Narrator: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Refugio Gonzalez: Good morning, everybody. My name is Ref Gonzalez. I'm from the El Monte Rosemead Adult School.
Janet Kershaw: Hi, I'm Janet Kershaw, El Monte Rosemead. And Louise?
Luis Serrano: And Louise Serrano, also from El Monte Rosemead Adult School.
Janet Kershaw: Want to thank all our participants for joining us, and especially all the support we're seeing from our own school. All of you who are attending today, we really value your support.
Neda Anasseri: Are we sharing, guys?
Refugio Gonzalez: Yeah.
Neda Anasseri: Perfect. OK.
Melinda Holt: And I'm going to interrupt just for a second, folks. Go ahead and mute your videos please.
Neda Anasseri: OK. Ref, we do see the OTAN logo on the screen. So looks like you're ready to go. Don't forget to unmute, please.
Refugio Gonzalez: Please go ahead and unmute.
Neda Anasseri: There you go.
Luis Serrano: OK. Good morning to all of you in attendance. We are EMRAS, El Monte-Rosemead Adult School. Part of the El Monte Union High School District, located about 15 miles east of Los Angeles. Next. Our team is from the adult secondary education, also known as the high school diploma program. The members of the team are Dr. Ref Gonzalez, lead teacher of the adult secondary education, Mrs. Janet Kershaw, lead teacher of the adult basic education, Mrs. Carrie Frogue, our fantastic program administrator, and myself, Luis Serrano, full time teacher, currently working in the independent study lab.
Our school is one of the largest in California. Every year, we serve about 11,000 students. We have three main programs. Our English as a second language ESL program is our largest. Our career and technical education, CTE program, is smaller but offers a variety of career pathways. And our program, the ASE/ABE and high school equivalency. Next.
Here is a picture of last year's graduating class. Every year, we have about 100 to 200 grads. This year, we expect about 145 due to the COVID-19 situation. Like all graduating classes, many of our students are moving into higher education.
We want our students to be prepared for the digital online platforms used today in higher education. So our program's goal is to assist students in building digital literacy skills. This goal has been integrated into our technology and distance learning plan. We made it into a SMART goal that included measurable outcomes.
Two years ago, we joined DLAC, and designed this project to meet our program's goal. The project consisted of the creation of a virtual classroom in the form of a blended learning model with centralized data to be used in the independent study lab to give students more exposure to technology. Janet?
Neda Anasseri: Janet, unmute, please.
Janet Kershaw: OK. Sorry about that everyone. All right. By the end of our first year in DLAC, we had completed one US history course on Moodle. We created our first course and we were ready to try to pilot it in our independent course in our independent lab. But besides our independent study lab, our school provides all of our high school courses in a teacher directed classroom.
But in fall of 2019, we had a problem. We needed to offer a social studies class that would meet six hours a week. But we only had one teacher left who was available for only 2 and 1/2 hours. So this problem actually became an opportunity for us. We were able to pilot our new Moodle course now as a true blended course. And also became a change in our focus. Our project now changed to having to create one new course every quarter to keep up with the demand. Here's a picture of our Moodle course with our teacher, Mr. Fedorenko, who embraced our project. And he really made it work.
So students attend class once a week. They're there for about 2 and 1/2 hours. As you can see, Mr. Fedorenko's in the classroom with them. And then the rest of the work, the students do remotely on the Moodle learning management system.
So DLAC provided as a lot of training. One of the things they provided was Ideal 101, which was really the basics of distance learning. It helped us to understand what was needed in distance learning. And they also worked with us to create our own site implementation plan, where we had to consider a lot of the different elements that we need in distance learning.
So a couple of those elements. One was recruitment. This was something we hadn't thought much about. And then after 101, we actively started recruiting our students. We started talking to them about distance learning and considering it and not being afraid and just trying it. A second consideration was orientation. We had not really done a lot with orientation, but we set up a whole system for orientation. That begins with the counselors, then the instructor, and then there's an orientation module embedded into each Moodle course so that the students can refer to it as often as they need to.
The second year of DLAC, we had Ideal 102. And this one focused on digital resources, something that we use constantly. But we really needed to start evaluating these resources and choosing the ones that would work best for us. And through the Ideal 102, we were able to create a rubric that we use in our program now. And we're going to continue to use it as we move forward with lots more blended classes and online resources.
Of course there were challenges along the way. The largest challenge we faced was time. Before we joined DLAC, we had a really full schedules. And we needed time to work together as a team, as well as time to learn how to use Moodle. None of us knew how to Moodle. We had to learn from scratch. So our DLAC provided us with a fantastic coach, Blair Roy, who knows Moodle very well. And she spent many training sessions with us, made us a part of her schedule and was always there to answer every question that we had along the way.
Dr. Porter. Dr. Porter is the L indeed lack, leadership. We learned about ourselves and about team building. And we brought Dr. Porter's team building back to our own department staff meetings. We had a lot of new staff members that had never worked together before. And so we saw the value of team building, and we were able to do many activities with them that helped to build a more united team. Now moving forward, we're going to have a big summer project, and we know that Dr. Porter's instruction will serve us well.
Refugio Gonzalez: So when our school closed due to the COVID pandemic, our department was able to respond and adapt effectively to the quarantine restrictions. Now our district shut down on the last day of our quarter on the last-- I'm sorry, on the first day of our last quarter. So our students-- it was tough for our students school-wide because they didn't have a chance to meet their teacher on that first day of class and get an orientation or a heads up of what to expect in the upcoming weeks.
But luckily, we've been offering online courses for the last eight years on a Moodle format, so every core course is offered in an online format. And for the last year, we've been offering blended courses that's new to us. That's our DLAC project. And during that first week, we reached out to all our students, who are taking the teacher directed classes, and gave them the option to transfer their class to an online format. And many of them did.
And those who chose to stay in the teacher directed classes, the teachers still conducted the classes using a variety of digital tools. The class that was least interrupted was our blended class. The only thing that Mr. Fedorenko had to do was change his classroom face to face time to a Zoom meeting like this. So all of this-- when all of this happened, we were 100% in graduation mode. And despite COVID, we we're still in graduation mode. And formal ceremony or not, our students will graduate this month.
Our ESL and CTE departments initially had mixed levels of success. But many teachers were able to use a variety of digital methods they're familiar with to provide enrichment for our students. Unfortunately, many classes that required the practical face of face instruction were canceled.
So when we were looking at the areas where we were best and least prepared, it became evident that we needed a school-wide distance learning plan. And since our blended course had one of the most seamless transitions, our administrative team decided to expand the blended model to all departments. And for the summer, like most adult schools, we will be closed to students. But our teachers will be working on creating blended courses in their respective departments.
Now these classes will be added to the Moodle server and modeled after our DLAC project. One of the things we are most proud of is that we DLACers were recruited to lead this project, to train and to coach our teachers, and like Janet said, aside from the digital skills we learned from DLAC, we're going to rely heavily on Dr. Porter's leadership training.
So with respect to our DLAC project, there are many ways to measure success. The first and most important one is, did we accomplish our primary goal, which was to increase student digital literacy? Did our students gain the technical skills to succeed in a digital world, especially during these times? And we definitely accomplished that.
So when we look at our measurable outcomes, the first bar in this bar graph is completion rate. Now initially, in our technology and distance learning plan, our goal was to increase the completion rate to 70% with the addition of technology. And by far, we exceeded this goal to 95%. Another thing that we did was we embedded a survey in our course. And we wanted to know if the students who took the course that their computer skills improve. And overwhelmingly, 90% of them said that their skills improved and most students would take another blended course.
Now one thing I want to mention is that when we piloted our first course, this was the first time for students taking a blended course. And these students had never taken an online class. In the subsequent semesters, the subsequent quarters, these same students were able to enroll in online courses and be successful. And in completing our course, we became proficient in using Moodle. And by the end of this quarter, we would have piloted four blended courses.
Also, we feel that we built unity among our staffs and our department. And we're looking forward to expanding that to school-wide during our summer project. We're also very lucky to have built an extended family in DLAC these past two years. We definitely feel we've built strong relationships with other schools in the state, even our next door rival Hacienda la Puente. Just kidding, guys. We love you, guys.
Finally, a big accomplishment is to extend what we started two years ago and bring the blended learning model to the entire school. And we're definitely looking forward for this project. So these accomplishments would not be possible without the people we'd like to thank. So thank you very much, Penny.
Janet Kershaw: Thank you, Neda.