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San Mateo Adult School connects students to community resourcesPublished on May 19, 2019
Stephanie Kriebel, MS, CHESFollowFounder/Director/Programs Developer, SunSpirit Wellness | Partner/Director of Marketing & Operations, OMG! Pretzels
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San Mateo County provides a wealth of community resources for its residents but where does one start to find the resource(s) one needs? This is where San Mateo Adult School (SMAS) comes in.
San Mateo Adult School serves adults 18 and over throughout San Mateo County with programs such as Career and Technical Education (CTE), Job Preparation, Business and Entrepreneurship, High School Diploma/GED, English as a Second Language (ESL), Health & Wellness, Family Education, and more. High-quality, low- and no-cost new and continuing classes are offered throughout the year to support community members in their pursuit of career changes, job promotions, English language development, health promotion and healthy living, financial literacy, starting a business and more to help improve their quality of life and opportunities for success for themselves and their families.
Community partnerships play an important role in our ability to offer students and community members these programs. Organizing events to connect students, community members, and organizations is the key to sharing the plethora of resources available in San Mateo County.
During the month of May, San Mateo Adult School hosted two successful events: a hospitality job fair (May 6) and a health and wellness fair (May 16) to bring community organizations, businesses, and students together. Our recent health fair was made possible through partnerships we have established with the following organizations: Samaritan House of San Mateo, Peninsula Health Care District, Fresh Approach, San Mateo County Health, The City of San Mateo, The Latino Commission, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and the San Mateo County Silicon Valley Conventions and Visitors Bureau.
If you would like to learn more about San Mateo Adult School and partnering with our organization, please contact Stephanie Kriebel, CTE and Health & Wellness Programs Coordinator at skriebel@smuhsd.org or visit our website: www.smuhsd.org/smas.
#SanMateoAdultSchool, #SamaritanHouseofSanMateo, #PeninsulaHealthCareDistrict, #FreshApproach, #SanMateoCountyHealth, #TheCityofSanMateo, #TheLatinoCommission, #PlannedParenthoodMarMonte, #SanMateoCountyConventionsandVisitorsBureau
Stephanie Kriebel, MS, CHESFounder/Director/Programs Developer, 
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San Mateo Adult School Health & Wellness Program hosted a health fair this past Thursday to connect our students to the community resources. 

Thank you to Rob Mabe of Samaritan House, Tamar Back of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Ellen Olack of Fresh Approach, Zack Radcliffe of The City of San Mateo Parks & Recreation/Mobile Recreation, Julie Engberg of Peninsula Health Care District, Luis Moncada of The Latino Commission, Mayra Amador of San Mateo County Health Tobacco Prevention Program, and Albert Nuevo of San Mateo County Health Family Health Service/Childhood Lead Poison Prevention for participating and making this such a successful event! 

Thank you also to San Mateo County Silicon Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau and their "As Fresh as it Gets" program for providing reusable bags for students to collect information! 

And thank you to SMAS Student Council officers Sa Cheng, Carlos Diaz, Oly Velazquez, and Simone Coelho for helping with setup, greeting, and interpretation services!

Fresh Approach



Lead Poisoning Prevention



Mobile Recreation Van


Planned Parenthood

Samaritan House



Diabetes Information

Tobacco Prevention
Carlos, Stephanie, Olivia, Shelley, and Simone


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San Mateo Adult School ESL students volunteered at the Peninsula Family YMCA's "Healthy Kids Day" event on Saturday, April 27.  This event is the YMCA's national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids.  SMAS students volunteered in several areas, including welcoming and checking-in families, leading craft activities, supervising the "bouncy house", and handing out prizes to participating children.  It was a sunny, action-filled day and the adult volunteers seemed to be having as much fun as the children. 

Student volunteer Andrea J. commented, "It was a very beautiful experience last Saturday at YMCA promoting the Healthy Living for Kids event.  To be a volunteer gave me the opportunity to help others, also it is a great way to build my skills".

Student volunteer Anna B. said, "I am so thankful for the work we have been able to complete there and I am eager to take what I have learned back home to help improve my community.  All it takes is a willing heart and a big smile, and you can really change the world one piece at a time.  My favorite part was probably the opportunity that I got to take part in different activities.  I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer experience at YMCA.  Especially, I enjoyed getting to meet all the children. Everyone I have met there has been so friendly and has made my time there so fun. Everything was so chill and we got the chance to learn everything from them and the kids seemed to like these activities a lot."

Two volunteers - smiling at the entry way

Two volunteers - ready to help kids learn!

Two volunteers in front of the bounce house

A volunteer with a bicycle
Volunteers in action with kids 


Volunteer with art supplies - helping a child

Two volunteers and Patty at the entrance of the Peninsula Family YMCA





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Our own Carlota Zuniga is the April winner of the San Mateo Union High School District Classified Golden Apple Award.  The SMUHSD Golden Apple Awards are for outstanding work by classified staff and teachers in the district.

Carlota is the Staff Assistant for the High School Diploma and GED programs.  She helps students get started in the programs, answers questions and provides resources.  She is fluent in Spanish. 

Here is the description of Carlota that was submitted for her award:

"One word that describes Carlota the best is team player. No job is ever too small or too big for Carlota. She is willing to help ANYBODY in the entire school with ANYTHING. I appreciate the fact that I or anyone else can call on her and we don't have to worry if the job is being done efficiently or not. She takes pride in everything she puts her hands to. She is totally engaged with the students in her program and any program. She cares about their lives and personal well being. She will do anything to ensure her students are able to succeed in her program. She is the heart of that program and everyone knows it. 

Carlota does not only provide stability to our team here, but she is stability for her own family. She comes to work ready for the day and whatever is thrown at her. She is cheerful and has a smile on her face, even in the toughest of times. She is a coworker that I now consider a friend. All of our lives and work experiences are better because Carlota works here."

Congratulations Carlota!

Carlota front and center with her award
In the back:  Stephanie K, Cynthia, Patty, Kevin, Tommy, Marina, Cristina, Tim, Tia, Gabby, Gloria, Mittal, Nita
In the front, Patricia, Stefanie W, Lori, Carlota, Katherine, Diane, Eric

The same group - joking and laughing!  

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Several  teachers and staff went to a gathering in Pacifica to hear a report back by Laetitia Bordes and Bruce Neuberger on their challenging and moving experience volunteering  at Annunciation House in El Paso.  Information was distributed as to concrete ways people can respond to the immediate needs of immigrants crossing the border.



Thank you to Laetitia and Bruce for going to the border and then reporting back to our school community so that we can better understand this situation. 
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Yukari Tokimura is a student in Distance Learning.  For a special assignment, she wrote about her driving test experience.  Her experience can help you succeed, too!

My Driving Test Experience
by Yukari Tokimura

     Some days ago, I got the driver’s license that is necessary for my life in the U.S.A. At first, I studied the driving rules for the knowledge test. I didn’t have any driving experience in my country, so I was mostly worried about driving before I came to the U.S.A. In addition, the driving rules in America are completely different from the one in Japan. In Japan, we drive on the left, for instance. Thus, I need to learn the California driving rules with the California Driver Handbook on the Internet. Moreover, I answered a lot of questions from past tests on the Internet. On the day of the knowledge test, it was crowded with many people there and they took the knowledge test in each booth like voting. At the beginning of the test, it wasn’t easy to focus on my test, but there was no time limit. Therefore I could calmly answer the questions and finally pass the test.
Next, I made a reservation for a road test right after I passed the knowledge test, but I still waited for a few months, so that I could prepare for it sufficiently. I researched the routes of the road test via the Internet and practiced driving more than 10 times with my husband. I also learned the signs and speed limits. Furthermore, I needed to remember some important traffic words such as intersection and traffic lights. Because I could take the knowledge test in Japanese, but a road test examiner speaks in English. The day finally came. I was nervous since the morning. I checked in at the DMV and I waited for my turn. At first, an examiner asked me some questions such as where is the defroster and hazard button. After that, my examiner got into my car. I was driving about 20 minutes according to her instructions. Even though I learned some important traffic words in my class, I still couldn’t understand a few words. But I tried to concentrate on driving and understanding her instructions. Although my road test wasn’t perfect, I could fortunately pass the test. In order to get a driver’s license, I needed to improve my driving skill and also English, so I appreciate my teachers and the Adult school. Getting a driver’s license gives me a rich life and also this experience enhanced my life in the U.S.A.


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April 8 to 12 is Adult Education Week 2019.

The focus this year is Advocacy.

Here is a presentation to explain the power of advocacy and why we advocate for Adult Education.





















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Adult Ed - A Time to Celebrate and Advocate

It's time to celebrate Adult Education!

Every year in the Spring, California celebrates Adult Education.

This year, Adult Ed Week is April 8 to 12.  The focus is advocacy.  The theme is "Our Voices Matter."

Adult Education gives us many reasons to celebrate. It provides classes to help immigrants learn English.  It provides job training classes.  It provides high school diploma and GED classes.

These are the reasons we advocate for Adult Education.  Because Adult Ed is so important.  It helps many people.  It helps California.

The Plan for Adult Ed Week 2019

Through the week, classes will discuss advocacy.  Teachers will share a special powerpoint about Advocacy.  Marina and Cynthia prepared the powerpoint and Student Ambassadors translated it into many languages.

Early Monday, we will hang the big Adult Education Matters banner.  This tells everyone who passes by an important message:  Adult Education Matters!

 Adult Education Matters banner hanging outside school. 



Two students painting part of the banner. 
We made this banner as part of Adult Ed Week 2016.
Students assembling the banner. 
 







On Monday morning, April 8th, we will do our traditional Virginia Reel.  Toshio will lead us.


Students sashaying in the Virginia Reel
Toshio teaching students how to do the dance

On Tuesday, Student Council officers Shelley, Shereen, Claudia and Simone and Staff Members Patty and Cynthia will go to Sacramento for CCAE Leg Day.  CCAE is the California Council for Adult Education.  Leg Day is pronounced "Ledge" Day.  It is a special day for advocacy.   On this day, the SMAS team will talk to Legislators about Adult Education, our school, and the need for more funding for our school.

And remember, on Tuesday we wear #Red4AdultEd.  We do this to carry the message that Adult Education matters and show pride in our school.

On Wednesday evening, Toshio will lead evening students in the Reel.

Toshio directing Virginia Reel
Advocacy Matters

Our school survived a very difficult time - when many Adult Schools closed and all Adult Schools were made smaller.   We survived this difficult time by advocating for our survival.

But our school - like all Adult Schools - needs more money.  Adult Education has less money than before 2008 - when the economy crashed.  This is why the focus for Adult Ed week this year is advocacy.

We must speak up for our needs.  Adult Education needs more money.

With more money, Adult Education can help more people.

This is important.  Our advocacy is important.

Later this Spring, we will write letters to legislators.

We will use our voices to speak up and ask for what we need.













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CCAE Diamond Jubilee Celebration

On Saturday, February 24th, CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education - Bay Section celebrated 75 years of CCAE - the diamond jubilee of CCAE.

CCAE Bay Section 

CCAE is an organization that is focused on Adult Education and Adult Schools.  It is divided into sections.  SMAS Assistant Director Eric Saavedra is President of the Bay Section.  SMAS Administrative Assistant Stefanie Wright is secretary of the Bay Section. 

CCAE Bay Section Conference

The sections have conferences every year.  Everyone who cares about Adult Education - teachers, students, staff, administrators - comes together to talk about how to make Adult Ed the best it can be. 
Stephanie Wright
and Carlota Zuniga
Carlota and Stefanie worked with volunteers from SMAS and Fremont Adult school to prepare a delightful breakfast and lunch and decorate the tables in honor of the diamond jubilee.  

SMAS Student Volunteers sold #Red4AdultEd t-shirts, buttons, pencils and bumper stickers to carry the message that #AdultEducationMatters.

At breakfast and lunchtime, everyone listened to speakers talk about the history of Adult Education 
and the need to advocate - to use our voices - for Adult Education.


Everyone must understand that Adult Education matters.  Legislators and the governor must understand that Adult Education needs more money.  With more money, Adult Education can help more people in California reach their goals and create a great state.


Awards and Raffles

Teacher Patricia Brown
holding her award
Two SMAS staff members received awards:  

Director Tim Doyle with
Stefanie Wright - holding her award


There was a raffle with many prizes and several SMAS students won.   




SMAS Student Leadership Workshop A Big Success

There were many workshops at the conference. Some topics were: advocacy, wellness, and how to be a good teacher.  The SMAS Student Council presented a workshop about expanding opportunities for leadership. They presented their workshop twice and each time everyone loved it.

Read the presentations from the workshop:


Carlos Diaz:  Student Council:  Leadership Opportunities in Student Council








Shereen, Simone, Ana, Tim, Shelley, Olivia, Carlos, Simone


Thank you to everyone who came together to create such a wonderful conference!

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SMAS 2018-2019 Student Council gave an outstanding presentation at the CCAE 2019 Bay Section Conference. The title of their presentation was "Expanding Leadership Opportunities for Students."   Here is Carlos Diaz's section about student council.
Carlos Diaz

Hello everyone! My name is Carlos Diaz.

I am currently studying at San Mateo Adult School and am serving in the role of evening student council President.

Today I will talk with you about the leadership opportunities the San Mateo Adult School student council provides for our student community.

The San Mateo Adult School was formed more than 20 years ago and is a role model for student councils at the adult school. It is a form of government intended to integrated communications and decision making between students, faculty, staff, and administration to create a cohesive and informed school campus.
Slide from Presentation
Photos of Student Council Officers
Shelley, Shereen, Claudia, Ai
Carlos, Olivia, Simone
The student council leadership is made up of the positions of President, Vice president, and Secretary. As an adult school, we have a unique situation in which we have both morning and evening classes at our school so we have two student councils, one for each, to represent the student population.
The process of electing student council leadership is quite similar to that of federal, state, and local government elections in the United States in which the people elect their representatives by voting for the candidates they feel will best represent them. At San Mateo Adult School, all students participate in the election process.

What is the leadership opportunity that student council provides?
You may be wondering, why is it important to have a student council?
How will this improve my School?

Student leadership requires that each position have initiative and vision,
a commitment of responsibility and a willingness to represent others in their school community.

It requires developing leadership skills by listening to others and organizing and carrying out school programs, activities and service projects.

Student leadership is about creating a more harmonious and organized school environment.

We are the voice of our classmates and we are tasked with motivating other students to take initiative and get involved.

The student government advocates for adult education speaking with elected officials, community advisory councils, and presenting at conferences on the local, state, and national levels.

The student council plans events each year to provide opportunities for community engagement including:
Halloween parties and contests
Thanksgiving turkey giveaways
and International Day and International Night.

We also organize fundraisers to support people in our communities as well as in other countries where people have suffered the harmful effects of natural disasters.

Some of the cases in which we have helped to collect and send money for relief efforts are
in 2017 and 2018 the tsunami in Indonesia,
the earthquake in Mexico,
and the hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Most recently we held a fundraiser for the survivors of the devastating fires in Paradise, California.

We are really proud of the generosity of our school community.

Making the decision to run for student council and become part of the leadership team has given all of us here today the opportunity to make and grow our networks,
take initiative and solve problems,
And motivate others both within our school community and outside in the broader community.

Many times in life we don’t really know what we want for our lives or where we are going to be in future. Sometimes this is due to a lack of courage or not having the kind of skills that make us successful, but,
it never is too late to develop and get the knowledge and skills we need even if we are already adults.

We believe that every student must be involved and have a voice in what is surrounding them at school, in their neighborhoods, and at home.

Student Council doesn’t just work at school, it is also a bridge into the community.

Together we make great things happen at our school serving as role models of leadership for our own and other school communities.

Now let me introduce Shereen Lata to talk with you about the Student Ambassador program.
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