July 1, 2009
Digest No. 15

Announcements

Website for Strategic Plan

The Adult Education Office of the California Department of Education (CDE) has announced a new web site to provide updated information on the current strategic planning process led by WestEd. The site will be updated periodically. Agencies have also received a request for input into the planning process via an online survey.

Website for Adult Education CTE

The Adult Education Office of CDE has developed a CTE website where agencies can locate a wealth of information on Career and Technical Education. It links to current hot topics as well as links to information on WIA I, Industry Sectors, Alternative Funding and more. If you would like to join this CTE group, please contact either Mindi Yates at myates@cde.ca.gov or Neil Kelly at nkelly@cde.ca.gov.

Survey on Professional Development for CTE Courses in IT

The California Department of Education is beginning to build databases and listservs that will focus on the fifteen Industry Sectors within Career and Technical Education.  Each sector will create a listserv to deliver information. Their first focus is the Information Technology sector. If you have IT courses in your CTE program, please fil outl this survey, which should take about  5 minutes.

TOPSpro® Software Update Available Now

Before submitting end of year data to CASAS (due date August 15, 2009), agencies should update their TOPSpro software to the newest version - TOPSpro® 5.0 (SP5 Build 64).  SP5 was released in early May, and includes modifications to Federal Tables 4 and 6. Users can upgrade automatically via Live Update on their local installation, or by downloading from the TOPSpro Download Center (login required). Call or email CASAS Tech Support at 1-800-255-1036 X4 for assistance.

2009-10 Administration Manual for California

The manual will be available on the California Accountability page of the CASAS Website in July. This manual provides instructions and guidelines for data collection required to meet California and federal Workforce Investment Act Title II (WIA Title II) mandates for the 2009–10 program year. Questions should be emailed to CASAS.

News

Budget Cuts at Oroville Adult School in the News

The Oroville Mercury-Register ran an article detailing budget cuts and fee increases at Oroville Adult School necessitated by the current budget crisis. Principal Dwayne Robinson explains the dilemma of adult education in Oroville and statewide. OTAN has created a wiki page to keep track of news articles on budget cuts to adult education programs. You can add a link to your own articles by following the instructions on the page.

Digital Textbooks for California

Governor Schwarzenegger has announced the Free Digital Textbook Initiative, allowing publishers to submit digital textbooks to the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) for consideration for statewide adoption. The Governor has a blog post on this topic, and CLRN has posted links to several sources of free digital textbooks.

Educators Debate Twitter in the Classroom

Use of Twitter has become mainstream with its promotion by Larry King of CNN, and currently the use of Twitter by Iranians to send messages about political developments. US News reports that educators are also debating the use of Twitter in education. The article provides a list of suggestions from educators for using Twitter in the classroom.

Kids in India Learn English via Cell Phone

An entrepreneur in India has developed language games for the cell phone that teach English vocabulary to poor children in rural areas of India. People may not have running water, but many have cell phones. Watch this news clip on ABC News.

Professional Development

Online Professional Development Courses Begin in July

For those educators who act quickly, registration is still available for three online courses that begin in July. Two courses are geared specifically toward ESL instructors: Managing the ESL Multilevel Class and  Organizing and Monitoring Instruction to Improve Learning Gains. A third course, Understanding the Adult Learner, Session 1 , is appropriate  for ABE, GED, and ESL instructors and adult education administrators.  For registration, course descriptions, and additional information, visit the CALPRO online campus Web page.

CALPRO also offers two self-directed online courses for novice ABE and ESL teachers.  These separate and self-paced courses are available year-round and promote independent learning.  For registration and additional information, visit the CALPRO online campus Web page and read about the Self-Directed Online Courses.   

Summer Professional Development from CALPRO

Participants in CALPRO's Adult Education Leadership Institute will convene in Sacramento the week of July 20. CALPRO is also sponsoring a group of California adult educators to attend the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) training, Learning to Achieve: A Research-Based Training on Learning to Serve Adults with Learning Disabilities.  The NIFL training will take place in Sacramento the week of July 27.

CASAS National Summer Institute

The Presentations were well received by more than 500 participants at the San Diego event. State-level staff in youth and adult education and employment training programs, local agency directors and coordinators, and instructors convened June 22 – 25 to share and gain knowledge and skills in accountability, assessment, and program education. PowerPoint slides from most presentations can be downloaded from the CASAS Website Download Center.

New ESL Briefs

The CAELA Network has published 3 new briefs on ESL topics, including teaching grammar, supporting and supervising teachers, and observing teachers and providing feedback. Read more and view the documents on OTAN.

mLearn 2009

mLearn 2009 brings together mobile learning researchers, developers and educators to explore the new frontier of learning through cell phones and other mobile devices. This is the first time this international conference will be held in the US, at Orlando, FL on October 26-30.

CASAS eTest® Transition / Unused Test Booklets

Agencies currently transitioning from paper and pencil assessments to CASAS eTests may be wondering what to do with unused test booklets. CASAS recommends retaining these for 6 months to a year until the transition is complete. When confident that electronic testing is completely established,  CASAS requests that agencies shred redundant test booklets and notify CASAS (on letterhead) by email or fax (858-292-2910) that they have done so. Agencies unable to shred test booklets should contact Rebeca Mellado at 800-255-1036 X155 to discuss the option of mailing booklets back to CASAS for shredding. This request also applies to unused Life Skills Reading test booklets replaced by Life and Work Reading test booklets on July 1, 2009.

Did you know?

Vocabulary Builders

The latest OTAN article on Web-based classroom activities contains many suggestions for teaching vocabulary. Starting with tools contained in Microsoft Word, it goes on to suggest word of the day sites, picture dictionaries, flash cards, and much more.

Google 411

Running between meetings and need some lunch? Find the nearest pizza delivery. Traveling and spilled salad dressing on your one shirt? Find the nearest 1 hour cleaner. You can dial 1-800-GOOG-411, state your location and business you want to find, and Google will connect you.

"I've always tried to go a step past wherever people expected me to end up."
— Beverly Sills, Opera Singer

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