Speaker 1: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.

Susan Coulter: Thank you for joining us this afternoon. The purpose of this webinar is to share with you the journey of two agencies in the Digital Leadership Academy, and some of the benefits and challenges of developing a DLAC team. The goal of the Digital Leadership Academy is to assist selected agencies in meeting their technology integration, distance learning, and blended learning goals.

It is a two year commitment. We have two DLAC teams here today that will share their experiences and talk about the challenges in an informal panel discussion. Let's get started. I am Susan Coulter, one of OTAN's DLAC coaches. I will be interviewing our panel members in an attempt to give you a clear picture of DLAC, and to give you ideas for building your distance learning program.

Our first team is from Garden Grove Adult School. We have M'Liss Patterson and Alisa Takeuchi. So do we get some shares here, yeah? Next, we have Will Neddersen and Laura Miranda from Tustin Adult School. OK. I'll let them tell you a little bit about their schools.

M'liss Patterson: All right. Thank you, Susan, for that great introduction and welcome everyone to our presentation. And I am the director of Garden Grove Adult Education. And currently we operate out of two locations. Our main campus is near the Civic Center in Garden grove and that is where most of our classes are offered except for a couple are also offered at the satellite campus at Clinton Corner. And this is a family resource center and a preschool. So both are easily attainable via public transportation. Areas in the neighborhood people can walk, ride bikes. So both are great locations.

Our programs are pretty extensive. We are down probably maybe 50% or greater in our student population but we are not discouraged. The students who have continued with us through this distance learning format have remained steady and our attendance has stayed solid. And we've actually grown here in the spring semester.

So as you can see, we operate now at about a thousand students offering ESL classes, ABE, GED, citizenship, pronunciation, adult high school diploma. We are also unique in that we do have concurrent high school students to attend our campus as well, making up credits while they attend their own comprehensive high school. We do offer vocational ESL classes in conjunction with some of our students who are NCTE pathways. And we do have a robust adults with disabilities program that is supported through the regional center. We have about 14 different languages represented on our campus and we are proud to say we have students anywhere between 18 and 80.

Alisa Takeuchi: Great. Thanks, M'Liss. So I'm going to talk to you about our teachers. Right now we have about 25 part time teachers in the various departments. And we are currently-- we currently have two full time tossers. So that was something that we were able to get through our consortium. And that's a first that we've had for a very long time and we're extremely lucky for that.

We provide classes in the morning, in the afternoons, and in the evenings. Most of the classes run Monday through Thursday. And then we do offer some classes only on Fridays. So right now currently we are in Zoom only, we are online only. In the future, in the very near future, we plan to do-- to go back into in class instruction.

Will Neddersen: So Alisa, as you talk about Garden Grove, let's dive into Tustin a little bit. So Tustin Adult School is in Tustin, California. We have one main campus that we actually share with our alternative high school, Hillview High School. So our Adult Ed office is the white portable there. And then we have roughly seven classrooms that are on that campus that we are currently using.

Prior to COVID times, we would satellite within our district in a bunch of different elementary schools, high schools, middle schools, and even local churches that we would use. But currently, we are just at the Tustin Adult School campus. If you don't mind, going to the next slide, please.

So the breakdown of our program. I put this number, I wish I had changed it beforehand because it's gone up slightly, but we currently are servicing, there is roughly about 447 students. So we've grown about a hundred this spring, which is pretty exciting for us but that's still significantly down from '19-20. Our main group that we service are those looking for English as a second language support.

We do have citizenship classes that we offer, ABE classes. And then we support a diploma and then a GED prep high SAT prep. We're not a testing agency for GED or high SAT, but we do prep students for that. Our age range we get to claim that it's 18 to 81.

Lila is an 81-year-old that you would never believe is 81 years old working on her English skills, which is pretty inspiring, especially when Laura starts talking about class offerings. But I know that she's an online person. And I was amazed that we saw her sign up and have been in the rooms dedicated trying to work it out. So we love celebrating the fact that we do have that diverse range in there.

But if I was to hone in, we find that are 30 to 40-year-olds is really where the majority of our population is. And then we have 12 various languages spoken besides English, spoken at the home. So that image is just an image of different ways. When we dream of going back with larger classrooms being offered in person but a lot of celebration happening there.

Laura Flores-miranda: OK, great. And so will mention we are currently serving about 450 students. And to serve those students, we hire 25 part time teachers. I'm one of those, but I am a new instructional coach for Tustin. And so that is a new concept that we are trying out and I think it's working out pretty well for us right now, especially with all of the of WYOA and COAAPs.

So our program areas are mainly ESL, ABE, and high school diploma and equivalency. We offer morning, afternoon, and evening classes. And we also offer a Saturday 9:00 to 12:00 that has a few seats in it right now and we're hoping to grow. Next slide.

This is a few pictures of what our classrooms look like. Will mentioned we have seven physical classrooms on our main campus. So the pictures on the left show our attempt to add social distancing. I think it looks pretty well and representative of what most classrooms look like around the country right now. And then on the right hand side is a sample of our video conferencing classrooms through Zoom. And we're really proud that we have about 20, approximately 20 classes that look like this right now on our campus.

Susan Coulter: OK. What prompted you to apply for DLAC Garden Grove?

M'liss Patterson: All right. I'll take that one. Well, I must say that as a new director who started July 1, it was-- at first when it was presented to me, I did have some apprehension. I was thinking, well, as a new director, do I really want to take on a two year project. But at least that Takeuchi is well versed in OTAN and what its strengths are. And she knew that this program would probably be something that would be beneficial and she wanted to be a part of the team.

And I must say after I looked at what the DLAC course was going to offer, I realized this might be a great time to really learn some new skills and to better understand how we can already grow a successful program in the midst of being faced with a huge pedagogical shift in distance teaching and having to increase our knowledge of technology. So with that, I made the decision to jump in. And I can say halfway through the first year I'm not sorry, I'm extremely grateful.

Will Neddersen: So M'Liss, I think for Tustin, I'm not as new as you but I came in-- this is my third year as the coordinator for Tustin and that's the highest level who oversees admin for us is, is me. So I get to work with our teachers. And Laura came to me and said, hey, let's do this. And M'Liss if I'm to be honest with you as an administrator as well, I thought not because I was new but like what's that time constraint.

But I think going back to-- and Laura and I have been in a lot of conversations. So Laura, before being the instructional coach that she is currently was our lead ESL teacher as well. So she and I have spent a lot of time reflecting. And part of that is the desire to really build in a digital literacy and all that we're doing in our classes.

Tustin Unified is a unique district that we had a bond measure passed for our k-12s. So put technology in the hands of every student k-12. But adult Ed was left out of that. And I came from the k-12 world, and it sort of boggled me why we didn't have all those access points, what was going on, and realizing that we needed to invest in that. Because again, if we look at the 21st work force skills that you're going to need, digital literacy is one of those.

So I think that was the idea for me, was let's apply really trying to look at how we get that digital literacy integrated into everything that we're doing on our campus in our classrooms especially for us ESL was our largest population. And for some of us, it's a little scary to touch a device and not sure what it's going to do. So it was trying to look at that and bring that forward.

And I had thought at the time when we were applying, oh COVID's summer numbers are going down. We'll be good. We'll be talking about integrating everything. And so that's why we applied. It was really trying to look at the digital integration in our class offerings.

Susan Coulter: What challenges did your school go through to adjust to COVID's continual and never ending impact on the new school year?

M'liss Patterson: Well, I think Will and I both had very similar experiences coming from the k-12 side of the house where for years we have been providing technology to our young people. But he hit the nail on the head when he said now we have adults who are really trying to find their way in the workforce. And we really needed to get technology not only in the hands of our students but we also needed to improve the technology that our teachers had in order to teach through the distance learning model.

And so we were challenged with that and fortunately, Garden Grove had started to buy devices under the previous director. But never before in the history of the school had we been distributing devices to students. And so we took that on as a new challenge. And in the midst of really trying to keep our programs operating, right? Because we both talked about how we were facing low enrollment.

And then on top of it all, as we all know, that the way that we get our funding is through Tustin. And so how are we going to be making this shift. In Garden Grove, they had been practicing e-testing for the previous year. So they were set up for that. But then we had the limitations of COVID and how do you bring people to campus when your district tells you that you can't. And then of course, all the other things like marketing our programs and making sure that people knew we were still here. Like, hello, we're still in business And WE are ready to support you through this.

Will Neddersen: And M'Liss, I think something I would add to that is trying to think of registering students. I am pretty sure if I remember our conversations correctly, Garden Grove was the same point that we were, that all of our registration was pretty much paper-based. That we had these long lines, red states, early red, come celebrate, let's have some fun together, bring our teaching staff and office staff together.

So all this paper pencil based. But then registration was like, wait a minute, we can't have you standing. We can't have so many people. So it was even the idea of trying to put registration online and getting our students to understand that as well as our staff too to explain this is-- for us, it was learning how to use Google Forums to even teaching our own office staff, this is how we go into the Google form results and do a Google Sheet, all those pieces.

But teaching our students how to fill out a Google Form. For some of them, it was the walk through on the phone. Yes, we can do this together and that encouragement because they all wanted to come down. But again, for us in following it was like don't come except we've got we in Tustin had approval to bring small groups in for the assessment side of it, so that even that process where we used to be assessing maybe 90 students at one time on one day had to rethink that shuffle.

For us, it was also OK, we need to figure out who's coming when, what do we use. So trying to find a resource to get that scheduling component there, because I'll be honest I'm not a tech programmer so trying to use those resources. And then the other step shift for us in Tustin was we moved. So spring in that emergency, COVID situation, March 17, Tate our decision was we're going directly all online. And so for Tustin Adult School, we made the decision to go asynchronous, so our teachers were recording.

So they had learned about Screencastify, giving these lessons. We put things up and then having to do that shift as well. So a lot of changes from the admin point of view of getting people to move forward. And I know that you will talk more about it as teachers as well. But those pieces of admin.

And for Tustin, we weren't distributing devices. So I had an iPad cart and a set of 40 laptops. And trying to now get those distributed slowly but surely, it's definitely been a challenge for us.

M'liss Patterson: So one of the things that we learned early on through the DLAC program was tips about marketing your program. And so as a new director, I really wanted to look at what had been done previously. And what we had done before is sent out some beautiful color brochures. And it cost us close to about $11,000 to market out that program.

And so through DLAC and resources that they provided, I was able to look and see and learn what were other programs doing. And so what we decided to do is to create a postcard. And we found a limited group of people then learn this through DLAC. And what we did is we sent the postcards out to the people who were currently enrolled and then we went back an additional two years.

And we are very happy to say that I saved probably over $9,000, which we could put towards a better marketing purchase that again I learned through DLAC, which involves social media, and technology, and a marquee. And instead, what we did is we mailed out a postcard and we had it translated into a couple of different languages that we could put up onto our social media accounts. And we were very successful with this. We had a lot of people come back to us and report that this is how they knew to come back and register.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah. Thanks, M'Liss. I mean that was really a game changer I think for our agency because we were trying to reach out to as many students because we had lost so many from a year ago, you know, year ago next week. And so from the teacher's point of view, from that point on from March to June, it was really survival mode.

The teachers just really went out and tried to communicate with their students as best as they could. Whether that be calling them, texting them, emailing them. Maybe once in a while, some of the teachers sent letters via snail mail. So we really tried hard just to connect with them and to say, hey, we're still here for you, even though you can't come to our actual school.

And then we had to make a plan for curriculum. And there was a lot of professional development for the teachers. A lot of teachers actually went to OTAN for the first time and really utilized OTAN's webinars and resources to help them because they now became students of technology. They had to learn how to use a lot of technology so that they can actually use it for their students.

The teachers also developed a Google Classroom from September for the new school year. Then we decided to be more uniformed. So all the teachers in all departments created a Google Classroom for their students. And the other adjustment was that we had to work our contracted 2 and 1/2 hours, Monday through Thursday or whatever your contracted hours. And many of our teachers teach morning and night. So they were teaching online for five hours a day and there was a big adjustment for that for them just to be focused on the Zoom with their students for such a long period of time and what did that look like.

Laura Flores-miranda: Right. And just like Garden Grove, our teachers tasks had quite an adjustment as well. Whether it was teaching hours at home that had to be adjusted to meet student needs for when students could enroll in our programs, to learning Google Suite and creating a teacher website, learning how to utilize Burlington English and the side-by-side book, the E-text version of our side-by-side book.

All the while, we were also rolling out COAAPs at a distance. So if you can imagine, it was quite a learning curve for all of our teachers and it was an exciting time but it was also challenging, to say the least.


Will Neddersen: Flores, I know it says here starting COAAPs at a distance, but it was just even starting COAAPs. That was a new experience for us all over and then trying to do it in a distance too.

Laura Flores-miranda: That's correct, yes.

Susan Coulter: Yeah. OK. What is your current goal or focus for your project?

M'liss Patterson: Well, at least for our program, we are working on developing a Hi-Flex plan. Because what we learned through COVID and distance learning is that some of our students want to continue at a distance learning format. This really works well for them with their busy work schedules or family life.

Well, we know that some of our students haven't come back because they prefer in person. So we are working on developing what we call Hi-Flex so that our teachers can be doing both, have students in class and then simultaneously be instructing at a distance. So as you can only imagine the complexities of that but we have great support.

And I know that that's going to happen. And then something else that DLAC really helped us focus in on is our orientation. What is it that we're doing to connect with our students, whether they're going to be attending in person or online? And so Alisa here has really been the mastermind behind that. She's done a great job and we just rolled out a brand new orientation program at ALC this spring.

And right now, because we're only in distance learning, this is done via Zoom. But it's really helping our students understand what it will take to be successful at Lincoln Education and then what do we need to do to support you on being successful. So we're being able in this previously what we had.

We had a great positive orientation program which was a video that we sent out to our students to watch. This time they get to come in to a Zoom class and interact with Alisa and learn about things and see videos and talk through, and we really get to see what needs they have and we're very excited to grow that program. And then of course, we're going to continue our marketing because just that little bit of success that we have with our postcard we are raring to go and we're just going to continue looking for ways to bring people back and new to our program.

Susan Coulter: And M'Liss, could you kind of explain the Hi-Flex plan, what that involves. Some people may not be familiar with it.

M'liss Patterson: Sure, I can explain that and Alisa feel free to jump in if I'm not covering it totally from the hinterlands. But what we've done is we've actually set up in our classrooms. We put new technology, new laptops into the hands of all of our teachers. And we're making sure that they have a new projector and a document camera.

And we're setting up conjunction boxes so that our teachers can be zooming at home but then they can also be sharing the screen and seeing what's on the document camera or on the projector. And so it would be totally and simultaneous. What's happening in the classroom is live for the people sitting in the classroom and it's also live for those at home.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah. I think that the idea of the Hi-Flex implementation really starts from the student. So once a student goes onto our website, they're going to decide, do I want to be an online student or do I want to be in-class student. And from there that's where their path begins.

And so from that, if they decide to be an in-class student, then they would have a completely different orientation where they would actually come on campus. We would give them the campus tour a little bit like what we had done before in the video and then let them know our expectations for them, ask them what their expectations are from us, for us. And then that way that the students can feel-- and then even going through the safety measures of COVID.

How do I come to school? How do I wait in line to get my temperature? How do I check in with our parents square, which is our digital check in to make sure that they don't have any symptoms and they don't have a fever. So all that would be explained for in-class students. And then the online students would continue with me on Zoom to go through the information about Zoom basics and how to make sure that they have a Gmail account and use just basic computer skills to make sure that they're prepared for when they enter into a Zoom class.

Will Neddersen: So I think when we look at Tustin, there's some connections with what Garden Grove is doing as well. Talking with our leadership team, Laura and I tried to come back and really talk with our leadership team and say, what do we want to look at as our goals in this journey that we're on. And what came up from it was the idea of being able to look at orientation and recruitment.

So Laura was amazing at the beginning of the year. And when we had captured students to be able to assess them, we created this video. Laura, I think it was about five to seven minute video that tried to give an overview of what's being expected of you as a student. But I think through our journey and process of learning from DLAC and the tools that we're going to talk about soon, we realized that we want to even fine tune that a little bit more and get more specific in figuring out if you're going to be a distance learner what is the orientation need to be for a distance learner compared to an in-person.

But then there's the commonalities of both those learners. What do we need to make sure every test Tustin Adult School student is needing or should be looking at to be successful on our campus. But with that also comes the priority of recruitment. Our numbers are down and trying to look at the various ways you know. Inspiration from Garden Grove, the idea of not having the brochure but looking at the postcard what can we get out that way, social media, those components and how we're recruiting students getting back into our local community and using our teachers with that as well.

And then another conversation has been that screening for support. Some students, when they fill out that registration form, they've been able to complete everything. But you're realizing at home there might be somebody there to support them. So when we get to capture them and have them assess looking at being able to screen to say do you use these applications. Can you send an email, asking those questions where there's not another person around to look at and say can I do that, I don't know if you've had that experience. But even at registration days for us that's been typical.

Somebody else can say yes I can but really trying to look at that. So we can start gearing. I think we're looking at what's called a workshop model, where it be a workshop for about maybe bringing a student in for an hour to give them some of these basic skills but really trying to screen to see if they're needed or not. Because we don't want to deter somebody who wants to look at a distance learning class but we want to make sure they're empowered for it.

I think it's also trying to support our teachers. Being able to say, we screen them, we give them the workshop, and some of these workshop components will be a video that's recorded that our teachers can possibly go back to and be able to show again or send out. And then the conversation of technology access and use. You heard me say I started with an iPad cart of 40 and 40 laptops is what I had to try and work with and say, do we loan them, but then my classrooms aren't going to have them. So we've been fortunate enough this year coming into the as a first time agency to use some of those funds to purchase technology. So we can look at checking those out.

So we've seen an increase but now we want to do better at it so that way, students can be encouraged to study at home if that's better for them. I think it's a barrier component. We've heard a lot of students come back and say, I appreciate being able to be home so I don't have to worry about daycare and I don't worry about transportation. So being able to say, what can we do to support that. And part of that is that access to technology.

But with that as well is the use in supporting our teachers as well. So we see it from both the student side and the teacher side in that technology access and use. And then really creating distance learning classes. We've done a great job, prior to COVID, having these in-person classes. We pride ourselves on being a small friendly school that just builds relationships. But how do we keep doing that and offering it here in person but keeping the distance learning alive because I think that's been a missing component for us. So those are our focus focal points in our conversation with leadership.

Susan Coulter: What has been done on your project?

M'liss Patterson: Well, I'll start on this. So like Will said, we move to an online registration and I really want to build on the fact, the word that he used is breaking down barriers. Because we realized, wow, how do we tell people and help people with this online registration. So it's morphed over time because we started it back in for our fall registration. And it's really become a user friendly, people are-- it's easier for them to access it through our social media accounts.

And then of course, the distribution of devices. And once we figured out a way to distribute the devices, then we had quickly learned the problem about, wow, what do we do when our students stop attending and how do we get those devices back, right? Because each and every one is so valuable because we all know we have limited resources in this area. So finding a plan and I think it's really just been great to see a team of people come together on our site to break down those barriers and work through our goals.

Laura Flores-miranda: For Tustin, I think it's a lot of fine tuning in all four of these areas. We have fine-tuned our online orientation form, the process by which we intake students. We have fine-tuned the distribution of devices because we have them to loan out and to give and to make accessible to both our teachers and our students.

Marketing is an ongoing action plan I think for both agencies. But I know that we have a little bit of heavy lifting to do there. And professional development is also ongoing but we've been fortunate enough since COVID, you know, began that we've been able to access lots of resources to the OTAN, and our partners in nearby schools, and people that we've met and collaborated with through DLAC. So that's been really the most beneficial part.

M'liss Patterson: You know, and I'm just going to add on the professional development for Garden Grove. We are so fortunate to have two toasties who really take on that lead role and making that happen. And I think what's crucial for our adult education teachers is giving them that sense of feeling like it's OK to take risks. It's good to try new things and really putting those supports in place.

I'm just so proud of our staff. We've gone from people who would have never hardly even opened a laptop and to now their lessons around laptops and their Zoom meeting, and they're growing more comfortable and living in this digital world and accessing pieces of our new curriculum that maybe they would have never access because it was in that digital arena. So this has been a great support and learning how to provide that for our teachers.

Will Neddersen: M'Liss, I think I have to add on. And I know Laura was being-- it's hard to boast about yourself, but something that we've done in the professional development side is following OTAN model of office hours. I started that pretty quickly in March realizing we need a check-in endpoint. We all need to just know that we're surviving this together and working with it.

But it was really interesting to find out teachers saying we want it to continue and we in fall started it. And Laura looked at me-- I shouldn't say looked at me, through online looking at me if that's the best way to put it, was like I'm going to offer some office hours. And as we started looking at COAAPs and just seeing that develop. And then our new ESL teacher, she's offering her hours as well. I know Virginia's here on with us.

But offering those office hour times to give a check-in, but it's also the time to share your finds in your strategies. And I think that I know those outside resources have been amazing and inspiring and it's great to go back to. But being able to be reflective with your own team at times, trying something new saying, hey, I just did this hey, I just did that, and being able to compare it and the other resources that you have, I think that's been pretty awesome as well. So a compliment to my leadership team keeping the office hours going.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah. Well, I'm just going to completely piggyback on what you just said because I am so in debt to our toasties, Cathleen and Ray who are in the room, because when this all happened we were all lost. We just didn't know what to do. And so they took their roles on top of what they were already doing with our consortium and everything, and really put it upon themselves to get the teachers organized and to say, hey, we're here for you to support you whatever that means.

And, you know, neither one of them are all that tech savvy either. I mean, they were learning with us. But they were saying, hey, we're learning, and we know that you're learning too and we're all kind of in it. And they really made the teachers feel like you're not alone. We're here for you. And I don't know if I can help you myself but I'll find somebody who can help you.

And so I think that's what the teachers really appreciated the most especially at the beginning, you know, those first few months before the end of the school year last year. So I really do want to just let Ray and Cathleen know that I really do appreciate it.

Susan Coulter: Part of your work in DLAC has been on the IDEAL 101 course. They actually experienced online learning as a student. And this course took them step-by-step through the planning and implementation of their distance learning plan.

In the final project, they developed and submitted their blended and distance learning implementation plan. They address both the administrative and the instructional issues that are so important for establishing a successful blended and distance learning program. I'll let them tell you about their experience and what they have learned from the course.

Will Neddersen: Oh, it's good. We're good.

Susan Coulter: OK. So what have you learned?

Will Neddersen: I get to speak for the team. But again, team chime in as you want as well. But all of our reflections when we've talked about IDEAL 101 was first of all, I'm going to be honest with you. I think all of us were a little apprehensive of what is that time commitment going to be, what is it that they're really looking at.

But as we started to get into the course, we realize there's so many strong benefits from it. And it started with the idea of that survey of needs and really walking you through this process of looking at what does your agency need to be successful in the digital scheme of things, whether it's in the distance learning or blended learning. If you look to the right, you'll see an idea of one of the surveys or one of the thought mapping type items. Sorry, I just blanked on the word, I apologize for that.

But just to put your thoughts in and survey, you know, what about this. If I look at the readiness component, how is it going to be that I've got technology ready, I've got my teachers ready, what skills do they need. So those surveys are intermixed throughout the IDEAL course. And then it's the focus of the components really to look at orientation, to look at recruitment, to look at teacher training, to look at assessment.

Those areas are really having you look at that instead of trying to say, oh, we're trying to take it all at one large jumper view, it was breaking apart to be able to come back to the larger goal, the idea of the digital plan that we're going to implement. And then looking at thinking of how do we support our teachers and our students, and then that monitoring of progress I think I've hit. And M'Liss and I had talked about there's a specific chapter for an administrator to fill out to really think about what is our way of supporting our teams to be successful, to see the success of our students and our teachers in being able to bring in distance learning or blended learning program onto the campus.

And really, for me, it was a reflective component to say, yeah, I do need to make sure I'm addressing that. And then the other side to that and the reason that we have besides just the sample of the work itself you'll see the comments on the side is Destiny leads the IDEAL 101 course for us and she's not even in the state of California. But she just reflectively looks at it, reads it over and gives us some of her thoughts, some of her feedback that has been, I know for Laura and I as we've talked as a team, oh, yeah, we didn't think of this. Let's refine this.

Or I've also appreciated Destiny has said, here's other resources. I see exactly what you're saying, here's what other schools and other agencies have done and not just specific Tustin, California, but looking at the greater good of schools throughout the nation and what can we do to implement. So that's been the benefits I think we've seen as a team. Anyone else want to contribute? I don't want to--

M'liss Patterson: No, I think you hit on all the components of it. And I think it's great that we show them that's kind of what an assignment looks like. And so you don't have to feel like you're overwhelmed with major essays or documentation, but it is really very reflective.

We get to hear someone speak, we read something, and then we come together as our own independent teams and kind of talk it through and complete this and then to have that objective feedback is just extremely valuable.

Susan Coulter: I agree with M'Liss. When we first started, it was-- it did seem kind of little overwhelming with all these assignments to do and things. But she really made us feel, Destiny really make us feel like these are for us, you know. It's not for her, it's not for the other agencies.

So if we want to write in sentences, if we want to write in bullets, if we want to do little paragraphs. Whatever we felt benefited us. I thought that really helped me kind of relax and go OK, you know. She's not checking our grammar, she's not checking our content and things. It's really what's going to benefit us in our agency.

And she's there to guide us to say, hey, again reflective, and look at it this way or-- and don't reinvent the wheel. I read other agencies are doing this too, check in with them. And that was really helpful.

M'liss Patterson: That was a great comment someone put in the chat box about, and they've been through the DLAC course and now they go back repeatedly for the resources that were provided. So that's--

Alisa Takeuchi: I feel like we're going to do that.

Laura Flores-miranda: I think that's very encouraging I noticed Marci just put that comment. And because Will and I spent-- we would do a weekly check-ins to make sure that we were holding each other accountable for turning in the assignments on time, right? And so now it's so nice that--

Will Neddersen: Thank you, Laura.

Laura Flores-miranda: Yeah. It's so nice that now we have that bank there that we can refer to. So when we feel at those times where we might be losing our way, we can just go back to the curriculum. So yeah.

M'liss Patterson: That's exactly right.

Susan Coulter: And Marci was-- she's from Corona-Norco. And she and Kevin and Kristina, they were in the program last year. So it's last year's DLAC group. And she may have some insights when we get finished, maybe get her input.

Marci: Hi. Yes, sorry. I'm just here like-- I don't want to be like the secret ghost like just putting stuff in the chat like a lurker. I'm not lurking. No, I mean like what new groups are doing and how you guys are innovating, there's always stuff to learn from each other. So I'm here gathering good ideas. Thank you.

Will Neddersen: Than you.

Alisa Takeuchi: That I was fortunate enough to see the projects that Norco-Corona did. And I mean, that really just encouraged me to apply for the next cohort. So I was really encouraged by that.

Susan Coulter: Oh, great. How do you feel about the DLAC program, what's been beneficial? I think we've answered this but let's go on.

Laura Flores-miranda: Well, if you've been through the program then you know this guy. This is Dr. Paul Porter, and he is just part of the support system that we were given during this entire process. And Dr. Porter made us work hard. We took quite a few inventories to develop just better leadership skills, better understanding of who we are as leaders, and how to work collaboratively with the staff that we are given.

And during this process, like I said, we took a lot of inventories that really challenged our thinking, challenged our mindset. And he actually walked the walk with us. So when you hit a trouble spot, you can email him and he would instantly get back to you with some feedback and help you with whatever troubleshooting you needed at the time. So the support that we got from not only destiny during the IDEAL program, but also the support and knowledge that Dr. Porter shared with us was invaluable.

M'liss Patterson: And then the collaboration. And I think I'm sitting here today just being with Tustin Adult School, it's been great to develop that collegial professional friendship and knowing that someone who is just 20 minutes down the road. Being able to think through those things under the support and guidance of Susan as our coach with these two Orange County teams has just been great.

But there's also that collaboration beyond. Getting to sit-in the DLAC courses and we hear what people are saying when we go into breakout rooms. So just a real sense of everybody is really wanting to see the best and hope for the best for all of your programs. And then the reflection questions on practice really are the things that resonate and help me especially as the administrator and new administrator on this, just really reflecting on the practices and how we can keep moving forward.

Alisa Takeuchi: I think that the ideas that have come from this whole process has really resonated with all of us in that there is no judgment. It's like a judgment free zone. Whatever we put out there just to put out there-- because this is so different from everybody because of the situation we're in with the pandemic, we really had to rethink all of our goals and our programs to fit right now instead of maybe in the future.

And I think with the help with Susan as our coach and Dr. Porter to really help us build these strengths within ourselves, and then to help us acknowledge that for other people for our team leader, for our teams at our own agencies really helped. And again, just to touch point, we were really lucky enough to have a place where other agencies are putting in the same ideas going can we do the exact or that exactly happened to us, or we're doing that exact same thing. Let's talk about it.

And so the ideas are just really free flowing and that was really nice. The structure of the program has its modular, so you really can go back to module 1 or chapter 1 and go back to the beginning part of it. What is your big picture, what are you looking at?

And then you go back to orientation and screening. And you go through those different steps again now, three months from, now one year from now. And you're able to go back and look at those ideas that you had and maybe change them or say, oh, I had totally forgotten about that. So that's been really helpful for us.

Will Neddersen: I think when you think of self-assessment, I hear Laura talk about the inventories that we did. This is a part of that component of self-assessment. But even in those modules, there were discussion bullet points. And sometimes we think our discussion board is just to put your though or an exchange.

But it really became a reflective component on each of those areas of focus for the modules that you got to think about your own program, how you would operate if you were an administrator or if you were a teacher. What did you do or how do you see that and then reflect with others and to be able to go back and forth. So it let you put it out your thought process.

And then that idea of professional development. So you've heard about the IDEAL course itself, but I've brought in at different times when we've met an approach to even looking at being able to support leadership tough conversations, building the leadership of those around you, a collaborative team all those pieces and really encouraging us as a team to bring that back to our own sites to empower the rest of our staff with us in this journey. So again, lots of different things come to mind when you think about the benefits of DLAC.

Susan Coulter: What are your next steps to meeting your goals?

Alisa Takeuchi: So I think for Garden Grove, we are going to continue with our recruitment and our marketing. I'm going to go through the orientation and really kind of reflect back on what I've done so far and the changes that I need to make to move forward. And in addition to create the orientation for in-class students, we are continuing with tech support, what does that mean for us, how are we going to get it, who is it going to come from.

And then for our students too, will we continue with device checkouts? Will we be able to expand upon that? Will we be able to do other things with our textbooks? So we are always going to be moving forward into how can we best support our students to make them as successful as possible.

Will Neddersen: So for Tustin Adult School, recruitment is big for us. If we want a school, we have to have students come in. So how are we going to recruit to get people in. And with that recruitment comes the idea of marketing. How do I let students know that we're back in person and as well having distance learning for those that want to continue on. So it's that sense of being able to recruit with an understanding of what our program can offer.

And then when students are coming in, being able to screen them. We've gone through a process of putting up the screener that has basic questions for us. But continuing to say all right, where do we take that. And you heard me talk about the workshop. And then that idea of the orientation is sometimes just that workshop need to be a part of the orientation. Can we determine that ahead of time and adding a half hour to an hour of orientation workshop component. So that's something that we're going to still be refining as we look at it.

And then it's still the idea of technology integration. I love to say that we've been successful online, and I want to say that clearly. We've been successful but we know we want to go a little bit deeper, have our students really being able to develop their learning and their use of technology. But that comes also with supporting teachers and building their tech integration skills as well.

And then again, the access point. Allowing students the opportunity to check out devices like Alisa was saying for Garden Grove, that we want to continue to build that. We've been fortunate to receive funds to start checking that out a little bit more so building that as well. So those are those next steps for Tustin.

Susan Coulter: How have you been supported during the program?

M'liss Patterson: Well, you can see these are the many faces and the many supporters of each of us in the DLAC program. And while Susan is our specific coach, there are several coaches and they are all in the program and they're sharing. And we know that we can reach out to them. And we at times are in breakout rooms with different individuals that are being coached by some of these.

And then of course, Penny and Neda, boy, they just do a great job opening up every session. They organize. They're really the backbone of every time we come together and have our meetings. And then Anthony of course, he works very hard behind the scenes and keeps us organized as well as Marjorie. So we just-- every angle there's someone you need help with, you know that each of these individuals are there for us.

Susan Coulter: What time commitments have you made to be part of DLAC?

Will Neddersen: So I think you heard me discuss the concern of coming into DLAC and IDEAL 101 and whoa, what is this going to be like. But it really, to be honest with you, is there are set days that OTAN is set up for the DLAC to meet, that we come in and meet together. There have been half days. I understand it's shifted a little bit from what DLAC was prior because of COVID times. Then there's been a couple of in days as well.

And then for Laura and I as a team, it really was that accountability measure to say you know what, we do want to invest, so it was once a week to just get the assignments done. So we know we were on time but I think it was a great blue sky session if I can call it that. I am seeing all the blue in front of us. But you know, what are these ideas that we want to see for our school and being able to process through them.

So sometimes it have to be, oh, we've totally talked longer than that but it's typically was that once a week check-in. I don't know anyone else felt that way. But hearing the chuckle it sounds like yeah, it's those moments. But that once a week check-in I would be honest with you, and even if it's not through DLAC specifically if anybody here is like I'm not sure if I want DLAC or those of you that have been a part of the DLAC, still that need for check-in to be reflective and blue sky to dream.

Susan Coulter: All right. OK. We want to thank everyone for joining us today. I do want to put in the evaluation link, but let's open it up for questions. Please feel free to use your mic. Join in, ask your question and link-up. No questions? No comments?

Cathleen Peterson: I got a question.

Susan Coulter: OK.

Cathleen Peterson: It's Cathleen Peterson. How long is the commitment for? Was a cohort one year, or is it more than that? Two years? OK.

Alisa Takeuchi: Two years. Yeah. So our project will be finished in the spring of 2022. So the first year is basically going through the IDEAL program, getting to know Dr. Porter and helping us with our leaderships. And then the second-- and then kind of recognizing our goals, what is it that we want to do. And then the second year is more like the implementation of the goals. And so now it's like all the thoughts that we've had how are we actually going to put them into action.

Cathleen Peterson: Good.

Susan Coulter: Thanks for the question, Cathleen.

Cathleen Peterson: You're welcome.


I didn't really know, so.


Will Neddersen: I think that even-- I know the project is two years but I think it's setting up a new normal is why I hope that we are reflective on that blended learning plan or distance learning plan. I mean really having that dialogue constantly. I know it always, in the back of my mind or we would talk about it. But we would let other fires burn that we needed to put out first. But if we can just-- hearing from Tustin's inside of it that integration of it, I'm excited to see what that future is for our school as well.

M'liss Patterson: I think what I really appreciate about it is it's hard sometimes even though you want to designate time to really sit down and reflect on your program and how do you really want it to grow. And I think it's sort of given us permission since it's almost, it is a requirement, right? But it just gives us that permission like this is priceless time when Alisa and I sit down together and work through whether it was the IDEAL 101 or whether it is just looking at what are our project is going to be.

And then also too, when we have those days and times together it's just so rich, and you come away-- I know it's just such a good feeling after everyone you're-- it's kind of you're rejuvenated and it's like whether there is this time and purpose. So I really appreciate that that's what the DLAC program has done.

Will Neddersen: I think it's also built that sense of networking too because you think just comparing that 20 minutes away from each other, you know, all right, when they're back in person, how do I get to see them. But there's even programs for the past us that have similarities outside of our own county and even in northern California. They're like, oh, I wonder and hearing about past DLAC projects that the cohorts before us because I think we're the third cohort and hearing what they've done. It's like oh, I do want to look at them as well and see what's going on. So you you've got a network to reach out to and really tap into.

Susan Coulter: And I'm very impressed the way Tustin and Garden Grove have come together as one. I mean, they have been working side by side. We've been needing to work on this presentation and they are one. They are not two separate schools. They are collaborating and oh, we did this. And oh, yeah, that was important.

So it's a great sense of networking. I liked it better when we could go face to face. So Marci it was-- I mean, you got to know everyone. And by the end of two years, I knew that we had to stop to get soda for Kevin and the little things that you don't even think about. But if you had a problem you asked somebody, you know. Hey, what did you guys do about that, what's your school doing? And it's just amazing the networks. And these people become your friends for life.

Will Neddersen: Well, and Susan, I appreciate that you talk about the connection. Because even comparison-wise, Garden Grove is significantly larger than us. Just the district itself covers a larger amount of land. But just the size but even in that, there's not been an intimidation of it but more that mutual dialogue and conversation, which it's just really been empowering to understand. Hey, I can ask these questions of people because sometimes you wonder as a small agency, can we help support somebody else because we know those large agencies.

We know those large agencies can support us. We can see this and this from it, but how do we get back together. I think that's pretty awesome.

Marci: I think if I-- I have a question. I don't really know if there's an answer but I was trying to encourage one of my friends that's in admin at a pretty small adult school. And she just was-- to apply for DLAC. I was like it was so great for us, it was a game changing and it really-- I feel like it taught us the template or the skills to grow in other ways too.

So now we know that from the IDEAL 101 like we know we need to assess where we're at before we start anything. We need to have a plan not just jump in. But my question is, what advice or what would you say to a school is-- I don't know your history, I came in just a tiny bit late. But I feel like-- what would you say to a school that says we don't have the funding or we're too small or we can't assign someone to this project right now.

They don't have enough hours or we don't-- like they don't have the bandwidth. Whether it be like funding, or staffing, or whatever. And Susan, you've been through this a little bit. You might have a better answer. When my friend said that, I was like, well, just look into it is like the most-- it's money well spent. But in the end I didn't know what really to say.

Will Neddersen: So Marci, I think I'll take it from the small school perspective and then maybe Susan you can add and again Garden Grove as well and Laura, please contribute as well. But I think the conversation with Laura was understanding, OK, I need to, as an administrator, understand that I'm going to allocate time to Laura to build in this. And at the time she was in our lead position that's why I felt like I could do some of that with her leadership hours.

But then even in that, I think the conversation ahead of time for Laura and I was and I'm-- Susan, I hope you don't get upset as I say this, but it was like, all right, Laura, we're going to apply. We're going to see what's being offered. But if either one of us feel overwhelmed as a small agency, I as administrator I'm going to come back to the DLAC team and say, hey, we took a bite bigger than we thought.

And I think Laura, we-- at one point we both looked at each other and said yeah, this is actually manageable and doable. I think some of it is taking the steps but understanding that you are going to allocate some time to it. So I had to be able to understand in Laura's leadership role as the lead teacher, you're going to notice there's not a large amount of other teachers with us, so we started small.

I regret that now. I think Virginia is still here with us. She's one of our lead another lead teacher. I wish I had brought more teachers on. But again, I do get the side of the budget, but I think it's the small step. And I think DLAC empowered us to say even as a small agency your small steps are going to make leaps and bounds different for your students. So it's the encouragement of the small step. I think as you encourage just apply or do, that's what I would say.

Susan Coulter: I just wanted to add, Marci, that we applied when we only had CAEP funding. OK. So we didn't even have a guarantee of WIOA funding at the time that we applied. So we were really nervous. We were nervous about the time commitment, we were nervous about how we were going to allocate hours, all those things. And also being a very small school in a big ocean of big agencies, right?

But we were never made to feel like, oh, you're just that tiny little school. In Orange County, we found other schools in Northern Cal, other areas that are just as small as us that are doing the exact same thing that we are. So just I would go back to your front and say, you will find someone that is a mirror image of you. You get support from everyone like how we found our Garden Grove best friends over here. But you also get support from smaller agencies as well.

Will Neddersen: And Marci, if your friend or anybody who's out there, friend needs to talk to a fellow administrator of a small adult school, please, please give us a call. We'll talk and be realistic with them. Because I think we all understand it's small groups do mighty things though, so.

Marci: Yeah, that's right. It'll be for round four.

Susan Coulter: Yeah. And I want to answer Margaret's question about collaborating together. As a group, the entire DLAC team not just these two groups, but every-- I think it's about every month, we all get together. And everyone kind of reports to the rest of the group, what they're working on and what they're doing, and how things are going. And there's a lot of input there as far as, you know, we did this and oh, OK, maybe I'll try that.

So there is a lot of collaboration there. And these two teams, these two agencies, they happen to be the ones I'm responsible for. So I'm their coach for both of them. And so we've kind of been working together.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah, and just to touch up on that too, I think that we were just very fortunate that geographically we're very close because it's a hit or miss where your teams are coming from depending on who applies and who is accepted. So just to have them geographically close to us we have a lot of similarities that we can relate to as far as maybe populations of our students and things like that maybe. So I think that helped us to really be able to collaborate well on some aspects.

Susan Coulter: OK. Do we have any more questions?

Will Neddersen: No, Ray, it's not. The DLAC for OTAN for adult Ed is the Digital Leadership Academy, where DLAC is representing your district language two separate entities. One is a digital aspect, the other is trying to look at your English language learner.

Susan Coulter: And OTAN has kind of changed over the years. It used to be TMAC, which was technology integration academy. And then we went to online, which was OTAC, online teaching academy. And now we've gone to DLAC because it's a combination of both TMAC and OTAC. So it's something new, but it's the Digital Leadership Academy.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah. And for those that are not familiar with what it is, the whole project or the whole program is basically really just taking an account of your program and saying how is it that you want to integrate technology into your programs and what does that mean and who's going to be involved. And it really helps you to break it down into little pieces and who needs to be involved with this.

How much money is it going to take? Where are the funds going to come from? How will you work with the teachers and your staff in your agency? And they really help you step by step to go through not only just the digital part of it, like these are our goals, but then how do you become a leader to make an impact on your program, to help the other staff members to jump on board with you on this.

Susan Coulter: Can you use it for WASC? I think yeah. You could write-- I mean if you did a project as far as your WASC that could be written in, so.

Alisa Takeuchi: No, it's a good question. And our SIP.

M'liss Patterson: Right. This happens to be our WASC year. And definitely, I believe that quite a bit of what we've learned in the IDEAL 101 and then through DLAC will definitely guide the writing of our WASC document.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah, I'm not sure if Marci, with your team or your agency went through this. But from M'Liss and I, when we first started, and we started reading chapter 1, I mean, we literally had a list of about 15 goals that we wanted to get rid of. And they were very short term goals or things that we needed to get done right away. We couldn't see the next year. We didn't understand like this implementation of a pilot in the future. Because we needed to get a lot of other things done first.

And so then as-- so even though they may not be part of our DLAC project, we got a lot of things off of our list. Check, check, check. The orientation, and the screening, and things. And those weren't even on our radar at the beginning and they became part of our list. And I'm not sure. If Marci if that happened with you guys or if you had you what your one goal was going to be. And I think the goals changed us from the time that we applied to the time we got accepted, those goals also changed because we knew we were going to go into a new school year not going back to school. And so that was a big game changer for us as well.

Marci: Yeah. Absolutely for us our goals totally morphed. They changed and we were able to accomplish a few like side goals. And then we really adapted our goal as we went along. And isn't that kind of what the improvement cycle is about. It's kind of you test out and then you adjust that aim a little bit as you need to.

And then as far as WASC goes, we just finished WASC. And we were there first virtual or online visit, which was kind of crazy if you guys need any help.


One of our action items is increased digital literacy and technology in our school. And so absolutely you have an action item that's kind of vague and focused on increasing digital growth. And then it's really great because you can talk about DLAC a ton. That was really good.

Alisa Takeuchi: Yeah,that's smart to make it very vague. Like you cover a lot of ground.