WHITTIER – Whittier Union Adult School English as a Second Language (ESL) students are enhancing their technological skills and advancing their workforce literacy through the integration of Career Technical Education (CTE) curriculum into the ESL program. The successful integration has earned the Adult School the Promising Practice Award in Adult Education from the California Department of Education and the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS).

Schools can self-nominate for the Promising Practice Award through CASAS by showcasing their innovative programs, practices or ideas that support students in achieving their goals and preparing them for the workforce.

“Receiving this award makes our students tangibly aware that they are at a great school,” Assistant Principal Juan Anzaldo said. “It is also a great indicator to our community to recognize the high-level of work happening here at the Whittier Union Adult School.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Adult School administration introduced technology into the ESL program curriculum, initially for advanced students only. Witnessing the benefits of these skills on students’ literacy and overall growth, they then implemented the curriculum at all levels.

Twice a week, CTE teachers bring their expertise in Excel and Google Workspace to the ESL program and teach these skills to students. Along with learning these computer programs, students are gaining knowledge in technology vocabulary, further increasing their literacy in applicable workforce scenarios.

After experiencing the value of these skills in the ESL program, Anzaldo said that many students expressed their desire to further their education in technology. As a result, they opted to enroll in a separate CTE class outside of the ESL program to enhance their readiness for the workforce.

“Even though we’re on the same campus, we didn’t have many ESL students taking CTE classes,” Anzaldo said. “Now, our students are familiar with the teachers, know they can do the work and have gained the confidence to take CTE classes. We’re helping our ESL students by increasing their work-readiness profile.”

By integrating CTE curriculum into the ESL program, Anzaldo added that the Adult School has successfully achieved its goal of enhancing literacy among ESL students and equipping them with the skills necessary to pursue successful careers upon graduation.

“Receiving this award provides an incentive for us to continue looking for new ways to empower our students and enrich our community,” Principal Margie Moriarty said. “This aligns with the motto of the United Sierra Education Center: ‘educating, empowering and enriching our community.’”


WUHSD_ADULTSCHOOL: Whittier Union Adult School earned the Promising Practice Award for its integration of Career Technical Education curriculum into the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. ESL students are learning technology and business skills and increasing their literacy, which will prepare them for the workforce.