“When we came here, we couldn’t even order fast food for dinner. We couldn’t go to the doctor by our selves. We even needed someone to translate for us at the post office. Now we feel very comfortable going everywhere by our selves. We can ask directions and questions, and find out whatever we want to know all by our selves. Now we feel that we are able to help our kids in school, and help them with their needs because we understand more English, thanks to the ESOL classes. Our teachers make us feel that we have the power to do anything that we set as our goal; that nothing it’s impossible, and that there is help out there. You just need to go to the right place like we did. Thank you CEP.”


~ESOL Students

Adult Basic Education Classes


CEP is a member of the Juntos Collaborative, a network of ABE service and workforce development providers. CEP provides a variety of adult and family educational opportunities in the diverse Holyoke community. We began in 1991 as an ESL program based in the Latino community. Today our educational programming includes:


Native Language/Pre-ESOL Literacy in Spanish

The Community Education Project (CEP) has been providing Native Language/Pre-ESOL Literacy classes in Spanish in Holyoke for 20 years. These free classes prepare adults from Spanish speaking countries who do not have a high school diploma to study for their GED in Spanish. Eligibility is limited to recently arrived new-comers and those whose formal education was previously conducted in Spanish. This program is supported in part by grants from the Holyoke Community Development Block Grant Program and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.



“When we started this class some of us couldn’t even write our names. All of us had left school years ago. Now with this class we are able to write a letter for the first time. Now we can do math and go to the bank to get our money to pay the bills. Before this class, we needed someone to do that for us. To be out of school for so long and come back thinking that we don’t know much, or remember anything is painful. Our teacher helped us refresh our memories, and she has helped us get back on track . It’s a feeling of happiness that is hard to explain. Thank you CEP.”


~NLL Students

  Native Language Literacy

        Suheilie Bruno, Instructor      


NLL 1 Schedule:

Mondays & Wednesday

  9:00AM - 12:00PM

NLL 2 Schedule:

 Tuesdays & Thursdays

  9:00AM - 12:00PM


  For more information:

  Call: (413) 538-5770


English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL): Three levels

CEP provides three levels of ESOL classes. The CEP/ESOL classroom is student centered and employs a whole language immersion approach to instruction. The goal of the CEP/ESOL classroom is to have students speaking English 70% or more of their class time. Spanish or other native language usage during class time is strongly discouraged in order to promote increased English proficiency in our students.


Practical, useful vocabulary is generated by students themselves as well as from the thematic units developed cooperatively by teachers and students. Thematic curriculum units include health and nutrition issues relevant to the community, job readiness and employment, how to use computers, and money management (e.g. budgets, banks, investing). Field trips to other community based and social service agencies, community meetings and workshops, museums, libraries, and historic sites are also incorporated into the class schedule and curriculum. Students are taught how to use computers and how to access Internet based learning resources and how to use them to further their educational and employment related goals. Students are encouraged to be involved and engaged in their community.

Level I (Student Proficiency Level 0-3) is designed for those who speak very little or no English at all. This level allows students to develop and expand English vocabulary skills. It also gives them the ability to understand basic information for everyday needs, and begin to communicate in English; increasing confidence and community engagement.

Level II (Student Proficiency Level 3-5) is designed for those who speak a little English, but want to develop their vocabulary and improve their ability to speak grammatically correct English. The class is student centered (i.e. the curriculum includes content requested by the students) and

is focused on developing the confidence and ability to speak in English. In addition to academic content, the class includes practical strategies on how to learn more English outside of class.

Level III (Student Proficiency Level 5-7) builds on the English language skills developed in Level II. Level III students are expected to have the confidence and the ability to initiate English language exchanges. The Level III class curriculum reviews and reinforces previously introduced English language skills including present, past, and future tense forms of the verbs. Compound verb tenses (e.g. present perfect, past perfect, and conditional tense), clauses, and phrases are introduced to support higher level English level proficiency. Additionally, more advanced reading comprehension and writing are included in the students’ classroom work.

Instructor: Angelika Bay

        Level I Schedule:

    Monday & Wednesday


held at

317 Main Street, Holyoke

         Level II Schedule:

      Tuesday & Thursday


held at

317 Main Street, Holyoke

       Level III Schedule:

     Monday & Wednesday

        9:00AM - 12:00PM

held at

317 Main Street, Holyoke

Instructors: Elda, Ruth, Vida

Call for more information:

   (413) 538-5770

Evening ESOL levels I, II, III   

held at

Picknelly Adult & Family

Education Center

Tuesday & Thursday

   5:30PM - 8:30PM


ABE-Transition to College and Careers Program

The ABE Transition to College and Careers Program reflects a longstanding collaboration between CEP and Holyoke Community College. This free comprehensive program is a bridge to higher education for people in Hampden and Hampshire Counties. Individuals who are at least 18 years old, have earned a high school diploma more than four years ago, or who have a GED are encouraged to apply. The ABE-TCC class provides a supportive community learning environment for people who have experienced barriers to higher education; who feel academically or otherwise unprepared for college. The curriculum includes instruction in Math, Reading and Writing aimed at developing college level proficiency. Computer skills and study strategies are taught; extensive mentoring and tutoring services are provided. Intensive career exploration and counseling are required. Every graduate from the ABE-TCC program leaves the program with an educational plan tied to their chosen career pathway to jobs that pay family sustaining wages.

Addressing the educational scheduling needs of working adults, TCC offers both day and evening classes held on the campus of Holyoke Community College

Transition to College & Careers Program


                    Aisling Buckley, Instructor



                   ABE - TCC class @ HCC

               Mon/Wed/Fri (day) 9:15 AM-1:15 PM


     Evening ABE-TCC at Holyoke Community College:

          Tues./Thurs. (evening) 5:30 PM-8:30 PM


                     For more information:

                        Call 413-552-2728




"I found the ABE Transition to College & Careers Program enlightening and informative. Without this program I probably wouldn't have considered going back to school. I felt too intimidated and frustrated. Thank you to the staff of the program for all of your support.


~Betty Vasquez