June 1, 2009
Digest No. 14


ABE Initiative Kick-off Launched

On May 28, the California Department of Education Adult Education Office in partnership with OTAN, CALPRO and CASAS launched its FY 2009 Adult Basic Education (ABE) Initiative Kick-off.  Agencies met in Sacramento to review goals, share resources and ideas, and to begin planning ABE program improvements for next year. Twenty-seven agencies are committed to at least one of the following 5 ABE Initiative goals: improving student learning outcomes, transitions, classroom instruction, support and enrollment.  Each agency's ABE program will be provided targeted technical assistance, customized data and analysis, research-based study circles, starter tools and other professional development activities. Additionally, they will have access to state of the art ABE specific curricula and instructional resources.

2009–2010 California State Assessment Policy Guidelines...

...are now posted on the CASAS Web site. This document provides policy guidelines pertaining to standardized assessment practices in California’s adult literacy programs.


Career Pathways Newsletter

The National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) and the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) have collaborated to create a special edition of the NCPN Connections newsletter. The newsletter includes excerpts from several chapters of the book, "Adult Career Pathways: Providing a Second Chance in Public Education."

Larger Kindle Aims to Revolutionize Textbook Industry

Amazon is preparing a larger version of its Kindle electronic reader that is meant to better accommodate textbooks. The technology allows users to highlight, bookmark, annotate and look up words as they read. A pilot program at Case Western Reserve University will test how the experiences of students who receive Kindles preloaded with certain texts compare with those who use traditional textbooks. The Wall Street Journal (5/5) , The Boston Globe/The Associated Press (5/5)

Professional Development

Administrator's Forum Online

The first online session of the Administrators’ Forum, a collaborative offering of CALPRO, CASAS, and OTAN, addressed Strategic Collaborations for ARRA: Opportunities for Adult Education. The session was presented by Susan Handy of Bakersfield Adult School and Neil Kelly from CDE, and was well-attended. The second online session, Managing Relationships with Your District and Community, presented by Dr. Cherise Moore of Burbank Adult School and Cyndi Parulan-Colfer of Hacienda-La Puente on June 9 is already full. More sessions will be announced soon. An email discussion list is also available. Read more.

Might Less Time in the Classroom Turn Out to be a Good Thing?

When asked about education, most still envision a room with a teacher up front and students seated around and about. Does that snapshot reflect current realities or future trends? Hear Dr. Allison Rossett address these questions at the General Session of the 2009 CASAS National Summer Institute (June 22 -25). Dr. Rossett is a long time Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, a Training magazine HRD Hall of Fame member, a recent director on the American Society for Training and Development International Board, an International Society for Performance Improvement Member-for-Life.

Summer 2009 Online Courses

Registration is now open for three online professional development courses. The classes include Managing the ESL Multilevel Class, Organizing and Monitoring Instruction to Improve Learning Gains,  and Understanding the Adult Learner, Session 1. Enrollment is limited.  For registration and additional information, visit the CALPRO online campus Web page.

CASAS eTest® Basic Implementation Considerations

Anyone contemplating using CASAS eTests to measure literacy and numeracy learning gains, track outcomes quickly and cost effectively, and inform program and policy planning should attend the CASAS eTests Basic Implementation Considerations session at the 2009 CASAS National Summer Institute (June 22 -25) . Over 50 attendees have already registered!  There is no cost for this session but pre-registration is required. CASAS also offers this session as an online presentation. Contact Dawn Montgomery for more information about this and other sessions that address using TOPSpro and CASAS eTests in tandem.

Online Courses You Can Take Any Time

New teachers can get support through two self-directed online courses, Orientation for New ESL Teachers and Orientation for New ABE Teachers.  Registration is open year-round and both courses offer great flexibility in the presentation of material and in the amount of study you choose to do.  For registration and additional information, visit the CALPRO online campus Web page.

Did you know?

Respond to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by Linking Education to the Workplace

In responding to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), CASAS standardized assessments and tracking tools help programs:

  • Document workplace readiness
  • Measure literacy and numeracy gains
  • Report student and program performance data
  • Evaluate program effectiveness
  • Provide career pathways and stackable credentials

To learn more, attend the 2009 CASAS National Summer Institute (June 22 -25) or contact CASAS to explore; innovative partnerships between WIA Title I and Title II providers; contextualized programs that link education to the workplace; strategies for building skills that lead to workplace success; and, credentials that certify workforce readiness.

Photo Editing with Picnik

Need to crop, resize or rotate a photo but don’t have the software? Try Picnik. It’s free, and it’s easy. Create a free account, upload an image, and work on it. You can save it on Picnik, on your computer, or on a variety of sites that post photos, such as Flickr.

Question of the Month

Each month the digest will pose a question to adult educators. Send your answers to mpark@cde.ca.gov. The best answers will be published in the next digest, and winners will receive a prize!


What strategies do you use to inspire staff and strengthen morale during challenging times?

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
— Willa Cather, American author, from "The Song of the Lark"

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