November 3, 2008
Digest No. 8


Farewell to Mary Ann Corley

CDE extends our thanks and gratitude to Mary Ann Corley for seven years of exceptional work and dedication as the Director of CALPRO. Her contributions have shaped professional development for adult education in California. Some of her many achievements include designing research-based workshops, hosting national research symposia, coordinating the activities of the Professional Development Centers, designing online courses, expanding the Leadership Institute and developing the Learning Communities Initiative. Although Mary Ann leaves her post, her foundational work will continue in California. CDE wishes Mary Ann joy and success in her new ventures and thanks her for her many years of service, contribution and commitment to adult education in California. Mary Ann is truly an instructional leader!

Welcome to New CALPRO Director

Please join CDE in welcoming Mariann Fidele as the new Director of CALPRO. She comes to us from New York City where she led professional development initiatives on behalf of New York State Education Department. Mariann brings a wealth of experience in implementing professional development activities. Please read her bio here. Look for a message from Mariann in the next CDE Digest.

Distance Learning Bill Signed by Governor

Amidst a year of budget cuts and vetoed legislation, one bill that made it into law was AB1163 which allows adult education programs to claim and expend up to 15 percent of their adult block entitlement for implementation of Innovation and Alternative Delivery programs. Expending more than five percent will require additional record keeping that is still being defined. Read more.

ESL Learner Portal to Launch in Early November

USA Learns is a learner Web site for learning basic English skills. Content from Putting English to Work 1, English for All, and the CDLP Web site have been repurposed and enhanced with lots of video, audio and interactive activities. Watch OTAN for further details.

CASAS eTests / TOPSpro Team Welcomes Dawn Montgomery

CASAS is very pleased to announce that Dawn Montgomery has joined the CASAS eTests / TOPSpro team in the role of  Technical Specialist.  After creating a computer assessment center at Redlands Adult School in the fall of  2007, Ms. Montgomery quickly became a valuable resource to other California agencies as a CASAS eTests mentor. Her 14 years in the field of Adult Education coupled with her efforts in pioneering TOPSpro and CASAS eTests gives her valuable field experience to share with other CA sites implementing CASAS eTests and integrating this application with their TOPSpro systems. Current users and other agencies interested in transitioning from paper-based testing to CASAS eTests should contact Ms. Montgomery at or 1.800.255.1036 X126.

Workforce Learning Systems (WLS) Reading & Math: Field Test Participants Needed

CASAS invites agencies to field-test new workplace related reading and math test items based on actual worksite materials. Not only is this an opportunity for staff to be part of a national research effort, field testing also provides students excellent test-taking practice that helps them prepare to take the GED, other work-related assessments, or postsecondary entrance exams. CASAS needs sites that:

  • Can dedicate one hour of class time
  • Are able to test between November 3, 2008 and May 29, 2009
  • Will administer tests to students scoring at CASAS C or D Levels (advanced ABE/ASE or ESL/ELL classes, community college development classes, vocational training…) and have some work experience or are preparing for employment.

CASAS will thank agencies that return twenty-five or more usable field test answer sheets with a Staples or Barnes and Noble gift card ($2.00 per completed answer sheet returned to CASAS within a three-week time frame). For more information contact Andrea Shields  (1.800.255.1036 x143).

Government and History for Citizenship: Field Test Participants Needed

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently revised its naturalization test to create a more standardized and meaningful assessment of civics knowledge .  In response, CASAS is revising its Government and History (G&H) tests —Forms 963 and 964. These new assessments deliver questions via CD only and present possible answers in multiple-choice, booklet format .  Not only is this an opportunity for staff to be part of a national research effort, field testing also provides students excellent test-taking practice that helps them prepare to take the GED, other work-related assessments, postsecondary entrance exams, or the official citizenship test. CASAS needs sites that:

  • Have been teaching the new content for at minimum of one month or more
  • Can dedicate one hour of class time
  • Are able to test between November 3, 2008 through February 27, 2009

CASAS will thank agencies that return twenty-five or more usable G&H field test answer sheets with a Staples or Barnes and Noble gift card ($2.00 per completed answer sheet returned to CASAS within a three-week time frame).For more information contact Andrea Shields  (1.800.255.1036 x143).


Need for More Mid-Level Contractors

The San Jose Business Journal reports on a training program for construction workers that will result in a BA in construction management. The article highlights the need for more training programs for construction trades that prepare learners to move up to management positions such as project manager.

Making Sense of Climate Change

The latest issue of The Change Agent, a newspaper designed for adult learners, is about the science and economics of climate change. It has 60 pages filled with pictures, short articles, and cartoons, math lessons and science. The Change Agent is available by subscription on a sliding scale in both paper and online editions.

Professional Development

CALPRO Online Course Registration

Beginning Nov. 20, adult educators will be able to register for Jan. 2009 online professional development courses in teaching adults with learning disabilities, learner persistence, managing the ESL multilevel class, and using questioning strategies to improve instruction. Facilitated by subject-area experts, these courses provide a wealth of networking opportunities across the state as well as research-based best practices.  To register, visit the CALPRO Web site.

New Study Circle Facilitator Training from CALPRO

CALPRO has developed a new Study Circle Facilitator Training to meet the needs of agencies' professional development plans. With the new training, agencies can choose a topic aligned with the focus of their professional development plans. The Jan. 23, 2009 training can accommodate 20 participants and registration is on a first-received, first-registered basis. To register, download the invitation memo and send it to the CALPRO office by December 15, 2008.

Recertification Available for CASAS Citizenship Interview Test Examiners

The Citizenship Interview Test assesses the speaking skills of adult ESL and citizenship learners. Certification to administer the CIT must be renewed annually – examiners use a self-training manual and training CD to prepare for certification exercises. In September 2008, CASAS emailed notification to examiners who are eligible to renew their certification for the 2008–09 program year. If you believe you are certified and did not receive the renewal notification, please contact Celanire Flagg.

CASAS Presenting at California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) Conference

At the CCAE South Coast/Southern Sections Joint Conference in Palm Springs (November 20-22, 2008), CASAS is scheduled to lead three sessions. Jay Wright will discuss “Setting Local Performance Goals" with help from TOPSpro reports, Dawn Montgomery will demonstrate and advise on implementing “CASAS eTests," and Carolyn Totten will explain “Testing and Accountability: All You Need to Know in the Classroom."  Similar presentations at the “Adult Schools Matter" Conference hosted by the Association of California School Administrators in September 2008 were well-received and sparked enthusiastic interest in CASAS-related trainings and programs. If you’re attending the CCAE conference in November, plan to meet with these CASAS experts.

Online Workshops from OTAN for November

Choose from 13 online technology workshops this month, including Google It!, OTAN for Teachers, Creating Newsletters with Word, and more. Check out and register for your choice on the CA Adult Ed Training Calendar.

Effective Transitions Conference

The National College Transition Network at World Education, in partnership with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, is hosting the National Conference on Effective Transitions in Adult Education, November 17-18 in Providence, RI. The conference is for adult and postsecondary educators and administrators, and workshop topics include promising practices for career pathways and ESL programs, preparing students for college level reading, writing and math, and more. Registration is still open.

Online Courses from ProLiteracy

ProLiteracy is offering several online professional development courses this month, including Assessments Developed by Teachers and Students, and  Facilitating Adult Learning: Key Concepts for Teaching Adults.

Did you know…

Lesson Plan Builder Now Linked to Quick Search

…to quickly identify instructional material titles for particular lessons, the OTAN Lesson Plan Builder now provides curriculum developers and instructors with a direct link to CASAS QuickSearch Online. Used in combination, these tools provide the necessary elements to create focused and comprehensive lesson plans.

Self-directed Online Courses for New Teachers

…that the CALPRO Web site offers year-round registration in two self-directed online courses for new teachers? In Orientation for New ESL Teachers and Orientation for New ABE Teachers, instructors  may complete as little or as much of the course as they wish, working at their own pace. For more information, visit the CALPRO Web site.

Funding Opportunities

…you can find information about funding opportunities available to adult education service providers and educators on the OTAN Web site in the Educational Grants section. Search by keyword or grant title or topic.

Adult Education Dictionary Online

…if you are stumped by California adult education-speak, you can find definitions of those confusing special terms and acronyms in the Adult Education Dictionary on the OTAN Web site. Search alphabetically or by keyword or category.

"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ."

— Albert Einstein

These items are for information only. CASAS, OTAN and CALPRO items are supported by CDE.