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Speaker: OTAN-- Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.

Bijal Varia: OK. Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Bijal Varia from Santa Clara Adult Education. And I'm here to present the DLAC final report. I am a teacher on special assignment who is in charge of curriculum, EL Civics, and professional development and now the sole member participating in the DLAC program from Santa Clara.

Meet Patricia Pottorff Croghan, who is now the principal of Silicon Valley Adult Education-- woo hoo, Patricia-- and my partner in the DLAC project. And all the hard work and all the sweat that has gone behind this project is because of Patricia and because of our team. Let's just put it that way.

I would like to extend my gratitude to OTAN DLAC team members, Francisca Wentworth-- our coach-- Destiny Simpson, Neda Anasseri, Penny Pearson, Dr. Paul Porter, and our super teams, collaborative team Campbell and Pittsburg. Since March 2020, all areas of our school have been digitalized.

DLAC has led our team and our school to begin and continue, iterate, innovate, reflect, execute, and exude immense tenacity in the face of great uncertainty. DLAC team and their school collaborations have guided and challenged us to graft out a focused and a strategic plan for our ESL team-- and hence, our school. Our team vision started backwards. We were thrown into distance education overnight.

We had an immediate challenge of switching a face-to-face program into a workable, flexible, living program, if you will. Just when we needed the help-- the most help, if I should say-- the DLAC team was at our side. Our mentor, Francisca, and other DLAC teams, especially CACE and Pittsburg, supported each other. And the collaborations were literally of the cutting edge 21st-century education.

Although it has been exciting, it has not been without challenges. The DLAC program has opened doors to us regarding what a state-of-art cutting edge learning environment looks like and guided us in this direction, from holding our hands to pushing us out of our comfort zone. So thank you for that.

The mission of Santa Clara Adult Education is to empower adults of all ages and abilities to succeed in an ever-changing world. These are our school totals in 2019-2020 pre-pandemic. We had 760 ESL students.

2020-2021, 590 ESL students, core into the pandemic. We are currently serving 3,250 students with 12,290 registrations in total. ESL program totals are 4,019 registrations and 1,120 students.

Our ESL vision has been to implement a strong, sustainable, and a progressive blended learning program that is student-centered and outcome-driven. Technology at SCAE is now an integral component in all of the school's endeavors. The DLAC team has designed, created, and implemented best practices in creating distance learning program as well as blended learning program.

We started off with two models-- simplify and solidify, slow and steady. The reason we used these models is, when we join DLAC, we were extremely excited. We also had our minds running and racing in all the directions. But then one day, we kind of sat back. And we said, what is realistic?

Anything which is simple is solid. And it's workable. And it is achievable. So we set realistic goals. We started off with making 10 goals to implement and cut them down to just three.

So we developed and implemented a blended classroom; integrate a scaffolded tech strand into the curriculum; design and implement teacher PD focus on strength-based teaching and learning. And thank you, Dr. Porter. Because of you, we could do that.

We also created a transitional timeline just for our own sake just to see where we started and where we are at now. So in 2019 and '20, we were in a traditional classroom, limited technology, using books, paper, pens. During the pandemic, everybody went online. And so did we. So the whiteboards, the Zoom rooms, everything replaced a classroom.

Now 2021 and 2022, we're back in the classroom. We piloted a HyFlex hybrid transition to the class. And we implemented a very strategic, simple, but a strong plan to have students back in the classroom and using blended learning strategy.

We also had some accomplishments. And something that we're really proud of, main areas were material development, acquisitions, fiscal resource redistribution, and strength-based school. Materials-- in terms of materials, we have now tech skill readiness, whether it's students or teachers, tech student mobile device checkout, student contract for ESL classes, goals and objectives for students.

And those goals and objectives are also tech goals and objectives. Alignment of technology skills taught by all the ESL levels; staff and student surveys; tech skills, pre and post; EL civics testing forms and materials; online learning student readiness surveys; online registration process for students; and ESL blended learning education need student survey.

Acquisitions-- laptops for classroom/student check-out and interactive projectors for each classroom, teacher laptops and teaching stations, web camera, PCs, monitors, headphones, Canvas pilot and a HyFlex pilot. And I would also like to say that now we have a teacher ready in the school who can troubleshoot problems for all the other levels if we ever want to implement a HyFlex or a hybrid program or distance learning across the school.

So that's one of them, too. Acquired skills-- personal-- I just mentioned part of that skill is personal, too. I had no clue that I'll be the technology person of my school. Because I could not even print a paper. It's true. But look what I've become now. And I'm really proud of that.

My team looks up to me. They seek out to me if they need any help. And I feel really, really grateful to be there and to be able to extend whatever little knowledge I have acquired and share the best teaching practices. Focused strategic planning, strength-based leadership skills, communication skills, and accessibility skills.

Believe me or not, my language has changed now. I'm using a lot of technological terms which I wasn't even aware of before. So that's a great, great learning for me. Team building-- I think this is great.

We have 1 and 1/2 hours of collaboration time every week assigned to our staff, all the teachers and myself leading the collaborative meetings where we get together and plan the next steps for the next day, next week, next month, or next event. And I think that's where all the strengths are being used. Teachers are encouraged to demonstrate their strengths. Empowering team to take ownership of the climate of the team. And the climate of our school has changed.

Because everybody now has a voice. Everybody now has an opinion. And I think it makes a great difference. That's where the skills-- that's where the feeling of ownership comes from. Active listening and respect, ESL news bulletin to promote an effective, timely communication, weekly ESL meetings to plan the next steps collaboratively and cohesively, and meeting norms throughout the school.

On our agenda every week, we post a quote. And this practice was introduced to us by Patricia. She would always put a quote. And we would always start our meetings with the quotes. Conflict resolution, active listening, addressing conflict, addressing challenges, assume positive intention, phrasing, active listening, body language-- everything changed.

We've now become pretty transparent. Strategic thinking-- we're executing and influencing weekly update on sharing best teaching practices on focused skills, the four main skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Relationship building with students, teachers, and other members of the school, and then utilizing individual and team strengths.

Challenges-- time has always been a challenge. Student connection was a challenge. I think we're getting better and better at it now. Balance between blended learning and traditional classrooms-- some teachers still kind of contemplate the old way of teaching.

But it's OK. We're getting there. Skill level in technology, fear of new-- there is always a fear of unknown. What's going to happen next? Equity, accessibility, the changed curriculum-- blended learning now is the way forward.

Physical resources, professional development-- every teacher has an opportunity, material development. They also have an input in developing resources, and plans, and materials for the school. This is our curriculum. And we implemented Canvas. And when we also piloted HyFlex-- and we piloted the program only for a term, fall of 2021.

Because we wanted to see if we were ready to implement it across the school. So simplify. Solidify. Start with one level. Stop there. Troubleshoot. And then move on. Professional development-- all of our teachers had the opportunity to go through all of these materials, surveys, multiple surveys.

Thank you for all of yours collaboration. We learned a lot from all of you all, too. And we developed a nice website. It has translation and accessibility tools and online registration process. Implementation from now on is going to be orientation with basic computer literacy, recruitment of students, hiring ESL teacher with technical skills, strategic goal alignment.

Maybe in the future, we may pilot a distance learning class or a HyFlex across the board. We don't know yet. We're still in the process of planning. Consideration-- we're collecting data to find out what are the needs of our students. And how can we meet all their needs with equity?

Digital Leadership has assisted us in defining the online distance program. And that was implemented really quickly in the pandemic. Right now, we have put a hold on it. We're still getting our heads together and seeing if we want to take this forward. But blended learning is definitely going to be the way forward.

And last but not the least, as a proud DLAC'er, I would definitely like to mention this. It is very important to have people in the organization with diversity and competencies. And nowadays, digital competencies-- and not only in the bits and the bytes. I don't understand bits and the bytes. But to understand how we lead an organization through this digital transformation, that's what I learned-- how to lead it.

Participating in DLAC has led me to better understand what I do to realize the school goals, learner goals, and my personal goals. I use what I learn in my day-to-day situation both with my students and staff, which helps both students and teachers achieve the learning outcomes. So a heartfelt thank you comes to all of you all for making me a proud DLAC'er. I am going back with that bag full of knowledge. So thank you, everybody.