Overview of the Massachusetts (MA) Adult Basic Education (ABE) System

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1 Overview of the Massachusetts (MA) Adult Basic Education (ABE) System Luanne Teller World Education, Inc. 44 Farnsworth Street Boston, Massachusetts

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3 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Purpose The Massachusetts ABE system exists to provide each and every adult with opportunities to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment, and to reach his/her full potential as a family member, productive worker, and citizen. Mission statement adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Education, 1993

4 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Goals of the Massachusetts ABE System Ensure That Adults Needing Basic Education Have Access to Services Promote need for ABE Expand delivery options-distance Learning, Workplace Education Increase System Effectiveness and Quality Increase student outcomes Support education and educator effectiveness Prepare Students for Success in Their Next Steps: In College and Further Training, at Work, and in the Community Transition to post-secondary education Workforce readiness/development Family Success Civic Engagement Facing the Future: Massachusetts Strategic Framework for Adult Basic Education, 2010

5 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Funding The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) funds ABE programs through an open and competitive grant application process, approximately once every five years. Eligible applicants are public and private non-profit entities that include: Local educational agencies (LEAs/ K-12 schools) Community-based organizations (CBOs) Volunteer literacy organizations (LVM) Institutions of higher learning (4 year and community colleges) Public or private nonprofit agencies, libraries, public housing authorities

6 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Funding Type Adult Learner Centers (Includes Adult Basic Ed, ESOL, GED) # of Programs Amount 78 $23,188,924 Correctional Facilities 11 $1,462,678 Transitions to College 11 $842,372 Volunteer Instruction 1 $382,402 Total 101 $25,876,376

7 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Cost-reimbursable vs. Performance Based Funding Programs are funded through cost-reimbursable grants. They submit monthly expenditures to ESE for reimbursement. However: Program performance was considered in the most recent funding application (spring 2012). 35/100 points were awarded based on past performance for existing program applicants. For new applicants, points were awarded based on auditable FY2007- FY2011 data, in numbers and percentages, that verifies past performance in areas aligned as closely as possible with the Massachusetts 2011 Performance Standards for Community Adult Learning Centers.

8 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System MA ABE Program Performance Standards Attendance Average Attended Hours Pre and Post Test Percentage Learner Gains Setting and Meeting Student Goals Federal (NRS) Educational Functioning Level Completion

9 Massachusetts Adult Basic Workforce Development Education System MA ABE Collaborations Career Pathways (Local Investment Boards) Models to Successfully Transition Adult Learners to Community College Projects (Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Commonwealth Corporation) Higher Education ABE Transitions to College (11 Community Colleges) MA Community College and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (Contextualized Curriculum aligned to college level courses, 15 Community Colleges) Vision Project Transformation of Mathematics/Developmental Education (Department of Higher Education) Private Foundations Open Society Foundation (Focus on reintegrating ex-offenders) Boston Opportunity Agenda (Focus on developing Bridge to College Programs)

10 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Current ABE Students About 20,000 adult learners receive services annually Another 16,000 are on wait lists 60% are unemployed 40% are parents 60% seek ESOL services 70% of ABE students are not ready for GED level classes The median age is 30 About 10% of students are under the age of 25

11 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Student Advising Educational Counseling must be provided to all students enrolled in adult basic education programs and students must be able to identify counseling services. The program must have the capacity to communicate and provide counseling with the most predominant student language group in their native language. Multi-site programs must provide educational counseling services to enrolled students at each site. Educational Counseling and ADA services must be available at flexible times to meet students needs, including during class hours. There must be a posted schedule stating the days and times that counseling is available to students. Massachusetts Guidelines for Effective Adult Basic Education for Community Adult Learning Centers and Adult Basic Education Programs in Correctional Institutions, p

12 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Student Advising Student advising is required and funded through a rates system. A dedicated student advisor must be staffed at each program. Rates support student advising at 2 ½ % of student hours: e.g., a program with 100 students who attend for 30 weeks at 10 hours per week = 100 x 30 x 10 x 2.5% = 750 hours of advising Instructors are expected to support integrated advising in classroom instruction by supporting learners in setting and meeting personal, family, career, and educational goals. Student goals are set annually, and documentation of goals met is entered into a statewide database. Goals set and met are a program performance measure.

13 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education System Educational Advising Responsibilities Intake, assessment, and follow-up. Goal setting must be coordinated with teachers to inform instruction; Referrals to other community resources/agencies, particularly with organizations identified through and participating in ABE Community Planning; Assistance in overcoming barriers to attendance such as childcare and transportation; Assistance with transitioning students to concurrent and/or the next step in their academic/job training experience; this includes maintaining a close and proactive working relationship with area Career Center and Community College admissions staff; and Record keeping including documentation of counseling activities and hours.

14 MA DESE/ACLS Education and Career Plan Policy Update 9/13 (Excerpts from Memo from Anne Serino, ABE State Director ) Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) is committed to endorsing a new process for advising - one that puts students' needs, hopes, and aspirations at the center of ABE services. With the implementation of individual student education and career plans, "next steps" planning becomes a system-wide effort to help students achieve success in a constantly changing and ever more challenging economy. Students have widely varying needs for future planning. Some may have specific goals when they enroll in an ABE program, including supporting their children's literacy development and helping them to succeed in school. Some students may or may not envision a career or attending college, but it is important that ALL adult learners are exposed to all possibilities. Too few students who get their GED go on to post-secondary education and of those who do go on, not enough successfully complete certificate or degree programs. This MUST change if students are to become self-sufficient. To this end, the advising process must be characterized by a positive, dynamic approach to help students to revision their lives and set goals for further educational attainment. It's a challenge to tackle this kind of change, but by working together in a collaborative spirit and guided by research-based reforms in advising practice, students can more effectively succeed in education and in life. We must increase student engagement and retention, and help students take steps beyond the GED.

15 Overview of the Massachusetts (MA) Professional Development (PD) System for ABE

16 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE The primary provider of professional development (PD) to Massachusetts Adult Basic Education practitioners is: SABES The System for Adult Basic Education Support

17 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE SABES is comprised of: 5 Regional Support Centers that provide PD to Adult Basic Education practitioners (teachers, directors, advisors, support staff, technologists) & 1 Central Resource Center that provides system-wide coordination and oversight.

18 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE Funding SABES is funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)/Adult Community Learning Services (ACLS). The Regional Support Centers are funded through an open and competitive grant application process every three years. The Central Resource Center is funded through an open and competitive contract application process every three years.

19 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE Cost-Reimbursable vs. Performance Based Funding The 5 Regional Support Centers are funded through cost-reimbursable grants. They submit monthly expenditures to ESE for reimbursement. Costs must be aligned with the budget each Regional Support Center submits with its funding application. Within the three year funding cycle, Regional Support Centers must submit and negotiate annual budgets. The Central Resource Center is funded through a performance-based contract. A Scope of Services (SOS) is negotiated annually which specifies the required deliverables for the year. The Central Resource Center submits an invoice with each quarterly report that documents that deliverables in the SOS were met.

20 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE SABES centers have lead responsibility for a content area: Mathematics and Numeracy: West and Central Resource Center ESOL: Central and Northeast Reading: Southeast Writing: Greater Boston The Central Resource Center has lead responsibility for developing teacher content standards in all content areas, working with Regional Support Center staff and expert consultants. SABES has been reorganized this way in order to reflect a sharper focus on two goals in the Massachusetts Strategic Framework for ABE: 1. Increasing system effectiveness and quality, and 2. Preparing students for their next steps.

21 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE SABES centers also have lead responsibility for a program support area: Student Advising: Northeast Educational Leadership: Central and Central Resource Center Distance Learning Programs: Central College and Career Readiness: Southeast Technology Support: West and Boston Each Regional Support Center is also responsible for : 1. PD that supports the National Reporting System (NRS)-mandated standardized assessments of learner gain 2. Support to underperforming programs in the region

22 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE Services Rendered In FY2012, SABES provided 14,393 hours of professional development to 4,020 participants. The Regional Support Centers provide the majority of direct delivery of PD to practitioners. The Central Resource Center is responsible for coordination and administration of online professional development courses. The Central Resource Center is responsible for leading efforts to develop state content standards for teachers.

23 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE Examples of SABES PD Content Support Other Math Workshops (face-to-face and online) ESOL Foundations (Sequence of courses) Writing Course STAR (Student Achievement in Reading) Reading GED Preparation Foundations of Advising SMARTT/Cognos (Database systems) Integrating Career Awareness (ICA) Educational Leadership: Human Resources, Planning for Continuous Improvement Support of Distance Learning Curriculum for Students Foundations for New Staff (Mandatory ) American Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator Orientation (Mandatory) Technical Assistance (TA) for Underperforming Programs Standardized National Reporting System (NRS) Assessment Training TA for ABE License Seekers (Optional)

24 Massachusetts Professional Development System for ABE Accountability The SABES System Performance Measures are attached to the Central Resource Center contract. The System Performance Standards are used to determine eligibility for refunding the Central Resource Center contract within the three-year funding cycle. An annual work plan is negotiated for the full SABES system that documents the professional development to be provided for the upcoming year. Regional Support Centers are responsible to administer the budget according to negotiated agreements and to deliver the activities in the work plan. Beside being accountable for its Scope of Services performance, the Central Resource Center is accountable to report the attainment of system wide performance.

25 Final Thought Are we truly breaking the cycle of poverty, or are we merely turning out a bunch of marginally-more-literate poor people? Tom Mechem, MA GED Chief Examiner

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