ESL certificate program offers students new goals

Photo of ESL coordinator Katy Agnost in 2013. Agnost discussed the new ESL certificates

Photo of ESL coordinator Katy Agnost in 2013. Agnost discussed the new ESL certificates

Daniel Maraccini

Beginning this semester, students in Diablo Valley College’s English as a Second Language Program are eligible for three new certificates of achievement.

The certificates are earned upon completing one of three sequences of ESL classes.

The ESL Conversation Certificate is the most basic of the three. It is a four unit sequence that focuses on English pronunciation, comprehension and conversation.

Second in the program is the Intermediate ESL Reading and Writing Certificate. It is a 12 unit sequence that focuses on improving students’ essay writing, critical reading and critical thinking skills.

The Advanced ESL Reading and Writing Certificate is the third and last in the program. Students continue to study reading and writing, but at more advanced levels. In addition, they take counseling classes that help prepare them for careers or more schooling.

ESL coordinator Katy Agnost commented on how the new program will benefit students.

“We’re hoping it gives students a goal to shoot for,” she said. “If they know they’re going to transfer, that’s one goal, but a lot of our students are here just to learn language for job skills or work skills.”

Those job and work skills have DVC English professor and key contributor to the certificate program, Keri Dulaney-Greger, thinking of even more options for ESL students.

“We’re thinking of all these ideas,” Dulaney-Greger said. “We want to offer students the possibility of linking up with content areas…with vocational areas, and then possibly with counseling.”

A pervasive feeling for both Agnost and Dulaney-Greger is that of support from DVC administrators. As evidence, Dulaney-Greger points to the hiring of DVC’s first full time ESL teacher, Kelvin Moran, who she says has come with “loads of ideas about refugees and immigrants.”

“In some ways I feel that this is the nascent stage for the ESL program in terms of new possibilities,” she said. “I feel like so much is possible.”