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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Administrators' Digest

June 2017 - Vol.8, No.6

Change in CDE leadership in the Adult Education Office

Dear Adult Education Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you of a change in leadership in the Adult Education Office at the California Department of Education (CDE). This change was necessitated by a reduction of funding for personnel in the Career and College Transition Division at the CDE. As a result of this reduction in funding, we are reorganizing our Division which includes the Adult Education Office.

As you know, Chris Nelson has been the administrator of the Adult Education Office and his service to California and Adult Education is exceptional. Unfortunately, CDE is unable to keep Chris who has been serving in a Visiting Educator role leading the Adult Education Office. Due to the reorganization of our Division it is necessary to terminate his contract.

Effective July 1, 2017, Dr. Carolyn Zachry will assume leadership of the Adult Education Office. Dr. Zachry will come to her new role with solid Adult Education, Regional Occupational Programs, School Attendance Review Board, Workability I, as well as other categorical program experiences at the county level. In addition, Dr. Zachry has been with the Department of Education since 2010 and has been leading the Career Technical Education Administration and Management office since early 2014.

I thank Mr. Nelson for his service to CDE over the past two years. I have full confidence that Dr. Zachry will be able to continue the good work begun by Mr. Nelson.


Donna Wyatt, Director
Career and College Transition Division 
California Department of Education

National Skills Coalition Releases New Fact Sheet: “The Business Case for Upskilling”

According to a new fact sheet recently released by the National Skills Coalition (NSC), “The Business Case for Upskilling,” “companies that invest in their workers’ skill building can see payoffs not only for the workers themselves, but for the business bottom line.” The publication highlights the NSC’s findings on service-sector workers who possess only limited literacy, numeracy, or digital problem-solving skills.

Among these findings, a majority (58 percent) of these service-sector workers have been with their employer for at least three years, with 39 percent recently pursuing additional education and training. According to the NSC, “companies can capitalize on their employees’ interest in upskilling by facilitating their participation in learning opportunities, including through reducing logistical and other barriers to participation.” Adult education stakeholders and providers are encouraged to visit the NSC website  to access the entire fact sheet and to explore the coalition’s other activities and resources.

Source: OCTAE Connection , Issue 528, May 25, 2017

CALPRO: Designing Programs for Adults with Learning Disabilities Courses

CALPRO is pleased to announce two professional learning opportunities for educators and administrators serving adults with learning disabilities (LDs): our brand new self-directed course and a newly revised facilitated online course.

Designing Programs for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Session I, Awareness for Adult Educators

Self-Directed Online Course Available NOW!

This is the first of two online courses from the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO) on designing literacy programs to be responsive to the needs of adults with learning disabilities. This first session is an awareness-raising session designed to help adult educators understand what learning disabilities are and recognize the characteristics and consequences of those disabilities in the learning environment, whether classroom-based, tutor-led, or technology-based distance learning. This self-directed and self-paced course is a prerequisite to Session II. 
Register Now

Designing Programs for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Session II: Effective Instructional Strategies

Facilitated Online Course

In the second of the two online courses, this session assists you with becoming familiar with and practicing strategies for helping adults with learning disabilities succeed in your classes! Learn to select appropriate accommodations to meet diverse learning needs. This course presents an overview of various instructional approaches and helps you design one instructional activity using an LD-appropriate approach.

Dates: Jul. 11 – Aug. 07, 2017

Facilitator: Marie Doerner, San Diego Continuing Education 
Register Now

Become a Champion for Adult Literacy XPRIZE

The Adult Literacy XPRIZE is in the phase of testing literacy apps for adult learning across the U.S. in three cities: Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. They need your help to make this very important mission a success.

Become a Champion today to make a difference in the lives of nearly 36 million adult learners facing low-literacy. The Champions will amplify our outreach by actively recruiting learners and volunteers, as well as provide facilities or equipment for testing.

AMPLIFY - Community outreach to raise awareness about the adult literacy app roll-out

QUANTUM - Actively recruit adult learners and volunteers for adult literacy app roll-out

ASSETS - Share your facilities, equipment and facilitate testing to help onboard adult learners


The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a competition challenging teams of developers (software, game and app), educators, engineers, and innovators to create mobile literacy learning applications for adult learners. The Finalist teams’ solutions must demonstrate that they can substantially improve the literacy proficiency of adults reading at or below a third-grade level within a 12-month period.

Following solution submissions in March 2017, a panel of independent judges will select 15 Semifinalists. Each Semifinalist team’s mobile software solution will then be tested with approximately 800 field participants for one year (Field Test). Field participants will be recruited across two demographics:

Native English language speakers 18-64 years old

Non-native English language speakers 18-64 years old

At the mid-point of the Field Test, five Finalists will be selected based on the performance of their solutions up to that point. Winners will be selected from this pool of five Finalists based on the gains in literacy skills among Field participants as measured by a pre- and post-test taken one year apart.

The Finalist solutions able to demonstrate gains in literacy skills among their Field participants will then be deployed in a Cities Competition in which Cities will compete to encourage the greatest percentage of their low-literate residents to download and use the solutions over a six-month period. The winning city will demonstrate the greatest percentage of application downloads and use among its low-literate residents.

Source: Adult Literacy XPRIZE

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.