- OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Neda Anasseri: We'll start here, folks. Thank you again for joining us. We wanted to share with you a little bit more about our Digital Leadership Academy, a.k.a. DLAC. And we love our acronyms, right? And so, at OTAN today, I am Neda Anasseri, the Technology Projects Coordinator.
Penny Pearson: And I'm Penny Pearson, just giving you that little housekeeping bit. I'm a coordinator for the distance learning projects at OTAN. So I'm going to start us off by asking our team from Placer School for Adults to introduce themselves, and I'll start with Arij Mousa.
Neda Anasseri: You're on mute.
Arij Mousa: Sorry. Arij Mousa with Placer School for Adults. City Coordinator. Want me to introduce my team?
Neda Anasseri: You want to hand it to Beth?
Arij Mousa: Beth?
Beth Lanning: I'm Beth Lanning, and I am the counselor here at Placer-- one of the counselors here at Placer School for Adults. Michele?
Penny Pearson: Michele?
Michele Raymond: And I'm Michele Raymond and I am an admin assistant and a teacher for CTE here at Placer School for Adults.
Chris Anderson: Hi, everyone. My name is Chris Anderson. I'm here at Placer School for Adults. I'm an IT site admin, and I'm also a CTE instructor as well.
Neda Anasseri: Thank you. San Diego, go ahead.
Nate Sachdeva: Hello, everyone. My name is Nate Sachdeva. I'm the Program Manager for the San Diego Adult School with San Diego Unified.
Nicole Lincoln: Hi. My name is Nicole Lincoln and I'm a teacher in the San Diego Adult School in San Diego Unified.
Arij Mousa: And Francis.
Frances Tornabene De Sousa: Hi. I'm Frances Tornabene de Sousa, and I'm an ESL teacher at Pittsburg Adult, and taught distance before we all went distance.
Penny Pearson: Mansoora?
Mansoora Zaeem: Yes, and my name is Mansoora Zaeem and I am an ESL teacher as well as the tech support and helping develop the digital bootcamp.
Neda Anasseri: We have a special guest with us today, DLAC 2 participant Martha Clayton. Want to introduce yourself?
Martha Clayton: Sure. Hi, I'm Martha Clayton. I am at my home college's Los Angeles City College, which is part of the Los Angeles Community College District. At City College, I am a full-time faculty member in noncredit teaching ESL and Vessel. And for three years, I was the Digital Literacy Coordinator.
Neda Anasseri: Thank you, Martha.
Martha Clayton: Sure.
Neda Anasseri: All right, let's dive in. Who, what, why. Penny?
Penny Pearson: Oh, yes. I think I got this slide because I've been with OTAN for a long time. So DLAC, the Digital Leadership Academy is really meant to look at bringing teams together. And these teams are distributed as much as possible fairly geographically across the state of California. And our main objective here has always been to grow digital leaders, so part of that process means we're providing digital leadership training and leadership training in general.
We're looking at helping these teams recognize their strengths and what they offer-- not only to each other as a team, but to their organizations, to their communities, even to their families. We found a lot of folks find that particular piece of training very valuable in many aspects of their lives. Additionally, we're also helping them to look at team building, team strengths as well, to help them achieve their goals and what they're looking to complete during this two-year process for working within the Digital Leadership Academy.
Of course, we're looking at building technology skills-- that may be from how to use a new piece of equipment to understanding how to navigate a piece of online software. It can come in a variety of forms. But we're there to help foster some of those additional technology skills that may be needed. And the teams themselves are asked to look at planning and developing and then implementing some type of program-- it says distance learning on the slide and there's a reason for that historically that I'll go over in just a moment.
But these teams are asked to identify and find a way to incorporate technology distance blended in some way to help grow their programs. And this particular group was literally thrown into the fire because of the pandemic. And I'm sure we'll hear a little more about that as we move along. Our prior groups that we worked with-- it was very much a choice about using and implementing a distance learning program. This time around, they'd already been-- they had to do it.
So it's a very interesting dynamic. So all of this comes from the history. OTAN has always been providing some form of professional development on a long term basis, meaning at least a minimum of a year-- most of our programs were two years. It started way back with the Instructional Technology Assistance Project, ITAP for short-- wow, love our acronyms. And then it moved in to the Technology Integration Mentoring Academy, TIMAC for short.
That went on several years and then because of the press and push of distance and online learning and teaching, we added the Online Teaching Academy, OTAC for short. That ran in tandem with Technology Integration Mentor Academy for several years. And we basically discovered that agencies were getting so much out of both of those programs, we did a mash up between the Technology Integration Academy and the Online Teaching Academy and we landed here on the Digital Leadership Academy.
So I'll let you see how we've grown and who our current cohort is with Neda. You want to introduce our screenshot that we have on the next page?
Neda Anasseri: Yes, I do. And fun fact real quick. I was actually part of the Technology Integration Mentoring Academy.
Penny Pearson: Me, too.
Neda Anasseri: We have a couple of folks, probably, on the line that were probably a part of our other professional development opportunities.
- Me, too.
Neda Anasseri: So our current--
Penny Pearson: Give a thumbs up in the chat if you were-- or say, me, too in the chat because a lot of us have come from these programs.
Neda Anasseri: Have a long history of PD at OTAN, so I'm very excited to share that with you. DLAC 3. So we were able to actually increase our participants this time around. So this is a two-year professional development opportunity. And historically, we've had anywhere between six to seven agencies. This year, we have 12 agencies representing the North and the South of California. We are very excited to work with our teams.
We have a couple of them on the line with you-- a couple of others that have actually presented separate presentations throughout the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium. So look at those very beautiful faces. We love collaborating with each other. And yes, this year has been a little bit challenging because we don't get to see them face to face. So normally, we have a really great photo session. We take photos of everybody and their teams.
This year it had to be via Zoom, but we still managed to get everybody together, which is always good. So the application process is pretty rigorous and it's very competitive. We definitely look at the WIOA II agencies that are funded throughout California, and this is an open online application that folks actually self nominate, right? So this is a teacher that's interested in addressing a gap and forming a team. And we always get the question of, how many team members? Can I just do it by myself?
And so DLAC really looked at this as a, we want you to actually see progress within your agency and doing that solo can get a little challenging, so having a team of two or more really makes that more dynamic. And we were nothing without our encouragement and our support from our administrators. So that's why there's a component for the administrator to also not only sign off and say yes, I approve and I'll be a part of it-- either informally-- but there's also an opportunity of our administrators to actually be there along the way and be a formal team member as well, which many of our administrators have done.
And we'll have a couple of them in this cohort as well, and you'll hear from a couple today as well. So again, a two-year commitment, and our teams will share that with you-- share a little bit more about what that application process was like. So the idea is really along with, OK, your experience as a technology expert not-so-expert and whether or not you know distance learning or don't-- everybody does now. It really is to identify what's the idea, what's the gap, what's the need, so we're hoping they look at data.
You're not only looking at the need, you're looking at specific programs that might need to be developed. So it really does make the application the strongest when they work together-- the teams work together-- to develop a project outline. So this project is looked at with the team members along with the administrator to provide the support, and then, of course, then lead-- not only-- we always get, well, can I have five members or six members a part of the team?
Of course, we would love to take everybody. The idea is to develop the digital leaders and then those digital leaders go back to their agency and form their own-- I call it a DLAC lite-- at their specific agencies where they can grow and make it even more dynamic within their agency. The idea is, we do the training for our smaller group and then they'll take it back to their agency and make it into their bigger goal at their agency. I'll give you a couple of minutes here to look at each of our agencies that are on the line with us today.
We have Placer School for Adults, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Adult School, and Pittsburg Adult Education. And so you can read a little bit about their projects and what they've decided are important for them to address during their time in DLAC. So you see a lot of buzzwords in there, right? IELCE, IET is something that we hear. A lot of bootcamps, right? Career preparation, awareness, right? Accessibility, outline independent study programs addressing the needs of our ASE students.
So they are rigorous and robust across the board, and they are specific to each agency depending on the need they have identified. OK. I'll move on.
Penny Pearson: We certainly have seen several of our previous cohorts providing a variety of different types of projects and some of them have been very innovative, including from San Mateo. They created a mobile ESL enrichment program where they were traveling to their satellite sites with Chromebooks-- created materials and resources for their learners at those different sites
Baldwin Park, very involved with training and motivating their technology mentors for that agency and then including them and training them on Moodle Learning Management System in order to make sure that their courses were available for learners to access at any time. Also along with that, we saw Clovis Adult School mightly expand their offerings after they were a participant in DLAC. They've put all of their courses onto Moodle, but this particular project was all about putting their Career Tech Ed Nursing program on Moodle.
And it was so successful that the administrator turned around and was like, oh boy, we got to do this for everybody. It made our Moodle Administrator a little crazy for doing so many courses for Clovis, but they've been very successful for that. So you see others here maintaining an online course in Blackboard from San Diego Community College District. And then of course, Oakland. They've done a lot with distance, but their project was really about providing GED training and as a fast track distance learning program because they, at that time, had an impact of being able to accommodate all the learners that they could.
Now, this is just a small sampling. OTAN does maintain the reports-- video reports. They were recorded when they were providing them during their tenure within DLAC. And the website is there on the page. We can post that in the chat as well in a moment. So you can go and look at what other projects did and how they went through the process of their participation within DLAC. This is-- as Neda said, it's a rigorous program, but we do provide, as much as possible, notice of the meetings, et cetera, and we have a nice timeline to show how we've set that up for our participants.
Neda Anasseri: And here's the timeline. So we talked about two-year commitments and two-year professional development opportunities. And so it is in fact that we keep it definitely packed full of activities. And so you're looking at a screenshot of our timeline for our DLAC 2, and it just represents the idea of, we meet with our agencies in October-- we meet with them in person, typically. Those pop-ups in gray are typically meetings that we have in person in Sacramento at the Sacramento County Office of Education.
And then those orange little pop-ups actually represent online meetings. So for this cohort, they're all little orange pop-ups. We're all meeting online. Now, our training days are actually couple of days long. So we have about three days where we are online collaborating and meeting with some of our project specialists-- and I'll go deeper into that and what we're doing with leadership. And they're are also attending a DL one-on-one facilitated course.
So it is a course that is offered by World Education, and it's really just talking about recruitment and screening and orientation of students when we're talking about distance learning. They have coaches assigned to them, and we'll go over that in just a minute. And then of course, they are a big part of our Technology and Distance Learning Symposium. We make every effort to get out and see our sites that are actually involved with DLAC.
So Penny, myself, and some of our other project specialists will join us and we'll go to our sites to make sure that, is there any other support that is needed? So not only do they have OTAN support staff helping them, but they also have their individual coaches assisting them as well. So year one is pretty busy. They have the course that they have to complete with World Education, they have the online training days, they have the online project meeting days-- which is once a month. And then they have year two.
Year two they're busy actually making those projects happen, right? So not only in year one are they thinking, they're processing, they're refining their project, but year two they're completing another course with World Education, they're meeting with us online to develop and support them throughout that process, and they're meeting with their coaches ongoing. So not an easy ride, definitely. But they are definitely up for the obstacle and hopefully just learning along the way, right? That's just how it goes.
We have to spend a little time to gain and earn some of those pieces to move our projects forward at our agencies. So that's our timeline.
Penny Pearson: And it wouldn't be anything without the coaches. Neda has mentioned them a couple of times, but we haven't recognized them yet. So these are our coaches for this year, all of them you may or may not know. So some of them are in the room with us right now-- Blair Roy. We've been fortunate to know her for quite some time and she (WHISPERING) is actually a former OTAN employee and she retired, and then we were able to-- she's there. I see her.
And unfortunately, we have Susan Gear. She is the first one there-- which I don't know why I forgot to put the name on this slide. She's the coach from Moreno Valley and Oxnard and Roland, and she is like the mother of all things technology integration. Susan Gear is amazing. If you don't know her, seek her out and become her friend. She is a wealth of knowledge on all things related to technology integration and ESL. And then the second image here is of Susan Coulter.
We have known her also for many years. She is a coach for Garden Grove and Tustin Adult School. And she's down at Baldwin Park Adult School and has been a part of our projects for many years. And she is just one of those people that can take data and take technology pieces and she can fit them all together nicely, and is a great person to have on board as we start looking at developing these projects and also looking at how effective they are.
The middle images of Francisca Wentworth, and I believe Francisca's in the room. So if she is, she might want to open her camera and say hello. She is-- there she is. I see her. Thank you, Francisca. She's been also with OTAN-- I believe at least from TIMAC days. I don't remember. Francisca, were you on ITAP?
Francisca Wentworth: Yes.
Penny Pearson: Yes, she was. So she's been through all of these programs, and she's the coach for Campbell Union High School District in Pittsburg and Santa Clara Unified. She is currently retired as an administrator from Jefferson Adult School in the Bay Area. And we're really happy to have her because she's got the teacher side, she's got the administrator side, she's got all of those pieces that can help these projects get to where they want to go.
Blair turned her camera on a second ago-- Blair Roy. Already talked about her. Cindy Wislofsky. I don't think Cindy's in the room.
Neda Anasseri: She is.
Penny Pearson: Cindy, turn on your camera. Say hello.
Cindy's from our southern part of the state, San Diego. So she's a coach for San Diego Community College District and San Diego Unified School District. And again, she is, I believe, a veteran out of TIMAC at a minimum. She is one of the original Blairetes-- you may have seen that in the chat-- and been involved with these projects for quite some time and seen the growth of them. So all of these coaches are integral to making these projects work well because they provide direct one-on-one coaching and support to all of these teams, and we couldn't do it without them.
So I give a big round of applause to them. Thank you for being our coaches, and I'm sure we'll hear a little more about your efforts with your teams as we progress. So I think from there, I'll turn it back over to Neda in talking about our leadership training.
Neda Anasseri: Yes. So we make sure our teams are completely supported all throughout the way, so whether-- again-- it's OTAN coordinators, OTAN staff, our coaches, they're obviously getting the support they need at their agency with their administration. But then we bring another component into the mix, and his name is Dr. Paul Porter. And we are very fortunate to have him as a retired educational expert. So he has been a principal, he's been an administrator, a director, he's been a superintendent, and retired and then went back into teaching and is teaching leadership courses at the UC Davis extension and so on.
But Dr. Paul Porter also is a trainer for Gallup Strengths and the Clifton Strengths Assessment, and he has also been helping us with just identifying members' strengths and being able to use those strengths at your agency. So as a leader, we focus a little too much on strengths and weaknesses, and he really teaches us how to bring and enhance our strengths, while we know them and what they are, what they mean to our projects at our agencies, and even in our personal lives.
So we're very lucky to have Dr. Paul Porter join us throughout the two years as he helps us with those trainings. Not only does he do strengths, but he also helps us with time management, conflict management, mentoring and coaching-- back at our agencies, what skills do we need to have to be able to approach certain specific topics, et cetera. So again, we're very fortunate to have the support system that we do have to provide for all of our DLACers.
Penny Pearson: So one of the things that we do like to stress to folks is-- and it's been mentioned earlier-- this is a very competitive process. So we get a lot of applications to participate in this program. And although we were able to increase the number of participants this year, that's not a guarantee that we can continue to do so in the future. So you can see from this chart that we've got our total applications, but we could only accept 12.
So it's important that-- it's an indicator as well-- when you start this process, if you are thinking about wanting to be part of DLAC, start working with your core team early. Talk about what your unified goals may be for your organization. Make sure that your administrator is on board and understands the value that your agency and you as individual digital leaders will receive, because this is a competitive process and it's-- I'm sorry, but it's grueling for us to make these decisions. It's really hard.
And so we want to make sure that you do a good thorough job of creating those applications and getting them done in a timely manner, making sure that they're well-written, coherent, et cetera. And then that just gives you that ability to rise to the top of all of the applications that we receive. So those that get in, applause to you of completing the application process, and know that you were amongst the cream of the crop, so to speak. So we really appreciate having you here, and we really encourage anyone who's considering applying for DLAC, start that process now.
We hope to have the next round of applications open in spring of 2022. I think we're shooting for April, if I recall correctly, so you have time to plan, OK? So I will go back to Neda so we can start our panel discussion here.
Neda Anasseri: Well, as we sit here and showcased wonderful DLAC, really what we want to hear from is our agencies. So we have some questions for you. And we do have three agencies that are going to talk to us today, so we want to make sure that we're giving them enough time. We have a list of questions that-- we're going to post a copy of these questions into the chat so that you, the audience, can take a look at them as we're going along. But we're actually going to move on here and we're going to start with Plaster School for Adults.
They've introduced themselves, Arij Mousa, Beth Lanning, Blair Coach-- Blair Roy as their coach, Chris Anderson, and Michele Raymond. We're going to talk through and address some of those questions. So I'll hand the first question over to-- let's see if I can find it here. I'm going to hand it to Arij, who's going to tell us about you, your team, your program, enrollment, the community of learners, and the number of teachers you are leading.
Arij Mousa: Great. Thank you, Neda. I wanted to thank my team, also, for joining me today and for doing a lot of the work that's involved with that-- and most importantly, Blair, our coach. We couldn't have done it without her. Thank you, Blair, for coaching us through all of this. So I'll talk a little bit about the programs that we offer under CTE and then I'll ask each team member to elaborate a little bit about the area they're involved in. So we have the Career Technical Education program, Career Pathways for Placer School for Adults.
We have Building and Construction Trades, and under that we have Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program and Welding. And then under manufacturing, we also have Welding 1A. Under business and finance, we have Accounting and QuickBooks-- two levels of each-- as well as Microsoft Office Applications for the Workplace. And then under health, science, and medical technology, we have Clinical Medical Assistance program.
And then we also have workforce preparation, which includes digital literacy, career exploration, resume writing, mock interviews, resume critiquing, and interviewing strategies. And with that, I'd like to ask Chris to elaborate a little bit about his Microsoft Office Applications for the Workplace and all the great work that he did, and then move on to the other team members to talk about the programs also that they're involved in. Chris?
Chris Anderson: Thank you, Arij. Yeah, so the class that I'm teaching right now is the Microsoft Office Applications for the Workplace, and this part is part of one of our pathways that we have here at PSA. And what we do is, we're covering a couple of the main areas here, such as digital literacy. We all know how important that is for our classrooms and working in today's world. We cover the office applications such as, Word Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.
So we go through that. We are using Canvas for this course, and I've been real happy with the courses and everything we've learned in the last three days here on campus-- been really good in helping to fill in the blanks and been really, really positive. The students really like it, and they're just having a great time learning. So it's good and helping them to grow and be ready for the workplace. I'll go ahead and turn it over to Michele.
Arij Mousa: I wanted to mention just that Chris Anderson is teaching his class online. So we have some online classes and some in-person classes, and Chris' class is strictly online.
Chris Anderson: Right. Thank you, Arij.
Michele Raymond: So I'll be teaching Accounting and QuickBooks. And one of the ways that we're really looking at is to bring our ESL students into some of these career pathways focusing on our IELCE. And so we're really excited to be working with our ESL Department Chair Chrissy Agee into bringing our program to our ESL students to help them get those very valuable jobs.
Arij Mousa: Michele's classes will be also in person. Beth?
Beth Lanning: Yeah, I'm Beth Lanning and I'm one of the counselors here at Placer School for Adults. We have another counselor as well. Our primary role is to help students transition via getting their high school diploma, GED. We also assist with the ESL classes, primarily with working with the teachers. We help with career and transitioning. So we do have a counselor here that is also on staff with Sierra College.
And she is a transitional counselor to Sierra College, so students can have almost like a concierge service with Kaylee Hogan, our other counselor. And she assists them with registering and-- it can be very daunting for a lot of our adult students that are trying to get into college, so she assists with that. And we also help with resume writing, interview strategies. We can sign them up for classes. Our biggest program area right now is high school diploma.
We have several adults earning their high school diploma right now. And that's about it.
Arij Mousa: And then we have about 30 teachers under high school diploma, GED, ESL, and CTE teachers, so we serve Placer County.
Neda Anasseri: So Arij, can you talk to us a little bit about your project outline, what your goals and plans are for your project and DLAC, some of your challenges? And If you can weave in to what data did you look at to determine that project, that'd be great.
Arij Mousa: So we adopted the project for helping ESL students, Integrated English Literacy and Civic Education Program-- 243 funding-- working with ESL students to transition them into career pathways and CTE programs and digital literacy. So I'm working closely with the ESL Department Chair to do surveys for the ESL students. And actually, last week we completed a survey that gave us a little bit more information on the direction that we need to go to coordinate more career pathways for them to be able to find jobs and higher paying jobs.
So we, as a team, are working together to accomplish that mission, hopefully by the end of the second year. We're starting slow. This is our first time. So if we can get a few students this semester to enroll in career pathways-- which is our goal-- it will be a great success. And I think we're working towards that goal, and it looks like it's hopefully going to happen soon. Some of the challenges is really-- because of COVID-- low enrollment.
Some of these classes are online, so it's been hard to get people in the classroom. So most ESL classes are held online, and they're doing both digital literacy and ESL and introducing the students to the workforce readiness. So we have a few students that are actually taking reading and writing and math. And some of our CMA classes also are-- some students are taking math and reading and writing. So we're seeing integration between programs as well-- career pathways.
Penny Pearson: Arij, Penny here. You mentioned that you had a survey. So can you differentiate a little bit between, when you were applying for DLAC and looking at your gaps, what data did you look at there? And then, now you've got some other data that's helping you to redirect, so can you give us an idea what that looks like and what you were looking at in terms of data?
Arij Mousa: You want me to share the survey with you or present it? We were looking at career path-- The last data that we did, the last survey, was capturing information about digital literacy, as well as career pathways. Those were our focus. We wanted to know how many of them have laptops, desktops, cameras, digital equipment, access to internet at home. A few of the questions were focused on digital literacy, and then the rest of the questions were focused on career pathways-- what direction they want to go from here.
And collecting that survey helped us, as a team, know that there are certain pathways that they're interested in moving towards, and that's where our focus is going to be-- to try to help build those pathways to accommodate the ESL population. We already have some built-in pathways that they will roll into, but we found out that we need to develop new pathways that we don't have right now. I don't know if that answers your questions.
Penny Pearson: No, I am very interested in how-- you mentioned before, if you got some learners to enroll in your new program, that would be a mark of success for you. What else would be a mark of success of accomplishing your goals for DLAC project?
Arij Mousa: In terms of bringing ESL students into career pathways?
Penny Pearson: Yeah. I mean, I'm just thinking, you have a plan and it sounds like you're really making great progress already. So I think, maybe I'm being too much of a quantoid or something-- of saying, are you looking for specific numbers or enrollments or something like that. It sounds like you're already halfway there, so I'm just trying to--
Arij Mousa: [inaudible] a small number. My goal is bigger than that. If we have few right now-- like two or three or four-- my goal is like, double that or--
Penny Pearson: Got you.
Arij Mousa: But I was told, start slow. Start slow, bring a few in, and the survey actually helped me meet with the ESL students. Actually, myself and Michele and Chris, we've been sitting on the ESL classes and asking students, what area would you like to go into and what pathway you'd like to go into. And last week, I found that at least a couple of the female students wanted to go into the clinical medical, for example.
So I'm trying to connect the ESL teacher with the CMA teacher and make that transition for them to visit the CMA class and see what it's all about so they can decide if that's the right pathway for them. So we're building that bridge between ESL teachers and CTE teachers to work together and collaborate to make that happen. And I think we're moving towards that direction and it's working OK for us so fat.
Chris Anderson: I wanted to back that up, with what Arij was saying. Last semester, I was able to teach the ESL for digital literacy class here at our school, and I got to work with some of these students that were just absolutely amazing. And they are learning English, but they're also learning the technology, so we were able to blend that together. I think one of the steps of accomplishment would be, if I can see one of my students-- one stands out my mind is Francesca-- to see her in our pathway going forward.
Because I remember her talking and saying, where do I go from here? What's the next step? Or I talk to Carlos. And he's a very smart individual and he is knowing the technology, but he's like, where do I go from here? How do I progress? How do I grow? And so I think one of the aspects-- if I can see their face here progressing through our program, then I think that's a badge of success right there.
Penny Pearson: Absolutely.
Arij Mousa: And the biggest areas that we found was in office environment, home care aide, housekeeping, construction. So those were areas where they voiced their big requests for those areas of career pathways.
Penny Pearson: Awesome.
Neda Anasseri: Great. I loved, also, that piece that you shared with, I have this master plan and I do have a percentage in my head, but I have to start small. And that's what we encourage everybody, is to really focus on a small sample so that we don't have to have that, no, our goal is 90%. Well, let's look at this a little bit more in focus and, how do we look at a more realistic approach? So very, very good. Thank you so much, Plaster School for Adults.
Everybody, if you have questions, we do have a Q&A portion of this presentation, but thank you for answering those questions, Placer. And we're going to talk a little bit with San Diego Adult School. Nate and Nicole, same questions. Tell us a little bit more about your team, your program, your enrollment, the community of learners, and we'll go into the questions. So you don't have to wait for me to prompt you. We can go down the list of questions if you want to give us a-- let us know a little bit more about you.
Nate Sachdeva: All right. Welcome, everyone. So our team consists of myself as the administrator-- I'm Nate Sachdeva-- as well as one of our lead teachers, Nicole Lincoln, and our coach, Cindy. Through our Gallup Strengths Assessment, we really learned that we bring a diverse skill set to the team. We've all melded really well together, and I think that that has made this process a whole lot easier, especially as we all know that it is a little more difficult to interact and to work together in this environment. So cheers to our team working together.
Our program is an independent online study program. All students work at their own pace and only need to recover the courses that they were not successful at during their comprehensive time at our sites. And with our enrollment right now, we have about 400 students enrolled at any given time amongst our community. And really, the biggest thing that we have wanted to do is trying to make sure that we do have an opportunity for all students, and so that's what we strive to do.
Regardless of their situation or skill set, we do try to make sure that we can figure out a way to make sure that they are successful. And Nicole's going to take the next part of the questions.
Nicole Lincoln: Forgot to unmute. Sorry about that. So as Nate mentioned, our program pivoted really quickly. We had already started online learning. So in applying for the opportunity to be a part of this awesome opportunity, we wanted to focus on two segments of our population that we felt are most challenged with online learning, and that's our ESL students and our students with disabilities. The range of students in San Diego is diverse.
We have students that speak Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, Swahili. And so sometimes, these students come in to San Diego Unified with two years left in high school and they're not able to finish all of the requirements and so they'll come to our program. And we wanted to focus on looking for opportunities to help them become more successful. In addition, our special education students also can be challenged in completing the work in the four years at the regular high school, and so they make their way.
And so that's where our focus is going to be as we move through this is, how do we engage those students more in this online environment that we're in? So we have seven teachers who provide services. Each teacher is located at a different high school site, but students from all over San Diego are assigned to each one of us and we provide instruction to them via Zoom sessions if students are-- I feel like I keep saying, um. Sorry about that.
But we provide instruction to those students if they have difficulty in a subject matter. Our expertise goes from English, math, econ, government-- all of the subjects that students need in order to graduate. In addition, we have one teacher who is our expert in literacy, so students who may not be performing at the level we want them to be able to master the reading assignments on their own will get additional skills with our basic skills teacher. So that's our team.
Nate Sachdeva: And as we look through our project outline, as Nicole said, we definitely want to keep an eye on our students-- our ESL students-- as well as our student with disabilities. We do have about-- a quarter of our population are students with disabilities. And we also, in order to keep them engaged to make sure that we're preparing them for success, we try to take a long-term outlook. So as we get started into the next part of our project, we're planning to start the students off with the Strengths Assessment on their own, so something that they can learn a little bit about themselves.
It's a way for us, as a school, to get to know them as well. That is something that we have learned, is that building a culture and those relationships has been one of the biggest challenges. And so hopefully this way, we'll also have some information about the student. And then once we identify what those strengths, interests and values are, we can align those with possible careers that might be of interest to them. And that can also be something that can help them focus on their goals and achieve those goals.
And then we can also map out the different courses that might be of interest, and then the courses that are needed to get that career of their choice. So we're trying to take it not only a, yes, we understand that we're in here to get the high school diploma, but let's look beyond that so that we can make sure that you are successful beyond leaving our institution and successful as you move forward. Definitely a gap and things that we are addressing, like Nicole said, our students with disabilities and our English learners have really had a difficult time in the online-only environment.
But we have learned that our program right now is really seeing great benefits for our students who are working typical work hours or who are parents themselves. Because we have this flexible online schedule right now and everybody's moving at their own pace, students have an opportunity to do their coursework at night or on the weekends, and then we can also provide the supports for those students. So that's been our silver lining, but we still have not solved how we can meet the needs of our students with disabilities in the same manner.
So we do hope to reopen. When we reopen, we can have students in person again-- offer those in-person supports that are really needed for specific populations. And as we're looking at the data that we're looking at, we're always looking at the number, our grad rates, making sure those students are progressing in their literacy levels. We take lexile assessments.
And throughout their time in our school, we really want to make sure that they're getting a strong foundation so that they're not only going to be successful in our program, but also when they complete their college course requirement-- that is one of our graduation requirements with our partners at the community college and continuing education-- so that if a student does have an opportunity or an interest to pursue higher education, they go through that experience with our support and they know that they are capable of doing it, whether or not they choose to or not.
Penny Pearson: Wow. I love the work that you guys are doing. I'm especially thankful to hear your work with special education and those with disabilities. I think that tools like technology can be very useful to them. So thank you. That was amazing.
Neda Anasseri: Right, yeah. I noticed a theme too, right? Where are we going next? With Plaster, it was that pathway. How do we go from ESL to career pathways, and the same with San Diego Adult School. So that is incredible. Thank you so much for being there for our adult learners. All right. I know we want to hear from our Pittsburg friends. So Frances and Mansoora, same questions. Take it away. Frances, you're unmuted, and Mansoora, you're unmuted.
Mansoora Zaeem: Hello. I will let Frances take the lead on this. Is she here? Oh, there she is.
Frances Tornabene De Sousa: OK. Well, we usually have about 4,000 students a year at our school, but because of the pandemic, now we have 2,000 or so this year. And we have the usual assortment of from 18 to 80 people in our ESL department-- people from all different places, a large Hispanic component. But many people who are here in the US while their spouse is working in the US for a while or college students who come to study, and long term residents who finally have-- it's their turn in their family to go to school.
So we have a large ESL department, but we also have a high school and AVE department and CTE Department, which is primarily allied health care and we have an excellent CMA program. At this time, we have about 36 full and part-time teachers, and that's our group that comes through. Initially, when the pandemic hit, we were already considering moving to Canvas. So this became our initial idea of, what we needed to do for our campus was to bring everyone online as fast as we could.
And we changed our focus just a little bit because in the ESL department, not only do we have a new curriculum, but a new way of delivering. So we put more of our focus onto our high school diploma and into our students and in building a strong, robust infrastructure for being online for our teachers. So our focus has been on getting our teachers into using Canvas and online, our students into a bootcamp where they know how to use technology and to try to build some equity partners to provide them with the tools.
And we have found that, for example, our high school department enrollment is just going through the roof since we've been able to be more online. And our students are appearing in their classes prepared to participate from day one, which is what-- it's very important to take some of that load off of our teachers-- not just to have to teach technology at the same time that you're teaching content. So we feel those have been successful decisions on our part, but we have a long way to go to get our whole school up on Canvas.
And we also found that just the energy of being there for our students, and Mansoora-- who runs our technical bootcamp for teachers and for students-- can tell you that just the energy of providing a lot of one-on-one assistance is what makes the difference that the person just goes with everything they've got. And this is one of the exciting things about being thrown into the pandemic, that we've seen this result in our school. Mansoora, please speak to these.
Mansoora Zaeem: OK. Thank you, Frances. So when we initially started, we were definitely-- yes, we were going to use Canvas, and a lot of people had this conversation of, why Canvas? And I actually went with my own struggles of going back to college years ago and not knowing how to use a laptop-- because I'd been working in the world, but I hadn't really gotten into-- it was kind of an added thing like everybody else. So my own struggles of not knowing how to use Canvas, I took that and ran with it.
And so I could see that a lot of people didn't know what Canvas was. But then going back to, why Canvas? Well, Canvas is everywhere. Canvas is at the community colleges, at the universities, at tech schools. So I wanted-- I and Francis, all of us-- wanted to be able to say that at least one outcome would be that they would be prepared to move forward. And in starting Canvas, it was a conversation for us to say, OK, you're going to be using this at your University. You're going to be using this so we have that forward momentum.
But in doing that, we found out that teachers-- and I'm an ESL teacher and I teach Microsoft, so I know that teachers want to be able to just teach and not have to deal with, oh, this person doesn't know how to do Zoom or can't get into their Canvas account or can't get into Burlington-- or whatever thing that they're using-- or can't get their books or can't download something. So that's how the digital bootcamp came to be. So the first question that we start with is, what type of devices do people have?
And that range is really-- the gap is so huge. We have people who are on flip phones, some who have smartphones, some who have-- maybe they have a laptop, maybe they're using a tablet. So me being able to know that, I can serve them better because I can know, when I give instructions, how they're going to be able to process that information. So that was one of the first things. And we did find out, from an equity point of view, that not a lot of our ESL students have laptops.
They're either using their children's Chromebooks or they are using their phones. And thankfully, Canvas is integrated for that. The first thing in digital bootcamp is getting that information and then teaching each of these students how to use Zoom. So all of those numbers that Penny-- all of those icons that you shared at the beginning of muting, stopping the video, checking your participants, sending a message, going into a breakout room, doing your reactions-- I actually have to literally teach that, which they need.
Because some people, I can tell the range, they're like, no problem, easy to do. And some people are like, OK, where is that button? Can you tell me again? So that's important. And then, of course, having a digital bootcamp where the teachers can also come in. So the teachers come and say, OK, I have this Canvas, how do I do this? They've tried on their own and they've gotten to a point that they need that help. So then I'm helping them with that.
So that's really the outcome of digital bootcamp, is to get those students, on day one, into their classrooms-- be it distance, be it hybrid, be it in the classroom-- that they're ready to learn, they have the skills-- not just a paper and a pencil and a pen, but they know how to turn on their Zoom, they know how to mute themselves, they know how to share, they know how to make a comment. And that really makes the teachers' lives so much easier, and that has been one of my goals.
Penny Pearson: Awesome. Awesome.
Mansoora Zaeem: Thank you.
Penny Pearson: Just a real quick question. Mansoora, your digital bootcamp. Compared to what you did before to looking at the digital bootcamp now, how many learners have you served or do you anticipate serving in that digital bootcamp by the end of this year, June?
Mansoora Zaeem: Well, I can just tell you that my class itself has jumped from maybe-- I had seven, eight students to now 22.
Penny Pearson: Awesome.
Mansoora Zaeem: And that's just my class. So I know Frances' class has jumped. And what people were saying from the previous-- Placer-- they were saying that the parents are able to attend these classes because they don't have to worry about daycare-- and this is part of retention. We were dealing with this when we were in person. Retention was, OK, do we have daycare? No, we don't. OK, so then we have parent classes so we can offer that daycare, and then we have to work with the consortium and make sure we have funds.
So it was all of these things, but now, just having this conversation with these students like, look, you can attend my class. And then I always remind them, legally, you have an hour. You need to still continue working, or you can go spend time with your family and then come back online on Canvas and do your homework. And the good thing with Canvas and Zoom is that it logs all these hours. I know how long the student was online I mean, there's so many different aspects of Canvas, as we probably saw from all the beautiful presentations that we did here.
It has statistics. It has things that we can back up. Now, if I change to an administrator, we can back that information up. If anybody ever asks, we can say, OK, here's a report for this student. It's not just the quantity of hours, but the quality of hours.
Penny Pearson: Thank you, Mansoora.
Frances Tornabene De Sousa: A very important part of that is that we've been able to make it part of the registration process so that when students register, they are also automatically registered into a digital bootcamp. So everybody will go through the process. And this is something that makes our administrators-- something they wanted, it's something we wanted, it's something that serves everyone. That's the great part of our experience with DLAC, is we're able to serve our entire school.
Mansoora Zaeem: Yeah. And I've noticed the students are just-- when they come to my bootcamp, they're so nervous, and they keep apologizing. I'm so sorry, teacher. I don't know-- I'm like, it's OK. And they're like, oh, you're so patient. I'm like, it's my job. It's OK. You can ask me 100 times. When they come, they're so nervous. And they're not professionals by the time they leave, but at least they're less nervous. And that's a goal, because why should that be something that hinders you from learning, is just because of this one aspect?
Penny Pearson: Right. Thank you.
Neda Anasseri: Absolutely. Well, thank you, Pittsburg. I just want to note that this session block-- session 7-- is actually a 90-minute block. And we thought we were going to do it in 60, and we're going to meet that-- we're going to try to meet that 90-minute block.
Penny Pearson: Too much good info.
Neda Anasseri: We have some more folks that you need to hear from, and then we want to give you an opportunity for a Q&A as well. So thank you, agencies. These are current DLAC agencies that are participating-- we call them DLAC 3. We haven't found a creative a.k.a yet, so we'll have to work on that our next meeting, folks. All right. But we do want to hear from our previous cohort. So Martha Clayton was a part of our second cohort. And I'll hand it over to her to give us some information of what DLAC 2 has done for you, what some of your projects, successes, challenges, and where you are today with your project. Martha?
Martha Clayton: Sure, thank you. So yes, my name is Martha Clayton. I am a faculty person at LA City College, which is part of the Los Angeles Community College District. We have nine colleges in our district. My home college, City College, is the wheel of coordinating college for the entire district. So we were the heads of our participation in DLAC. I had gotten an email from OTAN and casually mentioned to my dean like, oh, this is something we should do. And she was like, OK, you're going to do this.
And so it was an amazing experience. Our community, we have-- just at my college-- we have-- during more typical times, when we're not remote-- we have 70 adjuncts. I was just hired, and one other person was just made full time. So now we're running on our seniority list only, which is still like 50 faculty members. We have ESL, citizenship, IET, CTE, ABE, all the acronyms you can think of. And we usually service about 4,000 to 5,000 students.
Right now, we've lost about a third of that, and we're struggling between a third and a half. But enrollment has actually been increasing a lot. We've also been getting a lot of enrollment from other countries and other states, which is really interesting. We're trying to balance with the WIOA issues-- making sure that they're not getting WIOA funds. So our community of learners is typical adult education, as I think-- I don't remember who said it earlier-- 18 to 80, every language you can think of, every background, experience. Whatever you can think of, we've got them.
Our initial project was like the bootcamp that people have been talking about. When we started in DLAC 2, we had just launched a new student information system for the College District. And so this was supposed to allow students to self enroll, to access their Office 365 Suite, to access Canvas-- which really nobody was using except myself and a few other nerds on campus. But we needed students to be able to get on to this.
So we wanted to create what we called the SIS workshop, and it was part of our orientation. Students would come in, we'd present this information to them, especially targeting getting them to use their student email. And so that was going OK. That was a cool project. That ended up growing into another bigger project, which was digital EL Civics. We were kind of the first people to put EL Civics on Canvas pre-COVID. And to try and streamline it, we piloted it.
We did some pilots across multiple class configurations, different levels, things like that. And it was really successful. So we had students getting online, we had them checking their email, we had them using Canvas in the classroom with tons of support. And then we went into quarantine, and luckily, because that was, like, at the end of our DLAC 2, like right at the end. We had just-- I think we actually had-- they declared quarantine while we were meeting in Sacramento.
And so my partner on the team, Carmen Delgado, and I flew back to LA and found out we had three days of classes left on campus. And so we developed a really rapid response to the situation because we now knew that we had 70 adjuncts, roughly, who didn't know how to use Canvas or Zoom. And so we put together a whole Canvas Shell called Digital Literacy, and we put all of our training materials there. We had rap sessions online every day for the first two weeks of quarantine, doing trainings, answering questions, sharing materials-- because people didn't know how to make a module, never mind where to get materials that they could put on that.
And the publishers were completely useless, as far as supplying us with anything that we could really use immediately. And so we were really able to respond to the situation very quickly, and it was 100% because of our experience with DLAC and because of our amazing mentor, Susan Gear. I cannot say enough about the support we've gotten from OTAN-- from everyone at OTAN-- from Susan, and from our own district, as a result, because-- it does cost money for people to be sent to these learning opportunities.
And it really proved that it was well worth any time and effort that they put into it because we didn't stop teaching for a day. Actually, I take that back. We stopped teaching for two days and then the following Monday we had students online. And so it was-- I mean, every gap we could have found, we were able to fill with the leadership skills that we had studied and practiced in DLAC and to really expand all of our projects.
Now we're thinking about, what is it going to look like in the future, which is now? What are we going to do when we have campus space available again? And I don't really have an answer for that. I mean, I think that you can't put a genie back in a bottle. So we really are going to be having full-- I predict that we're going to be doing-- everything's going to be hybrid. We're going to be using the digital tools in all kinds of different ways.
I, personally, am actually planning on livestreaming all of my classes because the increase in retention and perseverance I've seen from students who have the ability to watch a recorded lecture if they miss a class because of whatever reason-- it has changed the game with my adult learners-- the fact that they can go back and revisit activities, assignments, things like that, and show their improvement after they've learned more information. Even though our attendance has been lower, my attendance, as far as daily participation in classes, has been a lot higher than it was when we met face-to-face.
I have a way lower number of absent students and that's been a really interesting surprise. So a few of the things that we're doing now in preparation for our predictions is, I'm working with the other full-time faculty person who is the voc-ed instructor. So she's handling a lot of the technology classes, and we're creating bundles where students can take, like, my ESL class Tuesday, Thursday and her technology class in the middle, and we align our courses so that way the material, the content, and language is consistent across them to really accelerate their learning process.
We just did this. We have one that we're doing this semester with an English for special uses course that's focusing on information literacy. My students from fall and winter were really personally impacted by what they saw during the last election. And so co-created this course where students are learning the skills they need to identify reliable and true information on the internet, and they're using that information to create PowerPoint presentations to solve problems in their community.
So they take these two classes together, and it's really already-- I see a marked increase in proficiency in a shorter amount of time doing this, and it's all because we've been able to look at the different technology tools that we have and take risks to do things that we never would have done a year ago. So thanks DLAC.
Penny Pearson: Wow.
Martha Clayton: That was a lot, sorry. I feel like I--
Penny Pearson: No. First thing I'm going to ask is like, can I have copies of your courses?
Martha Clayton: Yes.
Penny Pearson: We'll talk about that.
Martha Clayton: After I clean up all the syllabi.
Penny Pearson: I love that. I loved your statement about you can't put the genie back in the bottle. I think--
Martha Clayton: It's not going back.
Penny Pearson: We've heard that several times in different ways. And I think those pieces that you spoke of, the successes that your learners are having and the persistence, and they're sticking with it-- even though the total enrollments may be down, that whole piece about, they're sticking around and completing-- those are very high numbers. We've heard it in other places. So Martha, you guys have just done amazing work down there. So thank you.
Neda Anasseri: Absolutely.
Martha Clayton: The other thing I forgot to mention is, our original project with DLAC 2 was this SIS workshop. And we actually condensed that and refined that into a welcome and orientation module that all of our faculty are using in their Canvas Shells now that has all the videos we've made, and the picture and text step-by-step instructions. So students have almost like a user guide that they can go to at any point, and it gives them a chance-- like, I used it for the first full first two weeks of class.
I just had them go in and click on everything and try everything out so they can get over that fear of the technology and they can see that they can't break it, they can go back and review whenever they need to. And we tell them about all the cool stuff in Canvas like Immersive Reader is your friend and how to slow video down and how to turn on captions. So that way, like-- I think I heard somebody talking earlier about the challenge of content faculty trying to teach technology, when that's not your typical content.
This has helped us a lot because we can tell students, oh, you need to just go to the module and go to this section and review that again, and you can show it to them in class easily. So that translated really nicely, our original project, to this sort of moving forward stage that we're in now.
Penny Pearson: What a great thing to have your entire campus adopting it, too. That speaks greatly to what you have done.
Martha Clayton: Well, our program is, yeah.
Penny Pearson: Well, yes. But I see what you're saying. And so, congratulations are in order for that for sure.
Martha Clayton: Thank you.
Neda Anasseri: Definitely. And since then-- not that DLAC-- Martha's brilliant on her own. But since then, she has become a full-time faculty and she was doing all this, working on DLAC, wrapping up her Master's program, and working with City College for the time that she was. So all that happening and DLAC definitely added some different components to it. So today, now she's a full-time faculty. So congratulations on that, Martha. We're very proud of you.
Martha Clayton: Thanks. Thanks. It's exhausting.
It's more exhausting than what it was like, oh, I'm going to get my Master's degree and do all these other things. But it's good. It's good. I'm joking. I'm joking. It's really good.
Neda Anasseri: And when we talk about professional growth opportunities, I think that we've definitely seen-- I mean, I'll speak for myself-- being in TIMAC and growing within OTAN and then working, eventually, with OTAN and so on. So we've definitely heard stories about professional growth and how DLAC really helps with that professional growth, whether they were in our professional development opportunities and became administrators, became tech coaches, became et cetera, et cetera. It's always nice to hear how it's also been assisting in professional growth as well.
All right. So I think it's time to ask our panelists if there's anything that you have-- any questions you have for any of our agencies, including Martha, LA City College. Now's the time to ask, so you can put your questions in the chat. It'll be a little bit more flexible. We can unmute also and ask questions. So now's the opportunity, gang. Do we have any questions?
Mansoora Zaeem: There's a question in the chat. Is that OK if I answer to That
Neda Anasseri: Yeah. Absolutely.
Mansoora Zaeem: Everybody always loves to know, where's Pittsburg Adult Education. It's not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it's Pittsburg, California.
I like to-- I don't know, Frances, how you want to say it-- but I usually say it's about-- maybe you know Walnut Creek. That's, like, the biggest thing-- Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Dublin, Silicon Valley-- about hour and a half away from Silicon Valley and an hour away from Sacramento. So like in the middle. It's a nice little town. I've lived here all my life, it's changed. And I haven't even moved. They moved from a town to a city and I didn't even move.
I was stationed-- I don't know if you've heard of Concord Naval Weapons Station, that's where I was stationed. So it's right next door to that. And Pittsburg Adult-- and weirdly my parents went to Pittsburg Adult 40 years ago.
And my dad tells me and my mom tells me about those stories that they learned and I'm like, oh, and I'm teaching there now.
Penny Pearson: That's cool.
Neda Anasseri: That's great.
Penny Pearson: That's pretty cool.
Mansoora Zaeem: So it's come full circle.
Penny Pearson: So I'm not seeing much activity in the chat box here, gang. So any questions for any of our panelists or for Neda and I regarding the Digital Leadership Academy itself? Now's the time to ask. We have the time to answer.
Neda Anasseri: No questions.
Penny Pearson: This is where I want the crickets or the Jeopardy theme, right?
Speaker 1: So I raised my hand, but I think there's so many people you're not seeing me. Maybe I didn't raise my hand. I don't know what I did.
Penny Pearson: I don't see it. Go ahead.
Speaker 1: So I don't know that I did. I'm trying to unmute three things-- whatever. So my question to the panelists is about the application process. I have never applied for DLAC, so I don't know what that process is like firsthand and I was wondering if anyone had any pearls of wisdom on filling out that process. Because I think it was Penny that mentioned-- or maybe Neda-- that it was a little bit grueling, possibly. Maybe that was the wrong adjective.
Penny Pearson: Thorough. Thorough.
Speaker 1: Thorough. I like that.
Martha Clayton: I'll comment on that. It is thorough. Thorough's a good way to describe it. You have to reflect on why you're doing it before you start, when you might not really know why you're doing it until after you start. So yeah. You have to think like, what's going to actually happen here and where could this go? We started with something totally different and we had to consider nine colleges-- like, hopefully that they would adopt the things that we were coming up with.
That's why we targeted this new event in our college culture and our district culture with this new student information system, because we were like, oh, OK, if we work on this, everybody could use it. But I remember filling it out and being like, wow, I don't really know what I'm-- I don't really know what I'm seeing for the future and had to talk with my dean a little bit. And at that time I was the only person from the district who was applying.
I had to find other people and convince them to do it with me because they were like, what are you talking about? But it gave us a chance to talk about some issues that-- and I don't mean, like, necessarily bad things, but just like, OK, what are we doing here? What is it that we want to do? Why do we want to do this? So yeah, there's a little bit of self-reflection there that you have to do, and then you have to write sort of little essays.
Penny Pearson: Yeah, yeah. No, you're right.
Martha Clayton: It was good. I mean, it helped us. It was the first step, and then it got us off and running.
Penny Pearson: Definitely. And one thing I do want to make clear-- because Martha made the comment-- I think one of the other panelists-- is that participation in DLAC is at no cost to the agencies in the sense that OTAN takes care of providing resources, providing the training. When we go back to a face-to-face environment, we pay for the travel and the room and board in Sacramento. But as Martha said, there is still a cost to the agency because you may have to have a substitute or-- there are other inherent-- kind of those hidden costs.
So it doesn't cost the participant any money out of pocket. There's reimbursements for meals and things like that-- if you want to eat an eight-course meal, we might not be able to cover that with per diem, but we would definitely try to make you whole as much as possible within the limits of our federal government. But it is something that we hope that people understand, that it is not at an out-of-pocket cost as much as possible, because we do have the funds to make sure that you get here and we keep you well fed.
And we have great restaurants around us. Well, OK, mediocre, I would say. I don't know, my colleagues paint them differently.
Martha Clayton: No, they're good. There's good restaurants.
Penny Pearson: We got some good ones, yeah.
Martha Clayton: We always had-- and I just want to say, too. If you haven't-- for people in the room that haven't experienced DLAC-- we had a really good time doing it. It was hard work. It was a commitment. There were times when it was like, oh, I got to come up with another presentation for this. I don't know if I have time. But it was so much fun. And every time our group got together, it was like a family reunion.
Everyone was so excited to be with each other. We're still in contact with each other, and we still reach out to each other to get support or ideas or to share resources. Yeah, it really is fun. We always had fun. There are good restaurants.
There are good restaurants. The hotel is nice. Yeah, it's good. It's really fun.
Penny Pearson: --which our current DLAC cohort hasn't had the opportunity to experience, but hopefully we'll get there so we can actually meet them in person and elbow bump or something. This has been very different for us-- not having everybody in our clutches at Sacramento County Office of Ed.
Arij Mousa: Experienced the generosity of OTAN when I did my OTAC four years ago. It was really great and I enjoyed it. And I wanted to tell you something. First of all, I'd like to thank our administrator, [inaudible] and Steven [inaudible] for their support throughout this whole one year.
Neda Anasseri: And they're on the line, too, supporting you all the way-- even during your presentation.
Arij Mousa: And I wanted to thank you guys, Penny and Blair, for your support throughout this. And I have to tell you something. Without this DLAC, we wouldn't have had the focus that we have now towards this plan and this project. We talked about it in the past. We were going to make it happen, but we dragged our feet. We spoke of it, but with DLAC, it helped us step by step put the plan together, do our homework, get closer to the program, bring CTE teachers and ESL teachers closer together.
And I'm thankful for that. And I wanted to thank, in particular, Steven [inaudible] for recommending this program a few years ago. I remember he asked me to look into it. It was one week before the application closed, and I'm like, there's no way I can do it [inaudible]. But I promised him I would look into it when it came next, so I did. And I'm glad.
Neda Anasseri: I love it.
Penny Pearson: Thank you, Arij.
Neda Anasseri: That was great. Thank you, Arij, for those kind words. I was going to circle back to that investment piece that Penny was talking about, and Martha. We've talked to several other agencies that were in DLAC and they talk about, what you guys give us, what we actually experience throughout the Academy is great, and we love it, and thank you for supporting us. But there's an equal amount, if not more, of an investment at the agency level. And that's what we try to lay out.
We try to really lay that out very clearly-- in the application for administrators-- to really check that off, to know that, it's nice to release your teachers to get the professional development that they need, but to actually make the project happen costs so much more than that, right? And so an organization-- and time. Teachers need the time. Teachers need that to work and to actually make this happen. So we're very impressed with the commitment and the investment that agencies make towards their people that are involved in DLAC, and then the project itself when it comes back home.
Penny Pearson: Definitely.
Neda Anasseri: All right, folks. Aw, well, we're getting appreciation in the chat. Placer School for Adults, thanks.
Penny Pearson: Well deserved.