“We have very special people,” Molly Popchock, ESL Instructor at SCC, said. “It’s because of how much we care about students.”
A kinship, she called it. We’d call it a truth about CCS.
Last year, students across our 12,300-square mile district suddenly switched to a virtual learning environment. For our ESL students, it was a dual struggle.
“It wasn’t the opportune modality,” Molly explained. For students to learn a language, they need to be immersed in a community, watching people as they speak to also learn their expressions.
The second struggle was one for technology. As our community knows, at the start of the pandemic CCS Foundation donors and the Board of Directors launched the Project Finish Line fund to help students affected by the pandemic cover emergency costs, including purchasing technology.
ESL students and faculty were suddenly learning how to host entire quarters on Canvas and classes on synchronous Zoom. Faculty and students alike had to learn that digital literacy. Molly said it was very draining, but the students didn’t want to stop learning.
“They had so much courage. The students really, really wanted to learn, and it kept us (the faculty) motivated.”
Faculty got creative; one instructor even held classes on her phone using WhatsApp, an app that all of her students already had.
This is that something special Molly described about CCS faculty and staff: they don’t just show up for our students, they raise the bar. In fact, for the ESL program, they’ll never go back to the old method of teaching because they’ve learned that these skills are better for the students. Not only does learning the technology support the students’ preparation for their careers, but it also helps retain students who are balancing work and childcare while going to school. Their program has a higher retention now than before going to virtual learning, and they’re now serving students across the United States.
“Good faculty will do whatever they need to to serve their students,” Molly said. “We truly have an amazing group of people at CCS that care so much about the students that they work so well and so hard together for the students’ benefit.”
Learn about Molly’s students!
Say Say Saw Khin Paul: Say Say went through ESL 5 and 6 at CCS, receiving scholarships along the way. Say Say completed an internship at the SCC clinic during the pandemic, covering patient care appointments. In June 2020, Say Say graduated from the Medical Assistant program and passed the Certified Medical Assistant AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) exam and is now working full time at Unify Community Health Mission.
“My future plan is to become a nurse and go back to SCC after two years of working experience.”
Marina Ortiz is currently completing her Biology degree at CCS. Marina completed Level 6 ESL classes last year and, thanks to staff, got many of her Biology degree credits from Mexico transferred. When she completes this year, Marina will transfer to Eastern Washington University to complete her Biology Teaching degree.
“The pandemic gave me the opportunity to learn about online classes. For me it is better, since I live in Deer Park and, in winter, the roads get dangerous. Leaving home now is not a problem.”