CCR Standards Implementation Institute Registration Opens

Registration is now open for the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards Implementation Institutes. The two-day institute will be offered three times:

April 1-2, New Orleans LA

April 30-May 1, Phoenix AZ

June 4-5, Washington DC

The goal of these training institutes is to provide adult education program staff with understanding of the fundamental advances in instruction and curriculum materials specified by the CCR standards, and to offer new ways to incorporate these techniques and materials into adult education programs.

States and programs are encouraged to send a team of three to five staff, so that instructional leaders in literacy and mathematics as well as program administrators and professional development staff will benefit from the sessions. There is no fee for registration, attendance, or materials. Interested teams will be responsible only for their travel, meal, and hotel costs.

OVAE Engages with Libraries

In a recent blogpost, OVAE and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) invite libraries to provide input into the national action plan for improving the foundational skills of America’s adults. We know that libraries are where adults often turn in their communities for unique literacy services such as one-on-one tutoring, English conversation groups, homework assistance, family literacy programs, classroom space, computer and Internet access, and more. We look forward to hearing from libraries and their patrons on this important skills issue. See the recent on IMLS’ blog, UpNext.

 

Parents: Tips To Help Your Child Complete the FAFSA

Cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Education blog.

Parent Blog Image

If you’re a parent of a college bound child, the financial aid process can seem a bit overwhelming.  Who’s considered the parent? Who do you include in household size?  How do assets and tax filing fit into the process? Does this have to be done every year?  Here are some common questions that parents have when helping their children prepare for and pay for college or career school:

Why does my child need to provide my information on the FAFSA?

While we provide over $150 billion in financial aid each year, the federal student aid programs are based on the assumption that it is primarily your and your child’s responsibility to pay for college.  If your child was born after January 1, 1991 then most likely he or she is considered a dependent student and you’ll need to include your information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM).

Who’s considered a parent when completing the FAFSA?

If you need to report parent information, here are some guidelines to help you:

  • If your legal parents (your biological and/or adoptive parents) are married to each other, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
  • If your legal parents are not married to each other and live together, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
  • If your parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.
  • If your parents are divorced or separated, follow these guidelines.

More information on who’s considered the parent can be found here:http://1.usa.gov/1fdcCy2

Who’s considered part of the household?

When completing your child’s FAFSA, you should include parents, any dependent student(s) and any other child who lives at home and receives more than half of their support from you in the household size.  Also include any people who are not your children but who live with you and for whom you provide more than half of their support.

Do I need to wait until I file my income taxes?

In some states there are deadlines for additional monies so you’ll want to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st.  You do not need to wait until you file your federal tax return.  If you haven’t done your taxes by the time you complete the FAFSA, you can estimate amounts based on the previous year if nothing has drastically changed.  After you file your taxes, you’ll need to log back in to the FAFSA and correct any estimated information.  If you’ve already filed your taxes, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically pull in your tax information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA.

Do I need to do this every year?

Yes, you and your child need to complete the FAFSA each year in order for your child to be considered for federal student aid.  The good news is that each subsequent year you can use the Renewal Application option so you only have to update information that has changed from the previous year!

What else do I need to know before I begin?

You’ll need to get a PIN and have all the necessary documents before you begin.  Here’s a handy checklist: http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out

Susan Thares is Digital Engagement Lead at the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

Addressing the Opportunity Gap: Reengaging Out-Of-School Youth

Last month, as a part of OVAE’s work with the Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth, I had the opportunity to attend a national Reengagement Plus convening in Los Angeles, California. I return from that event renewed and inspired by the work going on across the country to reengage youth back into education and employment. In recent years, efforts to prevent students from dropping out have significantly improved graduation rates both nationally and locally. Unfortunately, there are still approximately 1.8 million young adults ages 16-21 that are not enrolled in school or have not finished their high school education. Research shows that many out-of-school youth want to return to school, but are uncertain how to do so and are fearful they will not succeed once they get there. Helping these young people find alternative pathways to graduation and meaningful employment opportunities is a critical challenge facing municipal leaders today.

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CCR Standards Implementation Institute Dates Announced

OVAE is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for adult education staff at both the state and local levels to receive hands-on training at the upcoming College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education: Implementation Institute. The Implementation Institute will be repeated in three regional locations:

  • April 1-2 in New Orleans, LA
  • April 30-May 1 in Phoenix, AZ
  • June 4-5 in Washington, DC

The institute will bring together expert coaches in literacy and mathematics to provide training and individualized support to teams of educators on how implementation of CCR standards would impact instruction and curriculum. Throughout the 2-day institute, attendees will develop a practical and transferable understanding of:

  • The CCR Standards for Adult Education (2013)
  • The fundamental shifts in instruction and curriculum that the standards indicate
  • Alignment between current state standards and the demands of CCR standards
  • Different approaches for how to implement CCR standards successfully
  • Concrete steps to begin to transform instructional and curriculum approaches and materials

Susan Pimentel and StandardsWork, Inc. are conducting this institute, on behalf of OVAE, as a way to assist programs—no matter where they are on the continuum of standards implementation—with creating a sustainable model for advancing CCR standards-based reform. To provide a rich training experience, states and programs are encouraged to send a team of two or more staff members. The team should include instructional leaders or administrators who are responsible for literacy and mathematics, program management or professional development. States/programs will be responsible for supporting the travel and hotel costs for each team member.

Watch for more information about the CCR Standards for Adult Education: Implementation Institute, including how to register, in early 2014.

Tomorrow: Attend an OVAE Engagement Event via Live Stream

OVAE and The Joyce Foundation are co-hosting a regional engagement session in Chicago, IL tomorrow, Wednesday, December 18, as part of the series of events announced November 20 in response to the PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills results.

The morning presentations and panel discussion (10:00am – 12:00pm CT) will be live streamed. RSVP if you would like to join via the live stream. Moderated by Whitney Smith, Employment Program Director at the Joyce Foundation, panelists will discuss “New Models for Reaching Students in the Workplace and Through Technology” and include:

  • Erick Ajax, Co-owner, EJ Ajax Metal Forming Solutions
  • Marilyn Chapman, Director of Organizational Development, Mercy Hospital
  • Sameer Gadkaree, Former Director of Adult Education, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Jenifer Vanek, University of Minnesota

Host a Roundtable about How Skills Matter in Your Community

On November 20, OVAE launched an engagement process that will result in a National Action Plan for improving the skills of low-skilled adults, a part of the Department’s response to the U.S. performance on the PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills. See the archived footage of that event here.

We want to hear from your community! To assist you in your efforts to coordinate a regional or local roundtable on the topic of adult skills, OVAE has created a set of resources and an online submission form. See www.TimetoReskill.org for the following tools:

  • Consultation Paper, a 10-page paper that can be shared in advance of an event to provide background on the skills issue and the framework for the National Action Plan
  • Toolkit, a step-by-step guide to running a local roundtable from types of people to invite to the questions to pose
  • Online feedback form, after you’ve run a roundtable, we want to know how it went and what you learned! Please submit your comments by March 14 to be considered in the Plan.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates from OVAE’s regional sessions as well.

 

 

 

Addressing College Costs for Adult Ed Transition Students

Panel shot of Mina Reddy, Vania Estanek, Brenda Dann-Messier at NCTN Conference 2013

Panel at NCTN Conference 2013 with Mina Reddy, Vania Estanek, Brenda Dann-Messier
Courtesy of Priyanka Sharma

What financial aid is available to adult education students transitioning to college and training? Several recent Ed.gov blogs on student loans and federal initiatives, including OVAE’s Adult College Completion Toolkit, are providing guidance.

This was also the question posed to a panel at the recent National College Transition Network conference in Providence, RI.
Adult education students often face steep challenges when transitioning to college: cost of tuition, books, and materials; child care and transportation; loss of income; lack of “college knowledge” of the system and expectations; and weak skills that require developmental education courses. The panelists discussed innovative ideas advocacy groups and adult education programs can do to prepare and support their students’ success in the postsecondary setting.

Mina Reddy, of the Cambridge Community Learning Center, spoke first. Reddy shared how and why her program had established a local scholarship fund to support transitioning students. Last year, they had 15 $1,000 scholarships to award. Reddy spoke of the power of even small scholarships to “validate” students’ efforts and achievements.

Vania Estanek is a graduate of the Cambridge program’s ESOL courses, and a scholarship recipient, and now a postsecondary student in a biotech certificate program. She participated in the panel to share her perspective of the value of the scholarship to propel her to higher levels of achievement and provide flexible funds in advance of any school-based aid.

Loh-Sze Leung, of SkillWorks, spoke of the public-private advocacy ventures she has been engaged with in Massachusetts to address adult education and skill development issues, with some legislative successes that funded aid and projects. Some of her tips from advocacy work were to “mobilize students to tell their own stories to legislators”, and “to track success and use data”, preferably local data.

Nate Anderson, of Jobs for the Future, spoke about Accelerating Opportunities, an effort that is underway in seven states to accelerate students without a high school credential through to post-secondary success.  He highlighted several creative solutions states were employing to fill the gap between adult education and credit bearing college courses, such as “braiding” federal funding streams to support the program, waiving tuition for the first semester of college for adult education students, or working strategically with untraditional partners such as the foster care fund. These ideas and others are in JFF’s Innovative Ideas Database, part of their Braided Funding Toolkit.

Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary of OVAE, was a respondent to the panel. She acknowledged the challenges faced by students, programs, and advocacy groups and celebrated the creative and innovative ideas the panelists had outlined. She shared several Administration initiatives that are underway to address some of specific challenges including the proposed College Rating System to make college costs more transparent, proposed loan defaults initiative, and proposed experimental sites for financial aid flexibility.

Watch the Ed.gov blog to stay up to date on these initiatives.

Youth CareerConnect Grant Opportunity Announced for Local Partnerships

Last week, the White House announced a new grant opportunity to build America’s next generation workforce. The grants require a local education agency and institution of higher education to partner with their local workforce investment system and an employer to improve and expand programs that enable high school students to gain an industry-relevant education while earning college credit. In addition, students will be able to participate in work based learning as well as receive individualized career and academic counseling.

The U.S. Department of Labor will make up to $100 million available from H-1B revenues for approximately 25 to 40 grants. The deadline for applications is January 27, 2014! You can find information about the Youth CareerConnect grant program and how to apply at http://www.doleta.gov/ycc.

Immigrant Integration Project: Call for Applications

UPDATE: Preliminary applications are due December 20! Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the process and eligibility criteria.

The preliminary application process for the Networks for Integrating New Americans project has begun! This is a national initiative to advance immigrant integration through technical assistance. Learn more in the project’s fact sheet.

The project will select up to five forward-thinking community networks (also coalitions or initiatives) to receive technical assistance to address the linguistic, civic, and economic needs of immigrant adults. Organizational networks are key to this project because when organizations in both immigrant and receiving communities collaborate on immigrant integration, both communities contribute unique strengths and better address common needs.

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