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Rhode Island Adult Educators' Conference, April 22, 2004

Dear Colleagues:

The second Rhode Island State Adult Education Conference was held on April 22, 2004 at the Radisson Airport Hotel in Warwick.

As before, we have brought together a range of voices and skills to this conference, validating our strong suspicion that area adult educators have much to share with and learn from one another. We look forward to your being part of this dynamic process. .

A workshop is a hands-on session, combining demonstration and allowing participants an opportunity to try out an approach or strategy to classroom learning or the like. A roundtable or panel can bring together speakers who combine perspectives on a particular topic in order to give participants a fuller sense of the topic being discussed, in all its complexity. Morning essions will run for one and a half hours, and afternoon sessions are one hour long (with two one-hour sessions extending through the afternoon)..

To register for the conference, please contact LVA-RI (861-0815), or email janet_isserlis@brown.edu if you need registration paperwork to facilitate reimbursement. The registration fee is $20 per person, and scholarships are available.

conference program: revised April 23, 2004
unless otherwise indicated, speakers are confirmed; workshop descriptions may be updated

8:30 - 9:00 a.m. - registration, coffee, light light breakfast

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Getting Started, Moving On: Comprehensive Curriculum Development Tools for Trainers, Beginning Teachers and Volunteers, Victoria Richter, Ph.D.

This is a comprehensive hands-on session on curriculum development for students with minimum English skills. Participants will work on a 10-lesson curriculum that will include warm up activities, pair conversation practice, introduction and retention of vocabulary through the Total Physical Response method, personal and class story development, pronunciation, intonation and pattern practice through Jazz ChantsŪ, designing easy bingo games, and much more!

Victoria Richter dedicates her life to teaching and learning foreign languages. She draws on her past experiences as an ESL student to narrow the cultural and linguistic gaps between her and her students. She holds advanced degrees in language teaching from Russia, Canada and the USA.

Dyslexia: Assessing through the lifespan - Dr. Terry Harrison-Goldman, Ed.D.

Dr. Harrison-Goldman is a pediatric neuropsychologist in the Neurodevelopmental Center at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, She has extensive experience with learning disabilities in children and adults. Prior to coming to Memorial Hospital she was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics where she performed neuropsychological evaluation on children with cognitive and learning disabilities as well as autism and related disorders. She directs the neuropsychology internship and fellowship programs and the school psychology practicum program for the Neurodevelopmental Center. Her research interests are in dyslexia, both diagnostic assessment and treatment, as well as autism and she is currently studying MRI patterns in autistic children.

Health literacy: beyond reading the bottle

Language and literacy educators have long been aware of the overlap between the work we do and that of public health educators. While not medical practitioners ourselves, we've become increasingly sensitive to the amount of print involved in dealing with both day to day health-related issues, as well as the larger concerns of insurance, access to medical and mental health services and to medical benefits for those who work and those who are not in the workplace.

In this session, presenters will discuss some current efforts and resources designed to assist both teachers and learners in strengthening their abilities to understand and utilize needed health resources. As well, Dr. Ritchie will describe her work with TCHI (the Transcultural Community Health Initiative) a program whose principal objective is to create a series of community health worker (CHW) training programs. These programs will be made available to community organizations to train community members to be liaisons between their community and health care providers. The health worker training programs will be offered in community-based organizations i.e. Minority Health Promotion Centers, and will be able to stand-alone or be part of a career ladder for diverse underrepresented communities. The initiative works on many levels and builds on existing networks to improve educational options, provide new labor force options, and promote community organizations, advocacy, and health literacy.

Dr. Ritchie is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Brown and a Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA). Her focus in her professional life has been to understand and develop ways to effectively address the problems in our health care system that, for many, functions poorly across race, culture and class but disproportionately burdens underserved minority and immigrant populations.

Janet Isserlis has worked with adult learners and practitioners since 1980 in Rhode Island, and for four years, in Western Canada. She is project director of Literacy Resources/RI. Health resources can be found on LR/RI's website at http://www.brown.edu/lrri/advocate.html

Voter Education, Registration and Action (VERA) Campaign 2004 Workshop on Voting in the 2004 Elections - Kristen McKenna, RI Family Literacy Initiative

This interactive workshop focuses on teaching about democracy, voting and topical election issues, using the non-partisan 'Voting in the 2004 Elections' issue of The Change Agent paper. It is a resource for the New England Literacy Resource Center's2004 Voter Education, Registration and Action (VERA) campaign that aims to motivate adult educators to mobilize adult learners to become informed voters.

The workshop introduces the participants to the VERA campaign and strategies others have used to prepare and motivate adult learners to vote. It also highlights reading strategies that make text accessible to learners. Participants will experience one activity from the paper and explore how to use other articles and activities. They will leave with concrete ideas for their programs and classrooms. In the last section of the workshop, we will prepare participants to present this workshop to colleagues as a trainer and advocate. However, practitioners who do not wish to do so are also encouraged to attend the first part of the workshop.

The goals for participants in this workshop are to: become familiar with the VERA 2004 campaign and The Change Agent as a teaching resource, participate in the VERA 2004 campaign, leave the workshop with concrete ideas for how to engage students in becoming active and informed voters using The Voting in the 2004 Elections issue of The Change Agent, and to have fun!

The workshop will address these questions: Why focus on the elections and voting in adult education settings? What is the VERA 04 Campaign?, and will also invite participants to experience an activity from The Change Agent, to plan for instruction (generate and review teaching strategies for using text in instruction) and to work on further lesson planning. Finally, participants will review VERA Strategies from The Change Agent and will plan next steps to continue the work throughout the campaign season.

Kristen McKenna is the Literacy Services Coordinator for the RI Family Literacy Initiative, a statewide ESOL family literacy program and the Providence Public Library Literacy Department. She has taught many levels of adults and children in this program, ESOL preschool-aged children an Even Start Family Literacy Program and Cultural Art/Literacy in an Elementary and community classroom for nine years. She serves on the RI Adult Education Commission, the board of the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC), and is a member of MATSOL.


10:45 - 12:15

Return on Investment: workplace programs - Chris Hedenberg, Workplace Coordinator, Washington County Adult Education, Project Director, RI Workforce literacy Collaborative

This workshop is designed to provide planners and coordinators with specific tools on estimating the return on investment of workplace programs. Knowing this, combined with marketing and sales experience, has proven to substantially increase business participation in workplace education programs. Worksheets and hands on practice will reinforce the concepts. Each participant will be given a 50 page booklet with all materials, references and bibliography.

New England ABE-to-College Transition Project

This interactive roundtable introduces participants to the New England ABE-to-College Transition Project, comprised of 25 programs from six states. We will discuss what it takes to develop and implement a successful college transition program and will highlight the work of the Bridge Program at Dorcas Place and the College Transition Program at RIRAL.

The roundtable will:
1) Introduce people to the New England ABE-to-College Transition Project.
2) Share what we have learned about developing and implementing a successful college transition program.
3) Highlight specific experiences and promising practices from Transition to College at Network RI.
4) Introduce the audience to the Trio dissemination grant and the key components of that model.
5) Engage participants in a critical reflection of the importance of extending the educational ABE continuum to include college transition services.

The goal of the New England ABE-to-College Transition Project is to build program capacity and create opportunities for adult literacy program graduates to prepare for, enter and succeed in post-secondary education so as to help them improve and enrich their own and their families' lives. In this roundtable we will discuss how we are accomplishing this goal in quantitative and qualitative terms. We will highlight the best practices we have gleaned from our experience in running this network of programs for over two years. The presenters will touch on key elements related to planning, assessment, instruction, counseling and collaborating with post-secondary institutions.

Prior to her current post as President of Dorcas Place, Brenda Dann-Messier worked as Special Projects Manager and LAB Liaison for The Northeast & Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University. Before joining the Lab at Brown, Brenda served as Secretary of Education Richard Riley's Regional Representative for New England. In this role, she represented the Secretary in official relationships with state and local, public and private education agencies, schools, colleges, and state governance organizations in New England and was chief spokesperson in the field for promoting, supporting, and advancing the education legislative and reform agenda, and other education related initiatives of the Secretary and the Department in the six-state region.

Marie Crecca-Romero is the coordinator, language arts instructor, and counselor for the College Transition Program at NetWorkRI. Marie Crecca-Romero has been involved with the college transition program since its second academic cycle in 2000. She is responsible for community outreach, recruitment, enrollment, and maintains a strong relationship with CCRI. In addition, Marie teaches language arts, provides educational counseling and works with the mentor coordinator in tracking program graduates. Marie is an ESOL instructor at CCRI's Life Long Learning Department and teaches in the GED program at Project RIRAL. Marie Crecca-Romero has worked in the field of Adult Basic Education for eight years. Prior to that she worked in special education for 18 years.

Jessica Spohn is the Project Director of the New England ABE-to-College Transition Project at the New England Literacy Resource Center.

Projects that Work - Deborah Venator, Michele Rajotte, Nancy Fritz

The goal of the session is to present ideas for projects that have been successful in the presenters' classrooms. Project-based learning is an instructional approach that contextualizes learning by presenting learners with problems to solve or products to develop. Each of the three educators will present projects that they have done in their classes that worked particularly well with learners. They will describe the rationale behind the projects, the process that was followed to carry them out, and will show examples of the finished products. Projects appropriate for different levels will be described. Projects will include both short-term and long-term work.

Michele Rajotte is an ESOL instructor at The Genesis Center. She teaches an intermediate level class that focuses on work readiness. Michele has extensive teaching experience in all levels and ages - elementary through university students.

Deborah Venator is a Family Literacy instructor at The Genesis Center. Her class is multi-level and includes parent and child intergenerational activities. Deborah has taught family literacy classes for 13 years in Rhode Island.

Nancy Fritz is the Director of Adult Education at The Genesis Center. She taught English as a Second Language at beginning through intermediate levels for twelve years before moving into administration.

The International Charter School - bilingual education and why it matters to our communties - Julie Nora

Julie Nora, the Director of the International Charter School (ICS) , will share information about the school and engage participants in a dialogue about linking K-12 and adult education.  The International Charter School , a K - 5TH grade elementary public school of choice, founded by the International Institute of Rhode Island in 2001, uses a two-way immersion, bilingual education model, in which all students learn 50% of the time in English and 50% of the time in either Spanish or Portuguese.  Given its importance to the communities it serves in preserving language and culture, as well as in strengthening family and community ties, it makes sense that adult educators (working with parents of immigrant and refugee children) learn more about what the Charter School is doing specifically, as well as considering ways to build connections between adult and K-12 systems generally.

A graduate of San Francisco State University with an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Ms. Nora is a certified ESL Teacher and taught English to Speakers of Other Languages from 1993-2000 in various programs in Rhode Island and California including those at Brown University, the Providence Schools System, and Bryant College. Prior to becoming the Director of the International Charter School, she worked as an Equity and Diversity Program Planning Specialist with the Education Alliance at Brown University. In this capacity, she has become a national authority on bilingual education and the impact of comprehensive school reform on minority language students. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College Joint Ph.D. in Education Program, specializing in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Bilingual in English and Spanish with a working knowledge of French and Portuguese, Ms. Nora brings expertise to her position as a leader in education reform, bilingual education, and classroom practice.

12:15 - 1:15: LUNCH

1:15 - 2:15

Eureka! Inspirational Math Project - Mark Binder and Tom Brillat

Can stories help your students learn? Math anxiety is a condition that afflicts a noticeable percentage of the population. Learners of all ages frequently express difficulty at understanding and appreciating the importance of mathematics. "Just tell us how to pass the test..." What if you could break through the barriers and walls with a simple (and classic) technique ­ telling a story.

The presenters will offer instructors at all levels a method to help their students reduce anxiety and increase interest in mathematics. These stories will amuse and inspire ­ incorporating real-life applications of math skills. The presentation will also offer guidelines for developing and integrating math stories into the curricula. You'll hear the stories, learn about their possibilities, and be able to use what you've learned right away.

Mark Binder is an author and a storyteller. Tom Brillat is a storyteller and the director of the Washington County Learning Center. This is a project in-process.

Money Smart - Timothy W.Delessio

The FDIC workshop on Money Smart, a basic financial literacy curriculum, will provide a snapshot overview of the ten modules that make up the curriculum, some information about the FDIC, why it created a free financial literacy training program, and the need for building money management skills in communities. The FDIC recognizes the importance of financial education, particularly for people with little or no banking experience. That's why we created Money Smart, a training program to help adults outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships.

Financial education fosters financial stability for individuals and for entire communities. The more people know about credit and banking services, the more likely they are to increase savings, buy homes, and improve their financial health and well being. The Money Smart curriculum helps individuals build financial knowledge, develop financial confidence, and use banking services effectively.

The Money Smart program may be used by community and educational organizations that want to teach basic money management skills. Collaboration is important to the success of any education effort. The FDIC encourages banks to work with others in their communities to deliver financial education. Money Smart is all-inclusive, and available on a CD Rom in multiple languages.

Timothy W.Delessioo is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Community Affairs Officer in the Boston Area Office.  Mr. DeLessio is a Cum Laude Graduate of Siena College, receiving a Bachelors of Science in Finance. He graduated from The Graduate School of Retail Bank Management sponsored by the Consumers Bankers Association at the University of Virginia in 1999. Mr. DeLessio served in the United States Air Force from 1978 to 1982, and has worked with the FDIC in multiple capacities since 1985.

research share - Lisa Clark, Chrissy Courtney, Erick D. Garcia, Nancy Fritz, Michele Rajotte, Victoria Richter, Janet Isserlis

Six adult educators have been examining their practice, and working on research projects since the fall of 2003. Learn more about the rationale behind practitioner-driven research overall, as well as the progress each practitioner has made in her/his work over the months. During this informal session, we will talk about the value of practitioner-based research generally and explore each teachers' specific project.

1:15 - 2:15 and 2:30 - 3:30 - these two (two-hour) workshops run through two consecutive timeslots

Using WE LEARN Resources to Build Learning Experiences - Mev Miller WE LEARN (Women Expanding / Literacy Education Action Resource Network) promotes women's literacy as a tool for education and transformation. WE LEARN' s goals include developing a network of learners, literacy workers, librarians, educators, and writers committed to and involved in the process of creating women-centered adult basic literacy materials and curriculum resources; maintaining an updated and annotated resource list of such materials, easily accessible to the adult literacy community; and developing a process for the publishing and dissemination of women-centered literacy resources and curriculum materials for and by women literacy learners.

WE LEARN is the first organization to offer an extensive list of women-centered literacy materials as well as some insight into the kinds of reading materials adult women learners would find interesting and meaningful. WE LEARN has designed a website with areas designed for adult learners and educators. It is an interactive tool for resource development and information sharing.

At our presentation in the 2003 conference, we discussed general information about women's literacy and the work of WE LEARN. This workshop will build on that foundation by presenting the resources currently available on the WE LEARN website and demonstrating the ways in which learners and practitioner can contribute to the contents of the website. Participants will explore practical ways of using WE LEARN resources and the website and discuss ways to carry this work into their programs. Through hands on activities, participants will have an opportunity to explore ways of using print materials as well as technological resources provided by the WELEARN website. Participants will be asked to reflect on how and why and to what benefit they have used or could use women-centered materials and curriculum. This workshop will be designed to include active participation from both practitioners and learners in all areas. A display table of books and handouts will also be available.

Mev Miller, Ed.D. is the founder and coordinator of WE LEARN (Women Expanding / Literacy Education Action Resource Network).

The Governor's Task Force on Adult Literacy - Judy Titzel and Kip Bergstrom

4 working groups of the task force will report out what they have accomplished to date. (It will be up to the groups who will be doing the reporting and how. For example, a working group may be wrestling with a particular question that they want feedback on; another group may have drafted a set of recommendations that they want feedback on; etc). To learn about the task force's work, please see http://www.ripolicy.org/literacy/

Following questions and answers, a small group activity will gather feedback on all of the work, allowing time for folks to participate in at least two topic discussions/feedback sessions. Other comments can be posted on the listserv. suggestions for this piece are welcome. Might also have a gallery walk of the points each group wants to make with others writing in thoughts as they view.

2:30 - 3:30

Preparing Students for the Math GED - Betsy Beach

This workshop explores how to engage students in learning mathematics. It includes how to teach and what to teach in order to enhance student success on the math GED test. This is a hands on workshop that includes a sharing session for each participant's success stories.

Betsy Beach holds a BA Urban Education Brown University and is Administrator and GED Math Teacher, Dorcas Place and Career Tracks Youth

2:30 - 3:30

Writing for the GED- Kathleen Howell

This workshop will focus on strategies to help educators teach students to write for the GED essay. During this hour long session educators will use a model that has helped students to understand how to write the GED essay. In addition, instructors will use various guidelines to help them evaluate student writing. This evaluation process will help the instructor, as well as the student, determine if the student is prepared to pass the writing portion of the GED. 

Instructors will also be made aware of the "conjunction rule," student self-evaluation and KISS and will also share their strategies that have been successful.

Kathleen Howell entered teaching as a second career in 1997 after 20 years in public relations and marketing communications. Kathleen has used techniques developed in her marketing career to motivate and educate her students. Prior to becoming a professional teacher, Kathleen was named Literacy Volunteer of the Year by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. She was the subject of a feature story in the Boston Globe Magazine and USA Today focusing on her innovative use of music in teaching literacy to non-readers.

A graduate of Bridgewater (MA) College, Kathleen has worked at the Attleboro (MA) Adult Education Program, Dorcas Place in Providence and is currently teaching at Westbay Community Action in Warwick. She resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband.

invitation to exhibitors

The Rhode Island Adult Education community is pleased to announce its upcoming statewide conference, to be held on Thursday, April 22nd, 2004. We are writing this to invite your participation, at which we hope our colleagues will have opportunities to network with one another, examine new materials and otherwise connect and broaden their networks.

In order to defray our costs, we are asking for a $50.00 per table fee for exhibit space ­ which includes table space, but not internet connection. (If this can be arranged through the hotel hosting the site, we are glad to consider it, but will likely need to request an additional fee).

We would be grateful if you could let us know by March 15th if you plan to participate. Exhibit space will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. We look forward to hearing from you.

Additional teacher/tutor resources are also posted at Teacher, Tutor and Volunteer Worker Resources; additional information about other conferences online at Current Bulletin

For additional information, please contact LR/RI.

updated April 23, 2004

2003 conference

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