San Jacinto College offers ESOL classes at nearby church

04.16.2014 | By Rob Vanya

(Standing) Alfrerdo Gomez, San Jacinto College education planner, and Maria Williams, San Jacinto College ESOL coordinator, assist Ivan Martinez and Nancy Loera to register for English for Speakers of Other Languages classes that the College now offers at Holy Trinity Methodist Church. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


San Jacinto College offers ESOL classes at nearby church


To make education accessible and to serve changing demographics, the San Jacinto College North Campus recently began offering English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) community classes at Holy Trinity Methodist Church, located in North Shore about 3 miles from the College.

“Most of the students are Latino who live within walking distance of the church, and many will walk to class because there may not be a second car in the home,” commented Maria Williams, ESOL coordinator at the North Campus. “It’s a community-based beginning class that teaches practical English with an eye toward improving language skills in everyday life.”

Students who complete the course earn one college credit. It is a four-week course that includes 16 hours of instruction. Students pay $30 for each four-week class. The enrollment process is streamlined to allow waivers of Compass placement testing, new student orientation, high school diploma, General Education Development certification, or proof of meningitis vaccination.

The College and the Methodist church are collaborating to help remove language barriers and help Latinos become assimilated in the community. “If and when students in the new ESOL outreach classes request information about furthering their education, or want information about the church, college and church information will be provided,” Williams said. “The church and the College agreed to focus on language acquisition, and not promote either church or college platforms as a rule.”

Mayra Chavez, who recently emigrated from Mexico, is thankful to be able to learn English at an affordable cost and at a convenient location. “I want to quickly learn to speak English in order to be better involved in the community, and to be more involved in parent-teacher events at the school where my children attend,” Chavez said through an interpreter.

At San Jacinto College, the increase in enrollment of Latino students since 2000 has been dramatic, according to research by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In 2000 the Latino enrollment at San Jacinto College was 5,223 (25 percent of total enrollment). In 2013 the Latino enrollment was 13,191 (46.5 percent of total enrollment). The percentage change at San Jacinto College from Fall 2000 to 2013 was 152.6 percent, the largest increase of any ethnic group included in the research.

The San Jacinto College North Campus experienced the most dramatic increase in Latino student enrollment. In 2000 the Latino enrollment at the North Campus was 1,509 (30.6). In 2013 the Latino enrollment at the North Campus was 3,989 (54.6 percent). The percentage change from 2000 to 2013 at the North Campus was 164.3 percent.

All classes at San Jacinto College are taught in English. The College offers ESOL classes at all three campuses to help students with limited English proficiency to quickly become college ready.

The San Jacinto College South Campus recently began an ESOL community outreach program in collaboration with Sagemont Church, which is located near the South Campus.

For information about ESOL options at San Jacinto College, please visit For information about the new ESOL outreach offered by the North Campus, please call 281-459-7628.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at