GoodnewsMorris Literacy Project: Students

(old site)

{Portuguese, Russian, Espanol}

"""To better actively serve the diversity of our students and meeting the diversity of their needs to succeed every time they leave the classroom each day when they actively participate""

As of February of 2009, we've had over 50+ "registered" students that we've tutored ESL to since we recorded the first in September of 2004. They've come from different backgrounds: work environments-dairy farm, hog facility, farm fields, and homes taking card of their kids; cultual ethnicity-Mexican, Brazilian, Ecuadoran, Honduran, Bulgarian, Ukranian, Moldovan, Chinese, Czech, Columbian, Japanese, etc... ; economic/job status-manager, vetrenarian, field-worker, etc; and age levels (18-60).

I had the opportunity to build relationships with them outside of the classroom through various means: game of baseball, soccer, community fairs, worshipping-praying or bible reading at a local church, watching movies or a television show, eating a meal in-outside, football games (MAHS &C/A Homecoming), playing various sports activities (e.g. table tennis, baseball, soccer, etc...), taking one on a one-day trip to the Twin Cities-St. Paul-Duluth, etc...!

*came up with this (see salsESL6636CourseDesignsGoalsObjectivesDraft.doc) after my online course (see Liberal Arts: English-Course Design)

The goals and objectives of our ESL class is to make the learning environment learner friendly (Example: Teachers greeting students and helping them see that this is a comfortable and safe learning environment to learn at, teachers teaching students verbally (individually or in a group), through text books and work books and on computers (Example: Using Rosetta Stone). and helping them create there own goal(s) for attending class.- STEVE


Goal: The student will leave our program more confident and equipped than when he she first entered our classroom. Also, to excel to their "highest potential" in their career path.
Goal: The student will feel "more home" in our community
Goal: The student will improve to a higher level performance by the time they "exit" the program or quarter.
Goal: The student will be able to reach their personal goals they state in the MARCS & Student Profile Goal Sheet (see eslMorrisLiteracyProjectStudentProfile.doc)
Goal: The student will be able to improve on the 4 "main English skills": oral, listening, reading, and writing
Goal: The student will go back to their country with a "positive" experience in their "time/stay".
Goal: The student will be able to "self-motivate" one self to learn ESL in a variety of fun new ways throughout the program.
Goal: The student will be able to teach others what we taught him/her.

Class Hours:
Over the 4+ years, the schedule has changed so much. When we first "restarted" in 2004, we had 2 classes (different locations and time): Sundays @7p-9p (ESL only) during/after Spanish Club at UMM's (University of Minnesota-Morris) Multi Ethnic Resource Center and Wednesdays @6p-9pm (ESL & GED) a the Morris Area High School. With the change of students at UMM the following year (2005), the interest at the campus location changed. We then just met only Wednesday evenings (same time and location). However, the numbers of "migrant workers" in the dairy farm was growing, so we recruited the UMM students to come to help at the high school. I even would go in and around the "dairy farm site" to teach ESL; however, I couldn't go more than they wanted me to because of my schedule (just a volunteer). In 2006, our community got a "new" elementary school, so the classes moved here by the "new" Morris Community Ed offices. From 2006-2008, the increasing "migrant worker" population caused many changes to our class hours at the "new" Morris Elementary School. (Wednesdays & Thursdays @6p-9p). With the increase of "migrant workers" from Mexico, this created a "business focus" targeting this particular population. In the summer of 2007, "La Tienda" opened it's doors to serve them through food, money transfering, entertainment (e.g. music, videos, etc...), and other services. We decided to partner with the owner to hold our classes there (Mondays @6:30p-8:30p & Fridays @12p-2p)- starting October 8th of 2007. Morris Community Ed hired a "paid" part-time "license" teacher too during this time span. As mentioned below ("Demographic Changes"), the "dairy farm" site decided to hire a paid ESL teacher in their "onsite" workplace. The numbers then went down in our "La Tienda" site and we decided to end this class in the end of the Summer of (August) 2008. However, we still have the classroom opened for "walk-ins" to use the computers (Rosetta Stone software program) "anytime" during the day when the store is opened. We get 2-3 students that come regularly throughout the week for this. Currently (February of 2009), we are in our "regular" schedule ( Wednesdays @6p-9pm -> ESL & GED) at the Morris Elementary School.

Study Materials:
Rosetta Stone Software program (computer with RosettaStoneStudentRecordSheet.doc & MorrisLitProjStudentVocabularySheet.doc to keep track of progress), Workbooks: Real Life English (, All-Star (McGraw Hill, Handling Words: Read and Spell Those Long, Hard Words by Rebecca Super (Cambridge Adult Education), The American Heritage LaRousse Spanish Dictionary - Spanish/English - English/Spanish (Hardcover), English-Russian, Russian-English Dictionary (Paperback) by Kenneth Katzner (Author) , Larousse Concise Dictionary: Portuguese-English/English-Portuguese (Portuguese Edition) (Paperback) by Editors of Larousse (Editor), etc...

{Morris Literacy Project Photo Gallery}>

{Photo Archive}



{(old site-La Tienda Photos)


Guys from Brazil teaching one another (played soccer with them and they were good!)


Last class before he leaves (Hawaii first) home to Brazil

A couple from Mexico


Works as a construction worker in Lowry (from Mexico)


Our first student from Japan

Mix of GED and ESL students (front-Elena C. (brother was a student years ago) from Moldova & back-our "active" tutor (Matt J.,UMM Student, who would teach Spanish through Community Ed in Winter of 09') helping Andreii (from Ukraine)



May 6th-Gordon (standing up; volunteer), Yuiry (Ukraine), Heidi (GED), Andrii, and Misael

-Wednesday, May 13th

Gordon (volunteer), ?, Manuel, Felipe, Misael, Steve (coordinator), and Ruth (guest volunteer/observer)

-Wednesday, May 20th of 2009

Steve teaching to Enrique and Gerardo (both from Mexico)


-Wednesday, June 3rd

Steve introducing Alfredo (Brazilian) to rest of the class

Daniel, Israel, and Gerardo (all from Mexico)

? (hat), Miguel, Andrii (in the computer), and Gearardo A.

{2010 Archives}

Some of the "outside of the classroom" activities included: Soccer during the Spring, barbeque outings during the summer, South Dakota Trip during July, tabling at the annual UMM International Country Fair, local Christmas theatre performance in December, hanging-out at various local restaurants (see down below) for special occasions (e.g. birthdays) or to just get-together after classes, visit each other's homes, etc...


How to Cook Pasta Noodles (Morris Literacy Project Students on Dec14th11)

Morris Literacy Project Christmas Party

Happy New Year 2012

{2012 Archives}


How to Make Chinese Dumplings


Farwell Reginaldo (from Brazil)


Farewell Hafiz (from Pakistan)


Farewell Xiaolai (from China)


goodnewsmorris's Morris Literacy Project September 12th 2012 album on Photobucket


goodnewsmorris's Morris Literacy Project December 2012 album on Photobucket



goodnewsmorris's ML Project 2013 album on Photobucket


goodnewsmorris's Morris Literacy Project 2013 February album on Photobucket

My Profile:
Kamustaka! ("Hello" or "how are you?" in Filipino-Tagalog!) My parents immgrated to Minnesota-USA in the early 1970's. I was born and raised in St. Paul (capital city of Minnesota) in 1977. I attended the local University of Minnesota-Morris from 1995-1999. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Liberal Arts for the Human Services. My name is Sal Monteagudo, Morris Literacy Project Coordinator (since 99') in Morris, Minnesota (west-central region; 1 hour east of South Dakota or where the Minnesota River and Red River starts).

I currently serve as a "volunteer" in our area, but currently pursuing a teachers licensure (certificate as of November 09'!!) and a Masters Degree soon in this field (ESL Teacher) via on-line through Hamline University. As of February 09', I'm currently taking my 3rd online course. Also, I've been taking these FREE "cool" informative on-line courses through the Minnesota Literacy Council. My main line of work is a "Job Coach" for the Stevens County Developmentally Achievement Center. I've been working with developmentally disabled adults since graduating from college back in 1999! My only experience with curriculum development is the "quarterly" regular "training" classes I take each year at Alexandria (consortium headquarters for our area) through the Minnesota Literacy Council. I'm pretty much trying to develop our own local curriculum, but learning new ways as I continue to get "trained" (e.g. online and classroom).

Students Profile: Many of our students (Mexico, Brazil, and Eastern European bloc nations) in the Morris Literacy Project are "migrant famers" that work in the surrounding area farms doing various work (e.g. stay home "mom", dairy farm, hog farms-genetics lab, and typical field work). Recently, we are increasingly getting numbers that are "immigrants" setting in our rural-college community. They too have different educational levels (e.g. non h.s. grad, h.s. grad, college grad, etc..). Due to the "diverse" educational levels, their language proficiency is too "diverse" (beginning, intermediate, and advance). All of our students have been adults (late teens to the elderly); however, we did have a student (wasn't registered w/the program because of his "under 18" status) is only a teen. They like to come in groups (Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, etc…) , so the language barrier hasn't been a challenge. However, when they don't come in groups, they somehow work cohesively together.

Classroom Profile: "Open enrollment" (come in and go as they please)
We get an average of 2-3 students (mostly or majority adult learners) each week, which has varied from 12 as the highest to 0 as the lowest! Each week varies, which I have to come to class prepared to teach any lesson in my "back-up plan". Keeping track of learner progress hasn't been a big problem as we have a portfolio folder for each student. In these folders, we have a "short-term" goal sheet that we record what the students did the last time they were here. For example, when we use the Rosetta Stone software program, we "try" to record each lesson-level and the score they get. When they come back (next week or month later, etc...), we both know where we should start. The biggest challenge for our particular program is the "unknown" (e.g. students coming, numbers, etc...). We (my supervisor that is a paid staff through the community education program here) teach/tutor both the GED and ESL program, so we can get "unexpectedly" swamp of number of GED and ESL students. Thus, we get a low student attrition and we sometimes never hear (could be from various factors due to our large "migrant" working farm community) from our students ever again. From my "online course"-Oral Skills I've read (Parrish's "Teaching Adult ESL A Practical Introduction"- Chapter 8) a tip I would like to apply is-"Develop...a set of visuals depicting needs and interest that students can choose from" (pp. 206)...the lesson themes I've picked-out (based on past student's interests-e.g. "stay-home" mom's asks us directly that they would like to help their child with school work- and from my online "Lesson Planning" class with the Minnesota Literacy Council) already=> Liberal Arts: English-Classroom Tips, Materials, etc....

Demographic Changes:
An example of "working together" that's in the process in the area I'm teaching ESL as a volunteer is with our local dairy farms. They employ over 250+ "Spanish-speaking" migrant workers (many from Mexico) and they took the initiative (after hearing from the community) to start a "Spanish language" program for their "English-speaking" American workers. The guy that teaches "Basic Spanish" to them just moved up here from the Twin Cities the beginning of 2008. Ironically, his wife (from Columbia) was an ELL/ESL student in our program. That is how we found about this! This same teacher is now currently teaching "English" to their "Spanish-speaking" migrant workers (managers and "leadership" positions only as of now) down the road.

Course Topics:
*see Liberal Arts: English-Classroom Tips, Materials, etc..
We are sometimes given guidelines on what to teach. However, we also need to consider the students' needs, which we'll know once we know the information about them (author giving advice in a book I read in my "online course"-English-Assessment). I see this as very true when I teach ESL to local migrant "dairy farmers" compared to other students with a different profession/job. What I've learned from teaching ESL as a volunteer in the last 4+ years, the "migrant" students seem more interested on learning terminology relating to their workplace. Some of the topics (e.g. Health) was chosen due to "community" concerns or personal experiences in the community. I’ve been invited to numerous community forums because of what I do in this "small-town" community (e.g. see COPC: Community Dialogue Series). The demographics (as mentioned above) has been changing over the years; thus the "goals" has changed too. There are still some that "want" to learn English to improve their work situation as supposed to a learner that does not work in the same occupation/field or even as a homemaker. I remember one student (from Bulgaria), who has been the most "motivated" of all so far, wanted to learn English because when he returns home-his country will be part of the European Union (started in 2008). Thus, learning English will be very helpful in getting a "good job". "

Teaching Challenges:
I believe having more volunteers during our "unexpected" busy times would help, which is very unpredictable. We can have one or no students in our weekly Wednesday evening (@6p-9p) "open-classroom" to have as many as 9-14 the next week. This includes both ESL and GED students, which can be very "overwhelming". For example, we've had "new ESL students" come during one of these "busy" evenings and never returned because of this "bad"- "no attention"- "one-time" experience!

We used to collaborate with the local university/college's (University of Minnesota-Morris) "Spanish Club" when our literacy program "restarted" in 2004. However, with the change of students come with a change of vision each year, so it kind of died down years ago. This question has motivated me to try re-contacting them and give it a try with this new "academic-year". Unfortunately with the "high academic focus" of this college, it's hard to retain the college age volunteers with their busy schedule-based on past experiences.

Also, I had one student from Bulgaria that quickly learned how to converse in English. However, when we e-mail each other (still to this day to keep in touch), I feel like I'm e-mailing a "totally different" person from who I had good English conversations with in person in the past! I just feel like I should've focussed more on the "Writting Assessment" when I was teaching him years ago.

For our area, we have many migrant workers that keep occupied with their work. Most of our students in the past have been dairy farm workers and they work long hours. They are sometimes too tired to drive to our class site after a long day (especially the long Minnesota winters). There are other "work labor" issues that I don't want to get into in this discussion! A positive example, we had a student (05'-06') from Bulgaria that worked 6 days a week. I was surprised he was able to attend our classes regularly because of his personal motivation (and other factors that I can go too long with) to learn English before going back to his own country (became part of the European Union (EU) the past year. We can help our students achieve their goals by "improving", "improving, "improving", etc.. I don't think we'll ever reach perfection, but know that we can keep "changing for the better" (unless-"don't fixed it if it's not broken"-your particular program is doing well). Each student has their own personal goals, so I can't speak for all. In general in this area (rural farming community), many of our students are "migrant workers". Thus, they will be returning back home to use or not use what they learn. They come to learn ESL to just get enough to get through the time they are working here. Being in the "middle of no where", they come to "socialize" and "learn about the community" they'll be living in the time period they'll be working. However, we just got a new student (from Brazil) that is 14 years old and wants (parents encouraging him too) to learn ESL because he is going to become an American citizen. He doesn't want to be an "outcast" when he enters high school this fall.

Yes, we use the CASAS here (Morris Literacy Project-Morris, Minnesota) through the state. I personally feel it's been an "ok" measuring tool. We give it (entry) in the beginning and ending (exit) to see their progression. However, their conversation skills better tells us how they progress. Just a little note: From my years giving it to our students, the "migrant workers" from Mexico always get the month/date/year (e.g. 7/13/08) question wrong. In Mexico (day/month/year-13/7/08), the order is different. This shows one example how CASAS can be "non-culturally friendly". If possible, every month-we would like to give a self-course evlauation (see morrislitprojSelfclassminiassessment.doc) to see if their expectations are being met.


  • Education Technology Survey, sent by the Minnesota Literacy Council (Dec 06')

  • Return to Morris Literacy Project

    Volunteer Information

    Be an Adult Literacy Volunteer

    "There are many opportunities to tutor adults, including teaching a class, being a classroom assistant, leading a small group or working one-to one with a learner. To read about the different types of volunteer positions, click here."

  • Be a Literacy Volunteer!, from Minnesota Literacy Council

  • Morris Literacy Project: ESL Class Info

    Morris Literacy Project: ESL Class Info from gooodnews everybodycom on Vimeo.

    "Steve S. (Morris Community Ed), Sal M. (Morris Literacy Project: ESL Class Coordinator), and Matt J. do 1:1 with students (both from Ukraine) at a "typical" ESL "open" class at the Morris Elementary School (Wednesday, November of 2008) in Morris, Minnesota. "

    Q: What qualifications do I need to volunteer?
    A: NONE-just be willing (compassion to share what you already know to help others)
    Q: Do I have to volunteer the whole 3 hours? A: You are a volunteer, so you set your own time between 6pm-9pm (Wednesday nights). We just encourage volunteers to come "any-time" in your "own-time" any Wednesday evening.

    This Program is Dedicated to all the Volunteers

    -Ashley Laliberte (UMM Alumn 05')
    -Garret Jorgenson (former UMM Student 04'-05')
    -Emily Stout (UMM Student 04'-05') [Katherine E. Sullivan Scholarship 07' recipient]
    -Spanish Club 04'-05'
    -Kathy (UMM Alumn 06')
    -Amiee (UMM Soccer Club athlete 05'-present)
    -Justin Greimen (UMM Student Winter of 06'-present)
    -Ruth Greimen (UMM Alumn 06')
    -Maria (UMM Studennt Fall of 06'-present)
    -Zaq (UMM Student Fall of 06'-present)
    -Theresa McMerry (sp?-UMM Student Fall of 06'-present)
    -Tim Mitchell (community member; since 06'-present) -Ashley Rinkenberger (community member; since spring of 06'-present)
    -Bonnie and mom
    -Professor Solvie
    -Luke (UMM Student Fall of 07')
    -Sara M. (UMM Student Fall of 07')
    -Matt J. (UMM Student Fall of 08')
    -Gordon (community resident Spring 09'-present)
    -Jenn M. (community resident that attended Concordia State University-Moorhead,MN since Summer 09'-present)
    -Chris G. (community resident-since Fall of 09'-present)
    -Mary B.K. (UMM Alumn-community resident from 10'-June 11')
    -Husband & Wife Anderson (J&C) Team (Fall of 11'-Present)
    -many others in the past before the Morris Literacy Project restarted in the Fall of 04'



  • End of Year Volunteer Report Due June 2, 2008, from
  • Nation-GoodnewsUSA.Info


    Online-Interview on September 28th of 2006

    w/Judy Korn of UMM Alumni Relations for "The Profile"

    1. Are you still working for Divine House and Prairie Community Services?

    Yes, part-time only and on-call (whenever they need me and according to my time of availability). I work full-time (part-time temporarily starting on Dec of 99' and became full-time in May) at the Stevens County D.A.C.

    2. 1999 Liberal Arts for Human Services major, right?

    Yes (focus on Public-Administration within LAHS)

    3. How did you make all those networking connections to get the Literacy program started in Morris? Did you work with Community Education? Alexandria Literacy Council? Spanish Club?

    I was shopping (first at Willies and then City Centre Drug) in Morris when I met Leonardo (only Non-Mexican migrant worker I�ve met so far from the dairy farm, who is from Honduras) and other of his co-workers twice within the month in September of 2004. It was then when he asked me if I could teach English to him, which I responded -"hablo poco espanol" ("I speak little Spanish"). I was walking around UMM's Campus when I saw the "Spanish Club" sign. On a Sunday evening when the Spanish Club was meeting, I met Ashley and told her this request from Leonardo. Earlier, I e-mailed Morris' Community Ed Director (Cindy Perkins-connection through Morris Leadership Retreat 04'), she referred me to contact Steve Sterud. Ashley and I met with Steve over this and came about restarting (this program existed before when students met at Assumption Catholic Church a couple/several years ago prior to 2004) the Morris Literacy Project. Our first official meeting was Sunday, September 26th of 2004 when we introduced Leonardo to the others. Ever since, many students from different backgrounds and professions (e.g. dairy farmers, vetrenarians, home makers, etc�) from different work environments (e.g. dairy farms, pig farms, local field farms, residential homes, etc�) have been coming in.
    Also, to add..the COPC Grant that was awarded 1 1/2 years ago has been a catalyst in this partnership. Particularly, the COPC: Community Dialogue Series, which I'm a co-chair. I"ve been sharing my experience of the project and we are currently in pursuit of a survey to give to migrant workers and how the community of Morris can better "welcome" them.

    3. Where is the classroom?

    We used to meet both at campus (Multi-Ethnic Resource Center) and the high school when we started in 2004. We then just moved to once a week due to the time constraints (from both students and tutors) and we meet now at the newly built Elementary School when it opened last Fall of 2005.

    4. Where did you get funding for the software...and the computers?

    Minnesota Literacy Council (state budget)-Alexandria Runestone Learning Center provides the labtops (3 total now) and the computers (2 of them) that exist at the Elementary School. Walmart donated $200-250 gift certificate that we used to purchase some materials (e.g. electronic translator).

    5. Why did you invest your time and energy into this project? What's your reward?

    I grew-up watching the hardships (e.g. teased) my mom and dad went through in their transition to America as immigrants from the Philippines (3rd most populated English speaking country). Then I saw the challenges others (e.g. Hmong refugees and other immigrants) faced growing-up in St. Paul's diverse public schools. Due to the lack of resources in these parts of rural Minnesota, I want to share what I've been blessed (e.g. education) with others. I loved (still do as a liasion to the community: church or public places and campus: Center for International Programs through Tom McRoberts) meeting international students at UMM when I was a student and this project continues this diverse ethnic relationships after UMM. We teach them and I learn from them too-it's a two way teaching and learning lesson (e.g. learn Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and recently-Chinese for free!) for both students and the volunteer tutors! This is where the reward comes from!

    Phone Interview on Thursday, November 30th of 2006 with KMRS Radio

    I had an unexpected call Thursday afternoon after work from KMRS/KKOK 1230 AM/97.7 FM Radio w/Katie Mackenzie (interviewed me earlier at the annual UMM Int'l Country Fair earlier this month). They wanted to interview me about the Morris Literacy Project, which was an excellent oopportunity for "PR" advertisement to recruit the much needed volunteers.

    Just to add a note: This project cannot be possible without the campus-community relationship that's been growing over the years! Steve Sterud of Morris Community Ed is in constant contact with Stacey Aronson of UMM's Spanish Language Department for need of UMM student volunteers (we can always use them on Wednesday evenings @6-9p. Anyone is welcome to come and see what we do anytime!) since we "re-started". I also have been in contact with the local faith community of various needs (e.g. Assumption Catholic Church-1st Saturday of the month mass/service in Spanish; Morris Community Church-volunteer tutors) . Also, our volunteers not only help with the ESL part, but also the ABE (Adult Basic Education)/GED-helping those get a high school diploma!

    Media Publications

  • Human Rights Award, Published December 08 2009 Morris Sun Tribune

  • *see Liberal Arts: Law, Judgment, Judge,Justice, etc..
    "...Also at Tuesday's meeting, Sal Monteagudo was introduced as the 4th-annual winner of the Morris Human Rights Award. The award is sponsored by the Morris Human Rights Commission and is presented to residents who further human rights in Morris.
    Monteagudo works for the Stevens County DAC and Prairie Community Services. He is a job coach for people with developmental disabilities. He volunteers for the Morris Literacy Project, English as a Second Language and GED classes and Special Touch Ministries.
    Monteagudo also is involved in other volunteer work that furthers human rights causes in Morris.
    Previous Human Rights Award winners are Peggy Kill, Nancy Huot and Bill Eckerson...

    "I would like to thank the Human Rights Commission Board Members for their time they put to continue the "cause" of "enforcing anti-discrimination laws" in the Morris area in various ways (e.g. Annual Essay Contest). I accept this award on behalf of everyone (e.g. caregivers and others in working with the developmentally disabled population in our community, educators teaching one student at a time, volunteers I've worked with through the Morris Community Ed-"Literacy Project: GED & ESL Classes" the past 5+ years, local churches, etc...) that is making a difference that many times doesn't and sometimes does get notice. Also, to the ones that I don't know that were nominated deserve this recognition too. I hope this award inspires each member of the surrounding community that they too can do their part in "making a difference" in the "human rights' co-mission (working-together)"...

    Russian Proverb. "If everyone gives a thread, the poor man will have a shirt."

    Let's keep that unity in commUNITIY! We are all in this together. I would like to invite anyone to contact me ( if you are looking for ways to help work together in these areas. Also, I would like to challenge the community to continue to find ways (e.g. Stevens Forward) to network with each other more in "reaching-out" to those that are "sometimes overlooked"-especially during these "uncertain" socially -economic-challenging, but "adventerous and rewarding" times...

    40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' -Matthew 25
    Morris man honored for ‘down-to-earth goodness’- Sal Monteagudo receives Morris Human Rights Award for DAC work and volunteer efforts to enhance Morris-area’s cultural diversity
    "Sal Monteagudo was introduced as the 4th-annual winner of the Morris Human Rights Award. The award is sponsored by the Morris Human Rights Commission and is presented to residents who further human rights in Morris.
    Monteagudo works for the Stevens County DAC and Prairie Community Services. He is a job coach for people with developmental disabilities. He volunteers for the Morris Literacy Project, English as a Second Language and GED classes and Special Touch Ministries.
    Monteagudo also is involved in other volunteer work that furthers human rights causes in Morris.
    In her nomination of Monteagudo, Elaine Simonds-Jaradat said “Sal has a natural urge to help people and a magical knack for finding people who need help.”
    Monteagudo treats his work clients with dignity and respect, but he goes beyond that to devote most of his personal time to service in the community, Simonds-Jaradat said.
    Monteagudo has been “way ahead of the curve” on reaching out to the area’s growing immigrant population, “connecting them with services they needed and often just being their friend,” she said.
    To address cultural diversity Monteagudo served as co-chair of the COPC program’s Community Dialogue Series, and he’s now partnering with Prairie Medical Associates physician’s assistant Alfredo Altamirano to ensure the area’s migrant community and indigent people receive proper health care.
    “Sal donates his time and energy to individuals and the community because he truly cares more about changing lives than being paid,” Simonds-Jaradat said. “He is unassuming in his demeanor and sees everyone as worthy of his attention. He never ceases to be awed by the fact that people from all over the world have made our rural community their home, whether as students, UMM faculty, farm workers, laborers or professionals. ... He is an asset to Morris and Stevens County who deserves recognition for his exemplary and down-to-earth goodness.”
    Previous Human Rights Award winners are Patty Kill, Nancy Huot and Bill Eckerson."

    Human Rights Award Winner December 11
    " A Stevens County Development Achievement Center employee is this years Human Rights Award winner.
    Sal Monteagudo is a job coach for the developmentally disabled, volunteers for the Morris Literacy Project, English as a Second Language and GED classes, works in volunteer programs with his church and participates in what he calls "Internet Activism". Monteagudo uses the network capabilities of the web to raise awareness of what is going on in the community here and abroad.
    Monteagudo grew up in St. Paul but has found community in Morris after graduating from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1999.
    The Morris Human Rights Commission has been receiving nominations for the areas human rights award for three years now with designs for creating awareness of human rights issues in our community."

    Sal Monteagudo '99 honored for 'down-to-earth goodness' Posted by Tom Larson, Morris Sun Tribune on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009
    "..University of Minnesota, Morris alumnus Sal Monteagudo '99 was introduced as the fourth-annual winner of the Morris Human Rights Award. The award is sponsored by the Morris Human Rights Commission and is presented to residents who further human rights in Morris. Monteagudo is a liberal arts for the human services graduate. ..

  • Univeristy of Minnesota-Morris "Profile" Fall of 2006
  • Sal Monteagudo '99 networks for newcomers to Morris community Posted by Judy Korn on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006

  • "A chance meeting in 2004 in Willie�s Super Valu in Morris led to UMM graduate Sal Monteagudo�s involvement with the Minnesota Literacy Council. An active community volunteer, his special interest is helping newcomers to the Morris area. When Leonardo, a native of Honduras, stopped him in the grocery-store aisle and asked if he could teach English, he wasn�t surprised.
    Monteagudo answered, �Hablo poco Espa�ol.� While he didn�t have the resources to provide English lessons, he wasn�t discouraged. The expert networker began telling Leonardo�s story, first at a UMM Spanish Club meeting, then at Morris Community Education. The result was the rebirth of the then-defunct Morris Literacy Project.
    Since then, the program has served 30 people, ages 18 to 60, from many different countries�Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, China, Russia, Ecuador and Bulgaria. Volunteers, many of whom are UMM students studying Spanish�and Monteagudo, tutor the English-as-a-second-language students.
    I grew up watching the hardships my mom and dad went through in their transition to America as immigrants from the Philippines,� he shares. �I saw the challenges that Hmong refugees and other immigrants face growing up in St. Paul schools. I want to share what I�ve been blessed with�my education�with others.�
    The program volunteers and students meet at the Morris Area Elementary School. The Minnesota Literacy Council and the Alexandria Runestone Learning Center provided computers and software.
    A 2005 Minnesota Literacy Council Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient, Monteagudo is quick to point out that the Morris Literacy Project is successful because of the efforts of many. He states: This project would not be possible without the campus-community relationship that's been growing over the years!
    Monteagudo is a member of the Morris Human Rights Commission, a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program, and served on the Morris All-American City committee. The 1999 UMM graduate, a liberal arts for human services major, is employed by the Stevens County Developmental Achievement Center.

    Free GED and ESL Classes in Morris June 6

    " Free Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes provide support through the process of learning or re-learning reading, writing, and math at Morris Area Community Education. Cindy Perkins is Director of Community Education at Morris, she says the classes are useful as refresher courses too. She says individuals interested in seeking a higher education degree often take the classes.
    A free Adult Basic Education/GED program and English as a Second Language are being offered through Community Education to area residents on Wednesday evenings from 6-9 p.m. at the Morris Elementary School room A104.
    ESL is available to adults whose native language in not English and who want to improve their English speaking, listening and reading skills.
    The Adult Basic Education Classes for the GED or High School Equivalency Test, teach basic reading, writing, spelling, math and every day living skills such as; completing forms, balancing a checkbook, and passing the written drivers's license test.
    Anyone aged 16 or over who has basic educational needs and is not presently enrolled in high school is welcome to enroll, call 589.4394.

    Donations Welcome to Support the Literacy Project in Morris
    *please note: "Morris Literacy Project"
    Thank you very much!

    Thank you for visiting GoodnewsMorris! Please feel free to e-mail me (Sal) at on any comments, suggestions (e.g. any new websites),complaints, or anytype of feedback to improve this website.

    Return to Goodnews Morris: Literacy Project

    This Page is Dedicated to:
    Katy Mohabir

    After nearly 30 years, a very special teacher retires
    By Celeste Beam, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press Published Friday, June 22, 2007
    " It�s hard to tell who is going to miss whom the most � the students or their mentor.
    Many students at the Runestone Regional Learning Center (RRLC) in Alexandria are sad that its coordinator � Katy Mohabir � is retiring.
    Her last day is June 26.
    Janae Ascheman of Alexandria, who graduated from the RRLC this past April, said, �Katy was like a second mom to me. I could talk to her about anything.�
    Ascheman said she is sad to see Mohabir leaving, but that she feels the retirement is well-deserved.
    �The RRLC was like a big family and Katy was always there for us,� said Ascheman.
    The 61-year-old Mohabir is also sad, yet slightly happy, that after nearly 30 years of working with students, she is moving on.
    She knows she will miss working with students � students who are hard working and are not the �losers� some people think they are.
    Mohabir said there is a preconceived notion that the RRLC is for �bad kids,� but she said it�s simply not true.
    �The students may be different, they may not fit the mold, but they are not bad,� she stressed. �Our students are good kids�they work hard and study hard, and they try to keep their academic standards high.�
    Although she may not get to know each and every student personally, Mohabir said that fortunately, she gets to witness the �end product� � when students, who may not have made it in a regular school setting, receive their high school diploma on time.
    �We see the successes. We know that we�ve made a difference and most of the students are not afraid to tell us,� she said. �Many will say that we [the teachers, staff and Mohabir] saved their life.�
    Mohabir remembered how one student, who now works for the Microsoft Corporation, stopped by to visit recently.
    �She told me, �I always think of you on Mother�s Day.� That is what I am going to miss after I retire,� she said. �You don�t ever really realize the impact you have on the students.
    �Knowing that I made a difference, that the program here made a difference�those are the greatest success stories,� she said.
    The modest Mohabir doesn�t like to take credit for the successes of students who attend the RRLC. She said staff members and teachers work hard and love the �unique� students who attend the center.
    �I just love those one-of-a-kinders!� she boasted.
    And they love her.
    Kayla Weber, an 18-year-old from Alexandria who attended the RRLC for three years, graduated earlier this month with her class at Jefferson High School (JHS) in Alexandria.
    �There is no way I could have graduated without Katy,� said Weber. �She was always there for me. She always helped me and I could talk to her about anything.�
    Weber added that she finished attending the RRLC on May 21 and has already been back to visit � 12 times.
    Weber, the mother of 2-year-old Landon, feels that if she would have remained in the traditional school setting, she wouldn�t have been able to graduate on time.
    �Katy helped me. I love Katy and I am really sad that she is retiring,� said Weber, who will soon be moving to Fargo, North Dakota to attend college. �I am going to miss them [the teachers and staff at RRLC] so much�especially Katy.�
    Katie Hawkinson of Alexandria said she wishes Mohabir wasn�t retiring.
    �It�s a bummer to know that she is leaving,� said Hawkinson. �She is such a nice lady and is so helpful. She treats you like you are a normal person.�
    Hawkinson said learning at the RRLC was different than a regular school. She even called it fun � something she wouldn�t have said prior to going to the center.
    She recalled the time when Mohabir called her to tell her she needed to take the Basics Skills Test � something no one else would have done.
    �Katy is a caring person. She would do anything for anybody. She is not judgmental at all,� said Hawkinson, who added that she is now on track to graduate next year.
    Mohabir, a single mother of three grown chidren, feels that her past experiences have helped her to be accepting of others and non-judgmental.
    �I have always wanted to help people,� the former Peace Corps member said.
    In the past 30 years, she helped more than 14,000 people receive their GED.
    �It has been really rewarding knowing that I had a hand in that. Those are the moments I will always remember,� she said.
    Alan Zeithamer, a School District 206 board member and member of the Runestone Area Education District, which heads the RRLC, said, �Katy has dedicated herself to students and their improvements. She gave hope and success to students � both young and old. The board wishes to thank Katy for all her years of dedication and service and we wish her nothing but the best.�
    A retirement open house for Katy Mohabir is planned for next Tuesday, June 26 at the Runestone Regional Learning Center from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be a short program to honor her beginning at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the open house retirement party.
    The center is available for any qualified students 16 years of age or older who need to complete their high school education and earn either a diploma or a GED (high school equivalency), or for anyone who needs to learn basic skills or English as a second language. Students can attend the center and also hold jobs. An on-site nursery is available for students who are parents. Classes operate on a continuous basis (including daytime and evening classes) and are free. Middle level programs are also available in the Minnewaska and Osakis school districts and at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria. The Runestone Regional Learning Center is located at 817 Fillmore in Alexandria."