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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Judith  Harwood, Mendocino-Lake Community College District

Mendocino College, adult school collaborate to launch college noncredit course

The Challenge

For many years, adult schools located within the Mendocino Lake Adult and Career Education (ML ACE) consortium and Mendocino College have provided English as a second language (ESL) instruction independent of one another. Prior to Assembly Bill 86/104, the adult schools and the community college competed for students. To change that relationship and find a way to work together to better serve adult learners in the region, the consortium hosted a series of AB86 summits that emphasized collaboration amongst the consortium’s members. The summits focused on different program areas, including ESL, high school equivalency and allied health career technical education (CTE). The ESL summits brought together adult school and community college faculty to discuss ESL levels and curriculum, as well as the challenges associated with serving students in remote areas.

The Solution

To address the instructional and geographic challenges, ESL faculty and leadership at both the adult schools and Mendocino College collaborated to share curriculum and explore how they could further share resources to provide optimal services for ESL learners in Anderson Valley, which is a remote area about an hour’s drive from the Mendocino College campus.

The group discovered an overlap in Mendocino College’s noncredit curriculum and the Anderson Valley Adult School teaching objectives. So, AB104 resources were used to provide startup expenses, such as books and materials, to begin a noncredit class at the Anderson Valley Adult School. The group lined up a college ESL instructor, and the noncredit Mendocino College class launched in the spring 2016 semester. Through collaboration, MLACE was able to leverage college apportionment funding for instruction and use AEBG funds for instructional materials, assessment, and other costs associated with the class. The Anderson Valley Adult School administrator is coordinating the facility and working with college staff to support students in the college enrollment process. Also, 3SP noncredit funding and Basic Skills Initiative (BSI) funds are being used for ESL outreach to send college staff to the adult school for the registration process.

The class continues to be offered today and has served as a model for expanding programs by leveraging Mendocino College apportionment to pay for instructors at adult school locations throughout the district. By fall 2017, the college will be offer ESL classes at Ukiah Adult School using the same model used in Anderson Valley. Curriculum for college HiSET preparation classes was approved by the chancellor’s office in spring 2017, opening the door to use this model for HiSET preparation courses at adult school locations, as well. The college will be working on noncredit basic computer skills curriculum to offer classes at adult school locations by fall 2018.


The addition of the Anderson Valley Adult School class, in partnership with Mendocino College, has allowed the consortium to expand the number of ESL students it serves in the joint regions. By leveraging college apportionment to fund instruction, Anderson Valley was able to offer an ESL class in a rural location where students were previously being underserved. The class provided the foundation for exploring other opportunities in which the Mendocino College curriculum could be introduced into adult school education in order to streamline, reduce duplication and prioritize classes that afford apportionment for enrollment. This model is now the key strategy the ML ACE uses to simultaneously align curriculum, create seamless transitions and leverage resources.

The Data

Thirty-three students enrolled in the new ESL class in the spring 2016 semester, which was the largest enrollment of any other ESL class in the district. During the 2016-17 school year, there were three sections offered with a total cumulative enrollment of 75 students. Three sections are planned again for the 2017-18 academic year. ML ACE expects similar enrollment for ESL at Ukiah Adult School in 2017-18.

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