LITERACY RESOURCES/RI/ Progress report, July, 2003

Literacy Resources/Rhode Island workplan - July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004

As it is administered by the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, LR/RI continues to utilize University technical assistance for the implementation of Internet applications and University space for conferences, meetings and colloquia. As well, during the coming work period, LR/RI and the Swearer Center will oversee fiscal arrangements regarding disbursement of payments for activities as indicated by the state director of adult education, thereby facilitating payment processes to those involved.

LR/RI is constantly working to increase participation in professional development opportunities available to adult educators in the state. As mentioned above, such opportunities come in the form of sharing/discussion sessions, (which encourage practitioners to come together to identify their own strengths and needs, and connect practitioners to human and material resources needed to strengthen and ameliorate practice), participation in inquiry projects, ongoing workshops and follow-up activities, and an open invitation to practitioners to utilize LR/RI to cover classes so that teachers may observe and discuss one another's work. LR/RI supports the state director1s initiatives GED 2002 trainings, for example, as well as those of the HRIC training teams by disseminating that information through its bulletin and also, when appropriate, providing access to web-based and other supporting materials as part of the larger process of disseminating information and supporting educators1 professional development. LR/RI disseminates information about professional development opportunities available beyond the state, and collaborates with its counterparts in the SABES (Massachusetts) systems, to ensure that access to programs is made available to RI practitioners as space allows.

Specific areas of ongoing focus include/specific actions to be taken over the course of the next funding period:

increasing use of, support for and access to the internet and related technology by continuing to provide access to practitioners and learners wanting to learn to use the technology, and providing training as needed in order to facilitate integration of technology into adult education practice


LR/RI will continue to invite practitioners to participate in sharing/discussion sessions on technology and to offer ongoing internet/computer training to the field on an as-needed basis, in addition to drop in sessions on an as-needed basis. It will also work with the state director of adult education to consider both online packaged learning courses as well as ways to continue to assist educators in learning how to integrate existing trade applications and internet sites into their courses.

dissemination of information / increasing access to national, regional and local information, conferences, and projects


maintain an online inventory of program information in concert with LVA-RI/HRIC, increase sharing of in-house and cross/joint collaboration where possible.

continue development of the web site: links, pages developed for particular interests, local practitioners adding content, all pages are updated regularly)

continue to develop and disseminate the bulletin as noted above.

professional development activity


continue work to expand opportunities, as mentioned above, for practitioners to observe one another within and across programs/agencies

increase practitioner facilitation of/reporting on sharing sessions so that LR/RI has a less active and more supportive role

continue to address practitioners' requests for assistance on an as-needed basis

work with the state director of adult education to address priorities indicated above and to ensure a smooth flow of communication and concerted action.

support learning disabilities activities. LR/RI will continue to work closely with the state director to ensure that adult educators receive information about diagnosis/assessment available to learning disabled adults, will work to educate program directors and practitioners about the ramifications of different testing instruments as part of a substantive statewide effort towards systemic change, and will also participate in ensuring that the field is aware of diagnostic assessment procedures available to adults in the state through the agreement between RIDE and URI, should this assessment/diagnoses work continue into the next project period. Janet will also continue to meet with the FIP education and LD subcommittees.

develop new funding sources for professional development opportunities which strengthen connections between the adult education field and other social service/community providers whose clients / customers utilize services across domains. (The NAEPDC follow-up survey, and pending funding from the American Foundation for the Blind are examples of such supplementary support).

participate on boards and committee work (NIFL special collections, Adult Education Commission) listed at the beginning of this report

present workshops at national and regional conferences. (To date one such workshop is scheduled for the New Hampshire annual adult education conference in October, as well as RI's second annual conference, scheduled for April, 2004).

With programs in the state experiencing across the board cuts in funding, LR/RI is rethinking its inquiry project plan, and meeting, on July 31st, with practitioner stakeholders to develop an interim-year series of events designed to support practitioner research while acknowledging that the limited funding available as well as increased interest amongst practitioners in research requires a year to re-think our strategy and to develop smaller, but sustainable projects with increased numbers of practitioner.

While this year's plan represents an increase in directly-provided professional development activities (state conference, mentorship project, and reconsideration inquiry projects), in addition to ongoing support detailed throughout this narrative, LR/RI also hopes to engage more program level professional development staff in its work of deepening our commitment to quality professional development.

Other areas of professional development for which additional support will be necessary include supporting programs in implementing two-year grants under the Workforce Investment Act, improved means of assessing and reporting on learner/program progress, as well as an ongoing responsiveness to practitioners' requests for information, assistance and access to one another.

LR/R's work will continue to be evaluated through the use of paper/pencil evaluation at the completion of workshop sessions, as well as pre-post surveys of those participating in the workshops and discussion groups and other means of assessing the project's usefulness in terms of direct classroom instruction and increased practitioner knowledge/learning. Indicators of success will be found in teachers' and program directors assessment of improved classroom practice, and (where feasible) through learners' reports as well. Email and other informal feedback is also gathered and archived in order to provide an ongoing record of LR/RI's impact on the field.

ongoing communication/information sharing

LR/RI has developed a viable communications network. Its web site and regular bulletin distribution are in place, but also need to be strengthened so that this information is not stopped at the front line (i.e. a program director who may or may not distribute the information). To this end, a growing number of adult educators receive copies of the bulletin directly (via mail or email). Increased proactive outreach to others in the field will continue. LR/RI continuously responds to requests for information in the areas of employment, professional development opportunities and general information about adult education, receives information for dissemination through its bulletin (these requests arrive via phone, fax and email), and also responds to both Rhode Island-specific requests as well as requests from practitioners nationwide. Its project director attends meetings of the state's key literacy groups, in an ongoing attempt to ensure that information is shared as broadly as possible amongst key stakeholders.

Development of teacher education in the areas of math and also supporting efforts to assist teachers with the changes in GED 2002, EFF and continued development of standards reporting processes:

This professional support could take the form of ongoing sharing/discussion groups as well as periodic workshops with the sharing groups in place to support the learning and exploration that we hope teachers will undertake vis a vis math, changes to the essay piece of the GED, etc. It is hoped that follow-up sessions to those workshops already offered will create spaces for exchange and learning amongst practitioners working with ABE and GED learners. We've discussed practitioners who may be well positioned to facilitate these sharing sessions as well as some of the workshops - depending on what further needs are identified by practitioners. Through these sharing sessions we could learn more about what practitioners feel their areas of strength and weakness around math to be and plan workshops and other events to support their learning. In order to help teachers understand that math isn't just for "math teachers" we'll need to think about how to invite folks in a way that helps them see, from the beginning, ways in which math is already connected to their ongoing work. As well, we need to continue to assist practitioners in understanding connections between their own observations of learner progress and ways of linking that progress to EFF, NRS and other relevant standards-based reporting systems.

moving the field forward

LR/RI remains committed to building an assets-based, practitioner-driven means of moving the field forward in ways that broaden our understandings of adult learners' needs and strengths, and recognize and strengthen connections between discrete areas (e.g. health, housing, community wellness, civic participation) and literacy learning itself. Adults come to literacy instruction with experience and expertise and also with questions and needs to be met. Drawing on learners' stated goals, negotiated curricula processes and increased understandings for adult educators about both theoretical underpinnings and methodological realities while posing broader questions in important contexts remains critical to the work LR/RI does. On a day to day level LR/RI is committed, too, to assisting programs in understanding means of assessing learner goals and of reporting those goals to relevant funding sources. Part of this process includes sharing information about standards and reporting on line and through direct contact, as well as supporting initiatives of the state director, and supporting other agencies1 efforts to share information about their workshops and events

LR/RI depends upon the participation of and input from adult learners, educators and administrators across the state, and appreciates suggestions received from literacy workers both within and beyond the state's borders. While RIDE and individual programs have supported practitioners' professional development, there is a pressing need in the state to increase linkages and communication between and among practitioners and programs. Enabling these linkages to develop organically and over time seems a wise strategy in attempting to institutionalize the possibilities inherent in ongoing sharing and communication for those teaching in and administering programs for adult learners in the state. Literacy Resources/RI proposes to maintain its commitment to the state's adult education field in disseminating information and providing support for and access to professional development across the state in order to meet the needs of the learner populations as fully as possible in the manners described above and in ongoing consultation with the field.

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