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“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

"La educación es nuestro pasaporte hacia el futuro, porque el mañana pertenece a quienes se preparan hoy". - Malcolm X

Our Mission

We empower our students to achieve their personal, educational, and vocational goals and build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Our Mission

Our History

The Las Casas - English as a Second Language program was started by Sister Ann Ronin, OP, Dominican Sisters of Mission San José with three students in 2002. The program is named in honor of Bartolome de las Casas, a 16th century Dominican friar. Las Casas was one of the first recorded civil rights advocates of indigenous people in the Americas. Sister Ann sought to honor his dreams and ideals by providing inclusive English language classes to the Bay Area community with the belief that all people - regardless of background - deserve equitable treatment and an education in this world. We are honored to continue embracing and supporting her founding vision of equity and education.

About Our Students

Las Casas is open to adults from all parts of the world and all language and educational backgrounds. The majority of our students live in the surrounding Fruitvale community neighborhood and are native Spanish speakers. Many of our students are from Spanish-speaking countries but are more familiar with an indigenous language, such as Mam (Guatemala).  


Because we aim to serve those who do not have other educational opportunities, we serve only low-level ESL students. No student is too “low” for our program. Once a student tests out of our program, we will assist them in the application process to enroll in local community college or adult school ESL classes.

About Our Teachers/Volunteers

The Las Casas program has always been and continues to be taught by a team of dedicated volunteers. While many of our teachers have educational and/or professional experience in ESL instruction, the only requisite for teaching is the desire to learn and help our students.  We place new volunteers in the classroom as an Assistant Teacher. Once we know a teacher and have found they have the interest, skills and strengths to be a Lead Teacher, we place them with a class where they are responsible for planning lessons and taking the lead on classroom instruction.  

Advisory Board

S. Gloria Marie Jones, Board Chair

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

S. Veronica Esparza Ramirez

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

Lisa Gonzalves 

Fremont Adult School, Vice Principal

Jairo Guiza

Regional Center of the East Bay, Diversity & Equity Specialist


Sigrid Mueller 

UC Berkeley Emeriti Academy, Program Manager

Janet Wilks

Fundraising Consultant

Sally Guzdar

Las Casas, Director of Development & Communications

Dana Neufeld

Las Casas, Program Director

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