The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) welcomed Naly Ramirez Aponte as the new program director for the Adult Learning Center earlier this August.
Originally from Bucaramanga, Colombia, Ramirez Aponte moved to New Mexico in 2008 and graduated from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Linguistics.
For the past 12 years, Ramirez Aponte has worked as a teacher of English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language. She worked in various institutions including UNM-LA and was the owner of Naly Ramírez – Se Habla Español, an educational institute offering private and small group Spanish classes in Los Alamos, NM
“Naly brings a wealth of experience teaching English as a second language and embodies the success that can be achieved by those learning English in a US context. She is a role model for her students. She has incredible ideas for building the entire adult education program and we were very fortunate to have her in this role,” said Paul Allen, UNM-LA Dean of Instruction.
UNM-LA’s Adult Education Center offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses and New Mexico High School Equivalency (HSE) prep courses. Classes have rolling enrollment, allowing students to join the class at any time during the session, making it easier to bypass schedules.
English as a second language courses are designed for students aged 16+ and for anyone who wants to improve their English skills. Because the sessions are multi-level, students often continue across sessions to further improve their English skills.
“It’s fun to communicate with different people in English. By attending the course, I was able to gradually speak and hear English,” commented ESL student Megumi Yamamoto.
“Thanks to the ESL courses, I was able to get a job as a teacher’s assistant. I also signed up for an early childhood education program,” shared ESL student Maria Saavedra.
Other students shared anonymously; “I feel comfortable in the ESL courses and I’m not afraid of making mistakes.”
“I like that I really practice all my English skills.”
“I like the interaction and teamwork with other students who have different accents. It helps me to understand other people in English.
“I like that you can improve a lot because the teachers are really good.”
High School Equivalency Prep Classes are for students ages 16 and up. Students between the ages of 16 and 17 must have a completed Minor Permission Form to be admitted. Students may take advantage of pre-testing, small group and one-to-one tuition, tutoring support (subject to the availability of volunteer tutors), computer labs, and self-study. The Center for Adult Education strives to provide students with the full range of skills they need to succeed in college and in their chosen careers.
The New Mexico HSE helps those who earn their qualifications qualify for higher-paying jobs, college, undergraduate or certificate programs. After earning the HSE, students may be eligible for UNM’s Bridge to Success Scholarship, New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, and New Mexico Lottery Scholarships. Homeschooled students are welcome to register.
All ESL and HSE classes are free, with study materials provided through state and federal funds.
“These programs are very important to me because when I moved to the United States I was an ESL student and I know how important it is to have a center that offers ESL and HSE courses for people with different ages background,” he explained to Ramirez Aponte: “For this reason, I am committed to making this program a success and promoting it in our community and surrounding areas. I look forward to helping students succeed in our program and achieve their goals. I will also work to attract new students who will benefit from our FREE ESL courses, HSE courses and citizenship courses here in Los Alamos and the surrounding area.”
ESL, HSE and Citizenship courses for the spring semester 2023 will start on January 17th and there will be an orientation the previous week of January 9th-13th. ESL grade levels include Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, a schedule is available online. Students can start enrolling now by filling out the admission form and completing their assessment test. For more information about the courses, call Naly Ramirez Aponte at 505.662.0338, email, [email protected] or visit the Los Alamos Adult Learning Center.
The Adult Learning Center is also hiring HSE and ESL instructors and encourages anyone interested to contact Naly Ramirez Aponte.