual meeting has come to be a valuable resource and dialogue on the current ESOL landscape.

The depth of conversations at these meetings have sparked many coalition ideas and initiatives. On May 18, 2017, more than 20 people attended and discussed program successes, challenges and opportunities. Hosted at Signal Financial offices in Kensington, thanks to MCAEL Board Member Martin Yescas –the meeting provided a rich discussion and learning opportunity. MCAEL shared updates from the last year which included:

  • Updates on the county funded MCAEL grant  process which is currently underway for FY18, work place based pilot programs at Asbury Methodist Village and Adventist Healthcare. We shared updates on the coalition Instructor Observations project. We are excited about publishing an updated instructor tool-kit due to be published in the summer. We have received positive feedback on the first printing of the MCAEL Provider Directory in Spanish. We had a great collaboration with Ana G. Mendez for Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) week in 2016 and are looking forward to a strong AEFL week for 2017.
  • Catholic Charities, Community Ministries of Rockville and Linkages to Learning shared their success on leveraging funds for a combined professional development training held in February. The three groups hosted a weekend of training for their ESOL instructors. Debi Edick of Linkages to Learning talked about the opportunity to network that MCAEL offers as the impetus behind the collaboration between the providers.


Adult ESOL programs rely on volunteers and talented staff.

  • Julieta Machado of Catholic Charities talked about the creative and supportive team she has, who go above and beyond to assist students with their learning goals and sometimes even employment. Machado stated that they have good processes in place and a motivated staff.
  • “The foundation of MCAEL has always been to work collaboratively” says Cecilia Rojas of Community Ministries of Rockville. Rojas was excited to report on new conversation classes that have been a great addition to their program. A program that students are also very excited about.
  • As a new grantee, Covenant Life Church shared that  that being accepted into the grant program gave them an opportunity to improve on what has been working. Becoming a MCAEL grantee gives legitimacy to their organization and motivates staff/volunteers who are very committed.

Many programs identified common challenges such as:  

Providers shared thoughts on adult Education that we already know.

  • For learners, the balance between work and English classes remains an obstacle. Providers think there is opportunity for technology to play a role in addressing this issue.


MCAEL relies on these annual meetings to hear about what is happening on the ground, to build relationships and to collaborate on innovative solutions for the future. These rich conversations help the board and community stakeholders have a clearer idea on the work we do and the challenges we face. By working together, we will continue to improve the quality of ESOL instruction. Thank you to everyone who attended. See you next year!

"Having a literate and knowledgeable community serves to improve the quality of all our lives."
Philip Bonner
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