Posted at 12:45 p.m., Feb. 15, 2016

Low enrollment rates pause ESL program

Laramie County Community College no longer offers English as a Second Language (ESL) through the school’s Spanish program, but the Adult Career and Education System offers a course for non-English speakers to help students understand the basics of the language.

It is a shame the college does not have an ESL program anymore, said Juan Antonio Bernabéu, a Spanish instructor and chair of Communications, Mass Media and Multimedia and Modern Languages. He said the ESL program has helped international students learn to speak English. Bernabéu added there are two students here at LCCC from Japan and Peru, “and when they found out about ESL they felt that the school was betraying them.”

International students have to pass an English exam to be able to take classes at LCCC, or they can enroll in an ESL course, according to the course catalog. But with the ESL program gone, international students must pass an exam before they can be admitted.

Ian Caldon, an instructor in Spanish, said he really enjoyed working with the international students. It was a huge benefit to be able to provide services for those students, and it brought more cultural diversity to the school, he said.

English for Speakers of Other Languages is a course offered through the Adult Career and Education System that helps non-native English speakers learn to better communicate in the workplace and in everyday life. This course is free.

The ESL program was put on hold because of the low number of students taking the course, Bernabéu said. Additionally, LCCC was trying to start an intensive ESL program at the same time as the University of Wyoming, Caldon said. Unable to compete with UW, international enrollment went down at the school overall, which didn’t help the ESL program, Caldon said.

ESL instructors met with school administrators to find a way to save the program, but it was ultimately cancelled, Caldon said.

The Adult Career and Education System is a year-around program operating from 9 a.m.-noon and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and noon-5 p.m. on weekends. ACES also helps students prepare for exams and provides access to computers. Students must be 16 or older and graduated from high school in the U.S. or from another country with verified transcripts.