DMACC Newton Campus Expands ESL Program

Posted 11/28/2017

​The DMACC Newton Campus English as a Second Language (ESL) program is expanding.  The program started through a partnership with local manufacturer TPI Composites, Inc. last year. 

“Newton’s growing immigrant population is a critical part of our workforce,” said Newton Campus Provost Dr. Joe DeHart.  “Growing the Newton Campus’s ESL enrollment is how DMACC can help Jasper County’s employers be successful and grow their businesses in Central Iowa.”

 “Starting the initial ESL program was very challenging because the students represented many different languages and a wide range of English fluency levels,” said Dr. Jennie Doke-Kerns, DMACC Newton Campus Associate English Professor and Academic Achievement Center Group Leader.  “This semester we’re serving 15 students with lead instructor Jenni Patty, part time assistant Kimberly Schnell and some volunteers from local community organizations.”

Doke-Kerns said the program is now meeting the students at their individual ability needs.

She said the DMACC Newton Campus will continue offering ESL classes this spring semester and add an evening section of ESL to serve those who are unable to attend classes during the day.

After starting the ESL classes on the Newton Campus, representatives from Marion County Public Health in Knoxville approached DMACC about creating a program to serve their community.

“That organization has been wonderful in providing space and even child-care for the ESL class that started this fall,” said Doke-Kerns. “It’s been a great success, serving ten students representing at least seven different countries and four different languages.”

She said the program will undoubtedly grow as more people in the community become aware of its existence.  In addition, that same organization is assisting the DMACC Newton Campus is establishing a high school completion program to serve the Knoxville community.

For more information on the Newton Campus ESL program, contact Doke-Kerns at

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