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News, Views, and Clues 

October, 2005

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PD Prep for Denver, October 17, 2005
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Help Schools Involve Parents, October 11, 2005
small line The Morning News, October 4, 2005


PD Prep for Denver

October 17, 2005

 (To print additional training NTI training documents, click here!) 

Professional Development for teachers, tutors, and program managers is one of the most important services you provide.  As we work with states on their professional development systems, we find many exciting strategies and resources.  We have compiled a wealth of them for you to consider. 

The resources we will share at the National Training Institute in Denver are in three parts:

  1. Research:  Cris Smith from NCSALL will review implications from her study on How Teachers Change—yes we now can be research-based.
  2. Policy:  A variety of states will share the policy they developed to support the professional development.
  3. Practice:  A variety of states will share how they implement the policies regarding:
    1. Practitioner Standards to clarify what is expected of teachers and program managers
    2.  Professional Development Components

                                                              i.      Orientation training for teachers and program managers

                                                             ii.      Core training—things that everyone needs to know

                                                           iii.      Responsive training—responding to individual professional development needs

                                                          iv.      Program Expansion—expanding to family literacy, workplace education, distance learning and the like

    1. Policy decisions

                                                              i.      Content—What content needs to be in each component?

                                                             ii.      Access—How do you want practitioners to access the training?

                                                           iii.      Incentives—What incentives can you put in place to encourage participation?

                                                          iv.      Fulfillment—What do you want participants to do as a result of training and how will you measure it? 

In preparation for these discussions, you might want to engage your staff and/or your advisory committee members in reviewing the attached documents from the AALPD—the organization of our professional developers.  Based on the research, they have proposed policy recommendations for you to consider in expanding and enhancing your professional development system. 

Your discussion questions might include the following.  For each recommendation,

1.  Does this recommendation jive with our thinking?

2.  To what extent does our PD system incorporate this recommendation?

3.  If it is not there, do we want to incorporate this recommendation into our PD system?

4.  What information do we want to get about how other states are incorporating this recommendation?

We look forward to seeing you in Denver. 

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

Help Schools Involve Parents
October 11, 2005

In family literacy programs, we encourage parents to get involved with the schools.  It may be that the public school does not know how to involve the parents, especially those of other cultures.  This report gives schools some strategies to support the parents getting involved.  It might be resource for your family literacy programs working with the local schools.  Below is the description.  Attached is the article.

Family involvement in schools is often limited to a small group of parents who seem to do everything. Culturally diverse families may not feel they fit in at the school or have a different perspective on what it means to be involved, so they are often left out of school activities. How can schools move beyond a limited level of family involvement and encourage all families to become more active in their children’s schools and education?  A new strategy brief from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) helps answer this question. It discusses strategies helpful to schools that want to broaden and deepen involvement beyond the traditional fundraising or party-planning activities. Chris
Ferguson, author of the brief, says that research has indicated that parents, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, or economic status are interested in their children’s education.  "They just may not know how to help their children with school matters," she says, "or they may feel like they don't have the knowledge or expertise to help their children with school work." According to Ferguson, schools can help parents become more comfortable playing a strong role in their children’s education.  Schools that are successful involving families are able to build on the cultural
values of families and foster communication with families. Successful schools have also created an inviting environment for families and often facilitate involvement by providing transportation, translators, and other similar services. They can also help parents learn strategies to support their children’s academic needs.  "All schools can increase their parent and family involvement," says Ferguson. "It just takes time and innovative strategies to develop a strong, two-way relationship."

The Morning News
Adult Education State Directors' National Training Institute
Denver, November 9-12, 2005
October 4, 2005

Are you ready for 5 minutes of fame?  You are doing some really exciting things in your state that you need to share with your colleagues.  Your venue is the Morning News, co-hosted by Randy Whitfield (NC) and friends.

Remember all the useful tidbits of information you learned over the last few years during the Morning News, not to mention the laughs? Now it's your turn to share some knowledge with the rest of us! Do you have a really interesting initiative going on in your state that you want to share? Have you developed a new process or policy that has had significant impact? Whatever it is, we would like to have you as a guest on the Morning News!

During breakfast on Thursday and Friday, our Co-hosts offer you five minutes of fame to brag about your current initiatives or events.   Here are the steps:

Notify Randy Whitfield;
1.  Indicate your preference for Thursday or Friday morning (if you have one).  Randy will confirm your exact time before the Institute.
2.  Provide an electronic copy of talking points that can be included in a PowerPoint.
3.  Provide more detailed printed copy for The State Directors Morning News, which is a newspaper format of the morning presentations. This maximum half-page information can give more details of the activities.
4.  Provide the name of the State Director or other who will make the presentation.

It is not Good Morning America, but it is not bad.

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

Two Reports
September 30, 2005

I realize we teach adults but from time to time it is informative to look at the public schools to see what is happening there.  Here are two reports from the Public Education Network that I thought might be of interest.

Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
After analyzing National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test data from 25 states, three prominent education researchers have determined that there is no consistent link between the pressure to score high on a state-mandated exam and that state's student performance on the NAEP.
Sharon L. Nichols, the study's lead author, concluded: "A rapidly growing body of research evidence on the harmful effects of high-stakes testing, along with no reliable evidence of improved performance by students on NAEP tests of achievement, suggests that we need a moratorium in public education on the use of high-stakes testing."

Over the last decade, black and Hispanic students in Wake County (NC) have made such dramatic strides in standardized reading and math tests that it has caught the attention of education experts around the country. The main reason for the students' dramatic improvement, say officials and parents in the county, which includes Raleigh and its sprawling suburbs, is that the district has made a concerted effort to integrate the schools economically.  Since 2000, school officials have used income as a prime factor in assigning students to schools, with the goal of limiting the proportion of low-income students in any school to no more than 40 percent. The effort is the most ambitious in the country to create economically diverse public schools, and it is the most successful, according to several independent experts. In Wake County, only 40 percent of black students in grades three through eight scored at grade level on state tests a decade ago. Last spring, 80 percent did. Hispanic students have made similar strides. Overall, 91 percent of students in those grades scored at grade level in the spring, up from 79 percent 10 years ago. Some experts said the academic results in Wake County were particularly significant because they bolstered research that showed low-income students did best when they attended middle-class schools. Some parents chafe at the length of their children's bus rides or at what they see as social engineering, writes Alan Finder. But the test results are hard to
dispute, proponents of economic integration say, as is the broad appeal of the school district, which has been growing by 5,000 students a year.

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



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Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email:

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