HML Adult Education School offers program for immigrant teens

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 0 Comments

HML Adult Education School offers program for immigrant teens

Before she came to the United States, Nancy Perez was a college professor in Cuba but had to take a job as a school custodian to make ends meet until she could find a way to validate her teaching certificate from the Communist country.

She couldn’t speak English but thanks to the Success Management Academy at Hialeah Miami Lakes Adult Education School, Perez is now a teacher after taking ESOL classes and is back doing what she does best.

The SMA is among the education programs offered to immigrant teenage students 16-18 and adults to help them earn their GED in Spanish as well as taking ESOL classes, running concurrent with regular day school hours.

The program, the brainchild of Miami-Dade School Board member Perla Tabares-Hantmen, is also offered to kids and adults who didn’t finish high school, to earn their GED and pursue their career goals, and gives young students a chance to make up any credits, as part of the Credit Recovery Program.

Many students graduated from the program and went on to accomplish their goals of attending college.

“Some students have gone on to Pre-med while others have studied nursing,” said Cristina DiBiase-Uglade, an assistant principal at HML and American Adult and Community Education Center. “With the tools they receive at SMA, the future opportunities are endless.”

DiBiase-Uglade said the year-round program helped 197 students graduate with their GEDs this past summer.

“It’s condensing four years of high school into two years,” she said.

Alexis Cazanas, principal at HML American Adult Center, said the program is “great” for students who are trying to break the language barrier to reach their career goals.

“It’s unfortunate that students come to this country and don’t speak English and it holds them back,” said Cazanas, a Miami Lakes resident. “But with the programs here they work on obtaining their GED to get their high school diploma by taking intense courses to master the language and attend college.”  

The program, which has grown to nine additional sites, including at Marti Mast in Hialeah since its inception three years ago, also includes courses for citizenships, vocational, computers, phlebotomy, child care, hemodialysis, patient care technician and  EKG technician. 

The classes are offered from Monday through Thursday, from 7:20 p.m. to 2:20 p.m., which are the same hours for regular day school.

Students also can participate in extra curricular activities such as pep rallies and sports through the program. 
Miami Lakes resident Miriam Dunman, who’s a retired administrator at HML Adult Education Center but volunteers on some occasions, said the program is a warm comfort for immigrant students who have all but given up because they can’t speak English.

“Without the program, look what would’ve happened to those children,” she said.
For more information, call 305-823-1330.


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