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Sound Bites - Issue #57 - May 2018 - #287

On the Cover
Lisa Saperston, TOEFL Instructor, Passes the Test!

TOEFL instructor : Lisa Saperston

Instructor Lisa Saperston

Lisa Saperston with her sister Monica

A native of Mar Vista, Lisa Saperston is currently teaching ESL and English classes at SMC, West Los Angeles College, L.A. City College and L.A. Southwest College and Santa Monica College. Raised in a bilingual household (English and Swedish), she majored in French at USC and earned a Master of Science degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from USC. She teaches Preparing for the TOEFL at SMC Community Ed. She has been teaching since 1995.

Please briefly describe what TOEFL stands for and what the classes are about?

TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, is a standardized assessment tool to evaluate American English language proficiency. During the 4 ½ hour exam, test-takers read passages and listen to lectures before responding to a variety of questions, evaluating reading and listening comprehension, measuring vocabulary understanding, and employing critical thinking skills. Test-takers also prepare and develop timed writing assignments and oral presentations. Most American community college and university admission offices and American employers rely on the TOEFL exam results to measure English language proficiency before issuing an acceptance letter or job offer.  

Does the class provide useful strategies and tips to help students pass the TOEFL?

Absolutely YES! Students engage in a variety of introspective and interactive activities to successfully build confidence, overcome test-taking anxiety, and achieve desired exam results. Throughout the course, students explore vocabulary learning techniques, note-taking strategies and time management tips to customize and apply to each section of the exam.

What do you like about teaching at SMC Community Ed?

I enjoy the diversity and curiosity of the students!  

What are the rewards of teaching TOEFL?

When my students make sure I know that they passed the TOEFL exam! I am grateful to have had a positive influence on their journeys toward meeting their personal, educational, and professional goals.

What kinds of students do you have?

Students who are au pairs living with American families wanting to improve their English. Students applying to a university master or doctoral program requiring a certain score on the TOEFL exam. Students who need to provide proof of English Language Proficiency to begin work in the U.S. Students who have lived in the U.S. for some months and want to take the exam and use the results when they return to their home country for school acceptance or to apply for a new job.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A morning drive along PCH to Paradise Cove in Malibu to explore the tide-pools at low tide and then to have a seafood brunch! 

What is one of the best compliments you ever received?

You really take care of me, you are like my mom in L.A.!

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I took a picture of my students enjoying an excursion out of the classroom and in the City of Angels!

What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Snowboarded at Mammoth Mountain and biked along the SM beach bike path all in the same day! 

Lisa Saperston will teach Preparing for the TOEFL beginning June 19.

What's New
Vote Your Favorite Photo for Our Fall Catalog Cover!

Alice Meyering

Catalina Munoz - PLATEAU POINT"

Dave Clancy - RUDE BOYS ROSE

SMC Community Ed uses the Augusoft Lumens' platform for its websiteHai Vu - MURAL OVERLOOKING PEOPLE IN CROSSWALK

from the desk of Alice Meyering

We're excited to announce the three finalists for our Fourth Annual Photo Contest -- and YOU get the opportunity to choose the winner by voting at this link to your ballot. Voting continues until Monday, June 4, with the winner and runners-up announced shortly thereafter.

Once again we are so pleased to have received 150 submissions this year, and we thank all 34 participants for sharing with us their best visions in their worlds. As we launch into public voting for the winning photo, we ask our faithful readers to make this a blowout year for us in participating in the voting process and let us know what you would like to see on the cover for our Fall 2018 catalog .

Aside from from being showcased as the cover photo, the winning image will be featured on social media and our marketing and public relations materials.

2018 Photo Contest FinalistsThe top three photos in no particular order

Voting on the submissions went through two panels of judges to reach the Final 3. And because of both the quantity and quality of these wonderful photos, it was a very difficult task. But we believe that our community's participation in selecting the winner and two runners-up is the most important element of the Photo Contest and, as always, the support and participation of our public has been the greatest motivation for our program. Thank you so much and please show your love for us by going to this link and vote!

For questions on the voting process, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Visit our award winning website at to register for classes online 24/7. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our classes. You can email us at or call us at (310) 434-3400.

Behind the Scenes:
Treasures of Asian Decorative Arts

Eleanor Schrader at Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

Eleanor with friend, renowned architect Christopher Sorensen

Eleanor's upcoming lecture Treasures of Asian Decorative Arts on July 14

Eleanor Schrader -- design, architecture and art historian and expert -- will continue her illustrated design lecture series this summer with a topic that is somewhat new to her audiences: "Treasures of Asian Decorative Arts." This is scheduled for July 14.

Typically, she lectures and leads tours on European and American design, but the twist on this lecture is that she wants to show cross-cultural influences.

“I’m particularly interested in highlighting Asian influences on Western culture,” Schrader says. “In the 1660s, Chinese emissaries came to Louis XIV’s court, and the French fell in love with Asian art and design. They’d never seen anything like it.”

Even after World War II, she said, the West has been fascinated with Asian design and art. For example, she said, Western culture tended to flesh out the female body, but Asians depicted the human figure in a flat way. Westerners were also intrigued by Asians’ use of lacquer.

Eleanor will explore the rich aesthetics of Asian design within the cultural histories in which they were created. She says her audience will find out about the decorative arts of China, Japan, India, and Korea, and the richness and variety of materials and techniques used by the artists and craftspeople.

Schrader has been giving design lectures at SMC Community Ed for two years, and for five years before that at SMC.

She is an award-winning educator, lecturer, writer, and historical design consultant. She lectures worldwide on the history of furniture, decorative arts, architecture, and interiors and leads art and architecture tours throughout the world.

She has been named a Distinguished Instructor at UCLA Extension, where she teaches history of architecture, interior design, furniture, and decorative arts. She is also Professor Emeritus of Art and Architectural History at SMC.

She has done graduate work in fine and decorative arts at Sotheby's Institute in London and New York and has served as a Design Review Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills. She hosted a radio show on Voice America Internet radio called "Dishing the Dirt on Design." She has served on the Board of Directors of the Beverly Hills Historical Society, Beverly Hills Heritage, the Malibu Adamson House Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House Foundation, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the John Lautner Foundation.

Eleanor Schrader will present the lecture "Treasures of Asian Decorative Arts" on July 14.

Coming Soon! New IT Professional Online Courses

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

I'm pleased to announce that starting this fall, SMC Community Ed will be offering courses designed to meet the needs of beginners seeking to launch a career in the field of IT and courses for more seasoned professionals that are seeking to add a nationally recognized certification.

The courses are being offered through a new -- and unique -- partnership with SimpliLearn (formerly Market Motive) that allows us to offer specially priced bundled courses. All the courses are online and self-paced.

Among the bundle of courses to be offered is Project Management Specialist, which will include classes in PMP, Microsoft Project 2013 and Agile Scrum Master. This bundle of courses is designed for those with five years of related experience.

Also to be offered will be Big Data Specialist, which will include classes in Big Data Hadoop & Spark Developer and Data Science with Python. It is appropriate for a learner with fluency in Core Java, and some amount of familiarity with Python and Scala but not necessarily fluency.

The beginner courses are offered through California's Eligible Training Provider List. Please contact us at or (310) 434-3400 for more information.

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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