Narrator: Otan-- Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Christina Hyatt: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us today as we report on our learning experience with OTAN in the DLAC-- Digital Leadership Academy 2018-2020. Today we are going to tell you how OTAN saved Corona-Norco Adult School.
Kevin Belcher: And for this presentation, it's time for a casting call. To begin, I'd like to introduce our amazing team. We have Thoibi Rublaius, who's been our principal and one of our greatest pillars of support over these past two years. We also have our Dean of Students and Tech Team Advisor, Omar Andrade.
We have our inspiring leader for our DLAC team, Marci England, who unfortunately could not be here today due to unexpected circumstances. But this presentation would not have been possible without her. My name is Kevin Belcher. I'm an ABE and ESL Instructor, as well as a Tech Team member, and I'm here with Christina Hyatt, who is also an ABE Instructor and Tech Team member. And we have our amazing and legendary DLAC Coach, Susan Goer. So now that the cast is set, let's get started.
Christina Hyatt: Today we're going to share the background of where we started. We're going to discuss our blended learning project and the tools that helped us achieve it, and the highlight of the future plans stemming from our DLAC project. However, we're going to reach our objectives in an unconventional way. When we reflected on our accomplishments over the last two years in the DLAC program, we recognized that this process was much like the hero's journey.
Please join us as we take you through this journey. We will discuss how we recognized our powers, used our skills to conquer our first tasks, how we recruited and taught our staff and students. We'll share about the ultimate battle that we were all well prepared for and how we will now regroup and prepare for the sequel.
Kevin Belcher: And now it's time for a flashback-- a little backstory. Allow me to introduce our principal, Thoibi Rublaitus. Thoibi will tell us why she decided to enlist your staff members in the DLAC push to blended learning.
Thoibi Rublaitus: And Marci and-- Hi. I'm the principal of Corona-Norco Adult School, and Marci and her team of the DLAC project have asked me to say something about why Corona-Norco Adult School chose to be part of the DLAC project. And I am a new principal, but I was a member of the TMAC in 2014. And from OTAN, I have learned that there is a huge potential in using technology to prepare our students for the 21st century.
Besides that, distance learning is something that is very near and dear to my heart because students who are the type of students who we serve have lives and jobs and things to take care of. So when they have the opportunity to learn on the go and whenever they can, it is a good opportunity for them. And I also know that Corona-Norco Adult School, under our leadership in the past have always been at the forefront of new challenges.
And when we have leaders like Marci, who chose to be the leader of the DLAC team, we took the opportunity and it has come to be really, really advantageous for our school because when COVID hit in the last five, six weeks, we have learned that because of our team, we were able to put a distance learning plan within a short period of two to three weeks. And our teachers have had all the support they needed from the technology team, which has been immensely helpful.
And we are now in the cutting edge of adult education programs by piloting the courses as well as the IEOCE, more testing. And this is possible because of the leadership of our Tech Team members. So to anybody out there in the adult education field, I would say take this opportunity to be part of DLAC because there is huge learning in this process. Thank you so much, OTAN.
Kevin Belcher: Thank you so much for your leadership, Thoibi. And so now, like every good superhero movie, after a call to action, the hero received some sort of supernatural aid. For Clark Kent it was his father's crystal. For Peter Parker, it was a radioactive spider bite. Well, for Corona-Norco Adult School, it was OTAN training.
First, throughout the two years, we had ongoing support and leadership training with a mentor by our side-- Susan Goer, supporting our growth. Second we had Destiny Simpson, leading the Ideal 101 and 102 courses for how to build a blended learning program. We also participated in TDLS that allowed us to recognize the best practices throughout the state and adult education field.
We also had accessibility training in which we learned how to create curriculum that is equitable. And finally, Dr. Porter helped us find our individual leadership strengths and learn how to use them effectively. All of these aides have helped us reach our potential as technology leaders at our site. Christina will now share about our blended learning plan.
Christina Hyatt: To be successful, superheroes need a plan. For us, that plan was to create blended learning for our bridge courses. Our bridge courses in language arts and math fill the gap between ESL achievement and high school-level requirements. We chose Canvas as our learning management system and NROC's fully developed math and language arts courses as our primary curriculum. We liked what we learned about NROC during webinars and conferences hosted by OTAN.
Along the way, pathway to victory, we realized we also would need some gadgets and tools. We implemented a second orientation where students learn to use the technology and navigate courses online. We also focused on teaching students how to log in and work from home. Built-in supports included face-to-face interactions to build community among students and more access to teachers using Canvas tools and apps like Remind.
We created a rubric to help us identify the most important features of our curriculum and we also instituted open lab hours for student orientation and to provide a dedicated time and place for technology for the students that needed it. We are working on building better advertising, single sign on capabilities, and bring-your-own device Wi-Fi access to our school.
100%! That is a really big number. Every student from the blended math V course that attempted the HISET math test in the fall of 2019 passed it on the first try and scored 12% higher on average than the students enrolled in the non-blended course.
Comparing the Fall 2018 and 2019 CASAS, we saw over 20% increase in student level completions. The blended program was working. We were seeing students better prepared for the high stakes tests and courses coming their way. These small victories built the confidence of our heroes and piqued the interest of others wanting to join our distance learning team. Now Kevin's going to talk to us about how we blended.
Kevin Belcher: So how did this get delivered to the students? Well, by combining forces, of course. In the blended learning AB program, we assembled all the strongest types of instruction we could. We combined the face-to-face instructional strengths of critical thinking, application, collaboration, and community as student motivation with the strengths of distance learning through Canvas, providing immediate feedback, extended learning time, and individualized and differentiated learning.
But what does this look like on the ground? What does this look like from the other side of the desk? Let's hear from a few super women of the blended learning ABE program. This is Lu, Ollisia, and Luzma sharing their experience transitioning from brick and mortar classrooms to blended learning, And eventually when the pandemic hit, full distance.
LU: I feel wonderful on the online class. Yeah, because I don't try to attend the class. Yeah, because my kids is at home. They stay at home and all the people stay at home, so I can have more time to take care of my kids. So this has helped me a lot.
And I learned a lot through them on online classes. And I think I have progressed. I believe. Do you think?
Ollisia: For me, I think it works better than in class because I was planning on switching classes to night classes, and I was a little bit worried that I won't be able to have my teachers or that I'm going to see someone different. And I feel so comfortable working with Mr. Belcher and Miss Hyatt so well.
So I feel like I learned more since I'm home. I understand it better. I don't know, because I also get one-on-one just to ask questions and it's just focusing on me. I feel like I've grown more since the past month that I'm online working. I'd love to continue online learning for the rest of this time if it's available.
Luzma: I feel like I have much more connection with that teacher, with you.
Luzma: I feel less mentally less relaxing and 100% in focus in that class. And that before it like, stressed me because it takes time from my home driving back and forth. It takes probably like, three hours or four to do things back home. And I'm stressed, having to do this, and now I'm staying focused 100% in the class. And I feel like a connection, like more relaxed and I understand more. My mind is more like, open. And to learn things, I had like challenges to learn that kind of computer, but it's for good, because I know I will improve.
Kevin Belcher: Thank you so much, ladies. So this was our blended learning program. It was growing and building, but it all couldn't be so calm forever. When all felt at peace and one battle of implementing blended learning was done, it felt like a war rose. With the pandemic, the school was tasked with transitioning from one blended learning program to four distance learning programs.
Although the task was monumental, Corona-Norco Adult School team remembered their training and got ready for the fight to transition all classes to distance. We began by working closely with the tech team, offering weekly webinars and trainings to help our teachers through the process of reconnecting with students, assembling curriculum, delivering it with power and patience, and reporting attendance effectively.
However, change like this requires constant support. Accordingly, our tech team worked closely with teachers under their wing, offering office hours, both daily and by appointment. In the end, as the fight to transition to distance learning pushes on, so do we, building our teachers, our students, and community along the way. And as we know, the fight will one day end. And what will that look like for Corona-Norco Adult School?
When we return to some sense of normalcy, Corona-Norco Adult School will continue to increase blended learning throughout all programs, continue building our teachers to be stronger distance educators, integrate Canvas as the learning management system of all programs, and for our WAST 2020 action plan goals to improve and expand alternative learning options for our students and provide rigorous and relevant learning opportunities for all.
This has been a fight of comic proportions for all of us. We have been tasked and tested, and we at Corona-Norco Adult School want to thank OTAN, our fellow DLACers, and our brave admin team for giving us the power, strength and support to push on and soar, even when things seem impossible, because it wouldn't be a story if it didn't seem impossible, right?
Thank you so much for sparing your time to share this presentation with us. And if you have any questions, please feel free to send them to the Q&A, as well as you can send emails to Marci, Christina or I. Thank you very much.