Narrator: OTAN. Outreach and Technical Assistance Network
Janet Hernandez: Hi. Welcome. I'm Janet Hernandez, I teach at Rowland. I'm an ESL teacher. I teach an intermediate low class in the morning, and I teach in evening-- I would say literacy beginning low class. All on Zoom, since the pandemic has hit. So, Melissa, where are you?
Melissa Baumunk: I'm right here. And this is strange because I'm sharing and I don't see anybody now. So I don't--
Janet Hernandez: We see you. So you're good.
Melissa Baumunk: So, hello. Melissa Baumunk, ESL instructor at Rowland Adult as well. I teach a beginning low class in the morning, and then I teach a conversation class, in the afternoon. And like Janet, our entire school has been 100% online since the pandemic has started. So, and we're happy to-- Gail Lee, our ESL co-leader, has joined the session, this morning. So we're happy to have him here. Thank you Gaer for joining us.
Janet Hernandez: Thanks, Gail. Thanks for being here.
Susan Gaer: Thanks for your support.
Melissa Baumunk: OK. And then I'm going to turn my camera off now, as well, just for the purposes of our presentation. So welcome.
Narrator 2: Journey with us as we take you on a visit through our school, to see our progress in DLAC. Rowland Adult and Community Education, affectionately known as RACE, is celebrating its 50th year of providing quality adult education to Rowland Heights and the surrounding communities.
Janet Hernandez: Pre-pandemic, RACE had over 1,200 unduplicated ESL students enrolled. However, we serviced over 6,000 adults, and offered more than 600 courses across all programs, which were held at 21 different sites throughout the Rowland Unified School District.
Melissa Baumunk: Although these numbers have been reduced because of the pandemic, RACE continues to serve adult students and the community fully online. Courses include parent education, English as a second language, citizenship preparation, older adults, and adult secondary education. RACE also offers an abundance of fee-based classes for arts and crafts, cooking, computer skills, health/wellbeing, online advanced career training, industry certification, and general interest.
Our office staff is currently working in-person according to district safety protocols to support all of our programs. In fall 2021, we plan to return to our standard in-person operations with the added option of online ESL classes, thanks to the Training and Support of OTAN's digital Leadership Academy.
Janet Hernandez: Our mission at RACE is to inspire students to develop and achieve their goals through quality and meaningful educational programs. This mission did not change when the pandemic hit. In fact, RACE teachers attended webinars and supported each other as we learned how to navigate the online world of teaching. After attending various OTAN webinars, we created teacher websites, YouTube channels, and implemented other resources to support online learning.
Melissa Baumunk: RACE's vision identifies and addresses the needs of a culturally, academically, and economically diverse community by building bridges that provide the students the opportunity to be informed, productive, and engaged community members. During the pandemic, RACE's staff and teachers worked tirelessly to connect to students through messaging apps, email, phone calls, and handwritten correspondence. We worked hard to keep building bridges through a virtual format. Classes offered at RACE support our school-wide learner outcomes, which affords students the opportunity to become responsible community members, lifelong learners, effective communicators, problem solvers, and culturally aware individuals.
Janet Hernandez: Rocky Bettar, 2020 RUSD administrator of the year and 2018 California Adult Ed administrator of the year, is the director of RACE. He has been RACE's fearless leader for 25 years, guiding the school through changing times with a vision always focused on our students, community, and staff.
Melissa Baumunk: The RACE DLAC team members are ESL instructors Janet Hernandez-- 2019, RACE teacher of the year-- and myself-- the 2021 RACE teacher of the year-- along with our coach, Susan Gaer. Janet has taught elementary, and middle school for 19 years. This is Janet's fifth year as an ESL teacher with RACE
Janet Hernandez: Melissa has 22 years of experience in the K-12 educational setting as both a teacher and a school administrator. This is Melissa's second year in adult education. Susan taught ESL for more than 40 years and is now retired. As a retired professor, she is an OTAN subject matter expert and CATESOL president.
Melissa Baumunk: When we were accepted into DLAC, we dutifully read through all of the information and correspondence, calendar dates for the next two years, and set forth on this project. Once we started the IDEAL 101 course, the expectations became clear and the RACE team began to form a vision to create a sustainable online course. We found the course handbook invaluable in both understanding, and planning for a distance learning course.
Janet Hernandez: Additionally, we greatly benefited from our weekly meetings with our coach, Susan. We use these meetings to review our weekly assignments and received valuable input from her. The structure of the IDEAL 101 course, along with the support of our coach, helped us develop a site plan to meet the needs of our school.
Melissa Baumunk: During the first year of DLAC, our team started developing resources to recruit students for our pilot course. We met with our office staff to discuss how the new course might affect the current registration process, both for the beginning of the year registration and our monthly open enrollment.
We are developing a plan for student orientation, which will include the use of our schools recently upgraded computer lab. We have developed overview videos of our online courses to share with prospective students. Additionally, we have applied for the FORUS grant. If accepted, it will provide us funds to purchase Chrome books for student use to access the online course.
Janet Hernandez: RACE is a small adult school. Therefore, we have a small DLAC team. The RACE team members already worked well together, so we had the good fortune to not require a great deal of team building. However, we did value having the opportunity to complete the Gallup Strengths Assessment to review our personalized strengths insight guides and to create a team venn diagram with our coach. We learned each team member's top five themes, the characteristics of those themes, and saw the overall traits of the team members.
Most valuable for us was learning about our personal balconies and basements. This led to personal reflection on how we approach working with others. Most importantly, it made us more aware and conscientious of how we work in collaborative settings. We found that each of us has something special to bring.
Melissa Baumunk: To build a culture of change at RACE, we need to maintain a balance between what is already successfully in place at the school and identify changes that would benefit our students moving forward. RACE provides standard base high-quality instruction, for all students. We provide opportunities, for small group instruction, and partner work and we engage students through music, movement, and other fun activities.
[music playing, "cupid shuffle"]
To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right. To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick. Now walk it by yourself. Now walk it by yourself.
[mucis playing, "ymca"] The have everything for young men to enjoy. You can hang out with all the boys.
Janet Hernandez: At RACE, we found that the benefit of online learning is that students who otherwise are unable to attend classes at school can attend class online. This includes students with young children in the home who have challenges with child care, students who are home caregivers for others and are unable to leave, students with transportation challenges, and students in remote locations-- for example, from their home country or from out of town.
Additionally, we found that online learning is less of a conflict for students who also work. Online learning has increased digital literacy skills for students through the daily use of technology. Students are able to use digital media at will. For example, re-watch videos and/or listen to audio repeatedly. Students have increased confidence in self-study learning activities through independent online practice and various learning media such as websites and videos.
Melissa Baumunk: The primary challenge to online learning is the lack of in-person social engagement and interaction for our students. To address this challenge, the RACE plan for online learning will highlight social interaction for students, such as scheduled bi-monthly class sessions in-person, field trips to apply newly learned English skills in real world settings, participation in school-wide functions, and a student favorite, potlucks.
Janet Hernandez: In planning for next steps, our team met with school administration to review our site plan and implementation. The main challenge for implementation is the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we plan for implementing this course in fall 2021, we still do not know what the status of the pandemic will be and its impact on instruction. However, despite this uncertainty, we have planned for an opportunity to prepare our teachers for increased digital literacy skills to support the demand for the use of technology for instruction.
Melissa Baumunk: We have worked with our ESL coordinator to schedule school-wide training on using Microsoft Office suite. Additionally, we look to propose training on the use of the upgraded technology throughout our school and continue training on the digital components of our ESL textbook, Step Forward. Even with the return to in-person classes, instruction will not look the same as before.
Janet Hernandez: RACE plans to return to in-person classes for fall 2021. Offering online course option for ESL students, Anticipate notification of the FORUS grant, create a teacher YouTube channel, work on our site plan action steps, recruit students for the online course.
Melissa Baumunk: Advertise in the fall 2021 catalogue and on our social media sites, maintain the teacher Weebly websites, finalize the online course survey, conduct in-person orientation in the computer lab, and hold Zoom orientations during open enrollment.
We would like to thank OTAN for this opportunity to participate in the Digital Leadership Academy. We appreciate your support in the journey into the future of online learning.