Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk: Introducing Plazas Comunitarias

When most of us think of our childhood, we remember friends in classrooms and a favorite teacher or two. Our childhood educational experience usually lasted for the first 18 years of our lives. 

This is not the case for everybody. Some members of our community had a different experience. Because of financial need or family difficulties/obligations, some people in our town stopped attending school before graduating. When you add a language barrier to the situation,  a person can experience some very challenging situations. This is where Ukiah Adult School comes in. 

When people hear of Adult Schools, they often think of individuals earning their high school diploma, studying to become US citizens, and taking English as a Second Language classes. At Ukiah Adult School, we do all of that and more.

This year, we implemented a new program called Plazas Comunitarias. This program is made available through a partnership between Ukiah Unified School District and the Mexican Government. We help Spanish speakers over 18 earn their primary or secondary certificate through the Mexican education system.

Why is the Ukiah Adult School working to educate Spanish speakers?  

One reason is related to the acquisition of English as a second language. Research in second language development has shown that literacy in a second language is much more easily achieved when literacy is developed in the native language, as literacy skills are more easily transferred from the first to the second. In other words, it is easier to learn about grammar and reading in a second language when you first understand those concepts related to your native language.

Along with the value of the education itself, teaching people English as a Second Language has socio-economical benefits. In 2022, the Public Policy Institute of California stated, "English proficiency is related to economic mobility, access to high-wage jobs, lower levels of unemployment and underemployment, and greater productivity." 

Finally, the most important advantage of improving the literacy and math skills of adults in their native language is that they will be able to better support their children who are currently in school. Ukiah Unified School District's Local Control and Accounting Plan, which guides the District's spending of State funds, emphasizes student achievement and parent involvement. 

When you consider that in 2022, there were over 138,623 adult English as a Second Language students in California alone, the majority of whom speak Spanish as their native language, it is easy to understand the need for the Plazas Comunitarias.

To enroll and participate in the program, students must enroll in the Ukiah Adult School in person at 1056 North Bush Street or online at After that, students may attend any of the classes that are available at no cost. Currently, classes meet on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

If you know any Spanish-speaking adults who were not able to complete their education when they were children, please send them our way. The classes are free, and we look forward to helping them earn their primary or secondary certificates!