The Heights

Updated: March 09, 2017

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Non-credit ESL courses offer pathway to college

Do you know a non-native speaker who wants to improve his or her English skills, whether to simply communicate better in English, build vocabulary for a career, or create a solid foundation in English to continue with study of other subjects?

Foothill College offers non-credit English as a Second Language courses at no cost to help our community members meet these goals.

Note: Non-credit ESL courses are listed as NCEL on our schedule of classes, including Level 1 and Level 2 courses. Follow the link here to view all winter NCEL courses and locations.

  • Level 1 Advanced - Beginning ESL includes sequence NCEL 411, 412 and 413.
  • Level 2 Intermediate ESL includes NCEL 421, 422, and 423. Students may repeat courses as needed, and even move from one level to another.
  • Once a student has reached proficiency with Level 2, for credit courses are available at Level 3 to Level 6, which includes English 1A Composition and Reading, for those who want to take other classes at Foothill that include an English 1A advisory.

For winter quarter, non-credit courses will be offered again at the new Sunnyvale Center and Los Altos High School, as they were in fall.

In an effort to meet the needs of the community impacted by the closure in of our Middlefield Campus last summer, two courses will be offered at Menlo Park Boys & Girls Club this winter, including NCEL 411 and NCEL 421.

Also a more specialized NCEL 401 ESL for Child Care Providers will be offered at Sunnyvale. This class helps develop basic written and oral communication skills needed for success in credit Child Development courses.

Amy Sarver, who teaches ESL classes at the Sunnyvale, says a nice thing about the new location is the diversity of students. There is no dominant language group. Students are here from Armenia, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, and Kazaktsan.

To learn more about what’s offered and how to register for classes, see the NCEL course listing for winter and/or contact Amy Sarver at for more information and help registering for a class.

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