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News, Views, and Clues 

August,  2005

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Congratulations Sandra, August 11, 2005
small line Online Family Literacy, August 3, 2005
small line The Senate Thinks You Are Doing a Good Job, August 2, 2005
small line Family Literacy Grants, August 2, 2005

Congratulations Sandra

August 11, 2005




WASHINGTON, DC  -- The Secretaries of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services have appointed Dr. Sandra L. Baxter as Director of the National Institute for Literacy, a federal organization that addresses literacy across the lifespan and across federal agency programs.


The Secretaries made the appointment at the recommendation of the Institute’s Advisory Board.  The Board, chaired by M. Carmel Borders of Austin, Texas, consists of ten members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


"The Board is very pleased that Dr. Baxter is the Institute's Director," said Mrs. Borders.  "We are looking forward to a very productive period when the Institute will make critical contributions to literacy achievement."


Dr. Baxter has been serving as the Institute's Interim Director since October 2001.  She was hired in January 1999 after the Institute received new responsibilities under the Reading Excellence Act to disseminate information on reading research.  Working closely with Dr. G. Reid Lyon, formerly Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), she created The Partnership for Reading, an interagency collaboration directed by the Institute, to ensure that the federal government speaks with voice on reading research.


"It is a privilege to be entrusted with the Institute’s leadership at this important time," said Dr. Baxter.  "I am looking forward to building a body of work that expresses the breadth of the Institute’s legislative mandate and still continues the important work in adult literacy education that the Institute has been known for."


Before she came to the Institute, Dr. Baxter was a senior evaluator at the U.S. General Accountability Office where her work focused on federal education policy and programs.  She began her career working in community-based programs for disadvantaged youth and adults where she advised students on college admissions and financial aid requirements.


Dr. Baxter earned a doctoral degree in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and holds a master's degree from Loyola College. She completed her undergraduate education at Howard University.


"I'm inspired by the Institute's Advisory Board, members of the National Coalition for Literacy, and the many other dedicated members of the literacy community," said Dr. Baxter.  "I know that by working together, we can help the Institute become a fully mature organization that addresses critical issues thoughtfully, promotes the use of evidence in improving literacy services, and strengthens results for children, youth, and adults."  


The Institute was established in 1992 by the National Literacy Act and now is authorized by the Workforce Investment Act to "...provide(s) national leadership regarding literacy, coordinate(s) literacy services and policy, and serve(s) as a national resource for adult education and literacy programs..." The Institute also is authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act to disseminate information on the findings of scientifically based reading research, and identify and disseminate information on effective early literacy and K-3 reading programs. 


Under Dr. Baxter's leadership, the Institute is planning new lines of work in adult English language acquisition; workforce literacy and basic skills; adult literacy; and youth literacy and employment.   The Institute is managing an interagency effort to gather, summarize, and disseminate information on adolescent literacy as well as supporting the National Early Literacy Panel, which is synthesizing the literature on young children's acquisition of literacy skills.


"We've set an ambitious agenda and we're moving aggressively to increase staff capacity to handle these new responsibilities.  The Institute is fortunate to have a core group of experienced staff that has been doing a commendable job.  We're now looking for other talented and experienced individuals who will help the Institute fulfill its mission," said Dr. Baxter.


Dr. Baxter also appointed Lynn Reddy, who has been the Institute's Communications Director since 1999, as the Institute's Deputy Director.  Ms. Reddy holds masters degrees in Education and Public Administration from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

Keep up the good work. 

Let me know when we can help.


Online Family Literacy Courses

August 3, 2005


If you have teachers or program mangers providing family literacy services, you may want to encourage them to look at Penn States online courses.  Below is the announcement of the fall courses. 


“Penn State World Campus's online courses in the Certificate in Family Literacy Program at    PRIVATE HREF="" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor can be used as electives in bachelor's or master's degree programs. Penn State is offering two Family Literacy Certificate online courses during fall semester 2005: Introduction to Family Literacy (ADTED 456), which explores the four-component model of family literacy (adult literacy, parenting education, early childhood education, and parent-child interactive literacy), and Adult Literacy (ADTED 457), which examines adult literacy issues, research, and evidence-based practices as they relate to adults in their roles as parents, workers, and citizens. Classes begin on September 7, 2005 and end on December 7, 2005. You can preview these courses by looking at the syllabus and sample lessons that can be found at the following:

Introduction to Family Literacy  (ADTED 456):    PRIVATE HREF="" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor

Adult Literacy (ADTED 457):


For more information, contact Dr. Sheila Sherow at    PRIVATE HREF="" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor 

Dr. Nickie Askov has retired from Penn State and Dr. Sheila Sherow is taking the lead. 

Keep up the good work.  Let me know when we can help.

The Senate Thinks You Are Doing A Good Job
August 2, 2005


Below is the language about Adult Education from the recent Senate Appropriations Committee bill.  BE SURE to savor PARAGRAPH THREE.  Send a special thank you to all of your practitioners for keeping their Senators informed about the successes of your program services.  That information is reflected in this appropriations language.


"Adult Education State Programs- For adult education State programs, the Committee recommends $569,672,000, the same amount as the comparable fiscal year 2005 funding level. The budget request includes $200,000,000 for authorized activities. These funds are used by States for programs to enable economically disadvantaged adults to acquire basic literacy skills, to enable those who so desire to complete a secondary education, and to make available to adults the means to become more employable, productive, and responsible citizens.


The Committee recommendation continues the English literacy and civics education State grants set aside within the Adult Education State grant appropriation. Within the total, $68,582,000 is available to help States or localities affected significantly by immigration and large limited-English populations to implement programs that help immigrants acquire English literacy skills, gain knowledge about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and develop skills that will enable them to navigate key institutions of American life.


The Committee is pleased with the progress States are making in reporting on and improving performance outcomes generated by this program and urges the Department to continue to work with States to assist them in these efforts. The Committee recognizes the diverse population eligible for services under this program, ranging from adults striving to complete their secondary education to workers requiring better English skills to benefit from employer-provided job training and to grandparents desiring the skills necessary to help grandchildren to learn to read. The Committee also notes that while some participants cite employment as their reason for enrolling in an adult education program, many program participants do not establish this as a goal. Furthermore, even if employment is a goal, increased earnings might not be associated with the career goals of the more than one-third of adult education participants currently employed. Therefore, the Committee has recommended level funding for this program, and urges the

Department to consider these facts when assessing program performance under the Adult Education program and the appropriateness of including this education program under the Administration's initiative to identify common measures for job training and employment programs."  


Family Literacy Grants

August 2, 2005


“The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is pleased to announce our 2006 national grant competition.  The Foundation's grant-making program seeks to develop or expand projects that are designed to support the development of literacy skills for adult primary care givers and their children.  A total of approximately $650,000 will be awarded; no grant request should exceed $65,000.


In order to be considered eligible for a grant, an organization must meet the following criteria:


·                    the organization must have current non-profit or public status and have been in existence for two or more years as of the date of the application;

·                    the organization must have maintained fiscal accountability;

·                    the organization must operate an instructional literacy program that has been in existence for at least 2 years and includes one or more of the following components: literacy for adults, parent education, pre-literacy or literacy instruction for children pre-k to grade 3, and intergenerational literacy activities.”


Applications are available at the foundation website:


Contact us: Dr. Lennox McLendon, Executive Director; 444 North Capitol Street, NW; Suite 422; Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email:

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