The article below originally appeared in the Half Moon Bay Review and is being reprinted with permission.

Students at La Costa Adult School learn a range of practical skills that can help them navigate life on the coast. Photo courtesy La Costa Adult School.

Students at La Costa Adult School learn a range of practical skills that can help them navigate life on the coast. Photo courtesy La Costa Adult School.

La Costa Adult School in Half Moon Bay, part of the Cabrillo Unified School District, has been experiencing steady post-pandemic growth, thanks in part to ramped up marketing efforts. Drew Gamet, who joined the team as director last year, said that La Costa hit a new enrollment high during the previous academic year and is looking to beat that number in the future.

“Hopefully we can just keep finding people and providing them with what they need,” said Gamet, adding that La Costa’s overall goal is to enable learners to become more involved in the broader community.

Starting next month, La Costa will be offering summer ESL classes for the first time. The school is also busy developing a new vocational certificate program in collaboration with the College of San Mateo that will launch in the fall. The summer session features ESL classes at three different levels.

“Our focus is to see if summertime is a viable thing for us or not,” said Gamet.

“Some people like to take time off in the summer and spend more time with family and some people want classes all the time, so we are just trying to get a sense of where things are in this community in terms of people’s interest in taking summer classes.”

The new vocational program is slated for a fall launch. Currently, La Costa is developing two 12-month programs that will culminate in a certificate. For one, participants will complete training as a senior home health assistant, and for the other they will learn skills to become an office assistant. Outside instructors with specialized knowledge will be invited to Half Moon Bay to teach the content portion of the course, working alongside La Costa ESL instructors.

“It’s a learning program that has been successful in other places, and it is something new that we’re bringing to this area,” said Gamet. “By moving through a program with more efficiency, students feel a lot more success.”

Eventually, Gamet said La Costa would like to expand the vocational program to include a greater variety of offerings along with some shorter certification courses like CPR. In a year’s time, participants could potentially obtain two to three certificates.

“That way, we make sure participants have a certificate at the end of the 12 months so that they’re able to either go to work or to continue their education and develop additional skills,” said Gamet. “The goal is for learners to be in a position to find a job with better pay and higher job satisfaction.”

Classes at a glance

La Costa Adult School, located at 498 Kelly Ave. in Half Moon Bay, offers a series of practical classes to members of the Coastside community. Registration can be completed online at

Upcoming courses include:

  • ESL Summer School: July 10  to Aug. 2. Classes are held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday.
  • ESL Fall Semester: Sept. 5 to Dec. 22. Morning classes are held from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday and Thursday. Evening classes are held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Child care is available in the evenings for registered students.

Recurring courses: 

  • K-12 Success, a program exclusively for elementary school parents. Classes are offered at Hatch Elementary School, located at 490 Miramontes Ave. in Half Moon Bay.
  • ESL for Seniors
  • High School Diploma
  • High School Equivalency