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October Newsletter 2020

Dear MCAEL Network:

There is a great deal on our minds as we close out October and the early fall: the election, increasing COVID rates in our area, and questions about what the winter will bring. Despite the weight of these matters, the coalition is continuing with classes, we are offering trainings, and supporting ESOL programs and instructors in many ways outside of the day-to-day teaching of ESOL classes.

We also know that the success of any online interaction rests on having internet access, computers and digital skills. You can see below that we are participating in community work around this. Check out my blog post on how I am framing this issue and the work that I think needs to be coordinated in our community.

Personally, I am finding much inspiration from talking with the program managers and instructors as much as I can. Last week I held my monthly Drop-In ZOOM Coffee hour and I was blown away by the innovative work that many programs are doing to meet the needs of their constituents.

I am channeling that feeling of inspiration and hope as we go through the next weeks and hope we all can share the bright spots with each other.

MCAEL In The Community:
Voter Education

Thank you to Dr. Gilberto Zelaya of Montgomery County Board of Elections, and Montgomery Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Evan Glass for being a part
of our Voter Education Panel. For many learners, especially those taking classes to become citizens, voting is an important goal. From an ESOL perspective, as the ability to speak English increases so does the opportunity for immigrants to become part of the electorate. Read about how our work activates learners in
their communities

With this in mind, MCAEL hosted this panel discussion to have this information readily available for our community. The presentation provided information on registering to vote, how to vote safely and securely in Montgomery County and information to help voters understand and decide how to vote on Montgomery County Charter Amendment questions. See resources from the discussion here.

If you missed the presentation watch it now:


Nonprofit Covid-19 Response Meeting

MCAEL participated in a Nonprofit Montgomery discussion on the digital divide. We know, from continued discussions within our coalition, that immigrant adults are one population dealing with a trio of challenges 1) do they have reliable and affordable internet 2) does a family have enough computers or tablets to meet the families’ needs and optimize school, work and medical appointments 3) are their digital literacy skills sufficient, making this conversation one that MCAEL is pleased to be leading the way on in order to identify needs and collaborative solutions. 

Representatives in this meeting ranged from Adult Ed, Healthcare, K-12 and young adults. They reported how this issue has been exacerbated by Covid, providing examples of how the digital divide has affected their communities.

There is work to do to close the gap and MCAEL looks forward to joining with other nonprofits, agencies and businesses to address these issues as they will be crucial to our recovery and for life beyond the pandemic. See the recap notes here and watch the meeting here :


Find an English Class Now:

Our flyer with info on English classes in Montgomery County is now available in Amharic, Spanish and Chinese. Please contact us to receive electronic versions of them. Find our online Provider Directory here and a fall/winter class page with current open registration info here.

An Open Letter About our Work and Challenges Since March 

Did you read our Executive Director’s Letter? Kathy Stevens shares some observations about the work of MCAEL provider organizations, challenges learners face, and some considerations as we chart our priorities and pathway going forward. It continues to be a complex picture. Read the letter here.


Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 10:09

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