OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Melissa Baumunk: Hello, everyone. We are Rowland Adult and Community Education, otherwise known as RACE. And we'd like you to come with us for a quick little trip to the home of the Rowland DLAC team.
Yes, welcome to the home of RACE.
There we go. Right? We're kind of fancy. OK, next slide, please.
Janet Hernandez: All right, well, hello, I'm Janet Hernandez. I'm an ESL teacher and Rowland's DLAC team lead. We would like to introduce ourselves sharing our top strength that we discovered through Dr. Porter's team building sessions. Knowing each other's strength has helped us to be a better team. So thank you Dr. Porter.
My top strength is individualization. I can appreciate each person's unique qualities and assemble a dream team to work together productively.
Melissa Baumunk: Very good. So hello, I'm Melissa Baumunk. I am a former ESL teacher at RACE, currently the ESL program coordinator. And my top strength is strategic. So I can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues and create alternative ways to proceed. And that actually ended up being a skill I used all year this year as year two because we did a lot of pivoting, and we needed to find a lot of alternative ways to proceed.
Karen Neville: And I'm Karen Neville. I am an ESL teacher. My strength is context. And with that, I bring historical perspective to my team's work.
Janet Hernandez: And we also want to introduce our DLAC coach, Susan. Her positivity has a contagious enthusiasm. She's upbeat, and she got us excited with the work ahead. With so much uncertainty surrounding our school for the last two years, Susan has been that light that we needed. So thank you, Susan.
Susan Gaer: Thank you.
Melissa Baumunk: So if you all remember our presentation from last year, because I'm sure you do, this is where we ended. We ended with our next steps for year two. And these are the things we had identified moving forward what we would work on. So we're going to guide you through these steps in today's presentation and our progress through each of these steps.
So as we progress through the slides, you'll see one of these boxes on the upper left corner. So you'll know which one we are addressing, keeping in mind that these next steps were very laser focused specifically on an online course at RACE. We did return to in-person classes at RACE while still offering online classes. But Janet and I, although we created the site plan, we're not selected to teach any of the online courses. So that's why we had that pivot. But we still made it through year two.
Karen Neville: The pandemic has impelled us to begin to rethink how we will use technology to deliver instruction more often and better as the digital divide hopefully narrows for adult learners in post-pandemic years. We have, in 2021 fall, we came back with online and in-person classes.
On the left is a picture of one of our instructors, Natalia. She's teaching in a classroom using an online resource to teach pronunciation. On the right, we see a screenshot of Janet's class. And in the lower corner there, a student is actually instructing another student on how to access Janet's website.
Moving into year '21, changes within our adult school changed the ways we could approach and execute our original site plan. Rowland leadership focused resources and professional development toward integrating technology into both online and in-person classes.
Janet Hernandez: So RACE returned to in-person classes in fall of 2021 with COVID safety protocols in place. This is my morning class. And so I wanted to point out to Will especially, there's my 92-year-old student.
And so we pivoted from, again, what our original goal, which was an online, sustainable course, to technology integration. And that became our main focus. So how did our participation and in DLAC affect our in-person classes? Prior to DLAC, we had adopted a new program or a new text called step forward. And so DLACs emphasis on digital literacy really pushed us to provide relevant training to our teachers on how to use those online resources from that new textbook.
Also, through the CARES, I think it's called the CARES Act, our district all teachers got district issued math books. And again, OTAN supplied training for us on how to work those MacBooks, right?
And again, OTAN is continuing with training for all the teachers to create a Google site. So we've really reached out to OTAN, and they've helped us tremendously, especially when we've been in the DLAC program.
So finally, what's happened is there's a gradual culture of change at our school. Technology integration is being embraced school-wide. And the DLAC team feels that, because of our participation in this program, our growth mindset is really taking place at our school. So again, we want to thank OTAN and the well-established DLAC program that you guys have provided.
Karen Neville: So here you see a screenshot of my evening online class, and I'm very proud of my students. So as I mentioned, we offered both online and in-person. And we found the online option to be very popular. And so we decided, maybe we need to look at this a little bit closer. So we compared in-person online courses, and we looked at ways that we could build in consistency and structure so our program would look equal, right?
So in monthly ESL teacher meetings, teachers shared best practices to teach EL Civics units virtually. We planned for online students to come into the campus to take the CASAS test, so that way they would actually connect with the physical school. We wanted to provide a consistent learning experience for all learners regardless of their mode of attendance to class.
Janet Hernandez: The second year of DLAC gave us a time to reflect. Both Karen, the online teacher, and myself, the in-person teacher learned a lot from each other. And so we decided to make this our focus for the TDLS 2022. From our weekly meetings, we had a lot of conversations, and we identified common concerns and advantages for both platforms.
So we had created a Venn diagram to organize these thoughts. And in those conversations we talked about how to adapt those traditional classroom teaching strategies to online lessons. In addition to year two, the ideal 102 course was very beneficial to us because we used, or we created, an online resource list and a rubric that we share with the ESL teachers.
So I want to say thank you to Destiny. Because of that course, we created these resources that we now get to share with our teachers.
Melissa Baumunk: So at the end of year one four DLAC, we had applied for a FORUS grant, which was available within our school district. And we're anxiously awaiting to hear if we were awarded that. We were, in fact, awarded a FORUS grant. We used those funds to purchase-- we got enough funds to purchase only five Chromebooks, but five is better than zero.
The original purpose of those Chromebooks was to loan to our online students because we were fully online at the time. We, again, changed that goal to provide digital access to our in-person students. So these are housed in a classroom for students to use. And it just goes in support of our work for this year, is to increase that access to technology to both online and in-person students.
Additionally, one of our next steps was to create teacher YouTube channels, which ended up being quite a lofty goal.
Janet Hernandez: It sounds great, right?
Melissa Baumunk: So we pivoted and said, let's instead really highlight and showcase the RACE YouTube channel that we already have created. So the person who created our video presentation last year, creates videos for us just on an ongoing basis and has curated those into a channel, different playlists, et cetera. And so we figured we're just going to highlight that.
We have the direction video, like you saw at the beginning, to all of our locations. So when a new student registers, we have QR codes. They scan it, and they can see where to go for their class. So that's one thing we've started doing. Our spotlight videos are translated, not audio wise but in subtitles, into Spanish and Chinese.
So we'll show you just a quick clip. That's our ESL coordinator, Gayle. You're not going to hear it because you're in person. Our assistant principal, yes. But if you'll notice, it has the subtitles so we can share those with students, and they can read along in their home language.
Janet Hernandez: It's really great.
Melissa Baumunk: And they're actually translated. We have district translators, so they are official, accurate translations that we get for those videos.
Janet Hernandez: So going back to ideal 101, the theme of pivoting really dominated our second year. The original goal of creating that online, sustainable course no longer seemed appropriate. So we looked at our site plan, and we're like, it's not going to go to waste. We worked so hard on this.
So we continuously use this original site plan to guide and refer to, especially now that we're going to do the orientation and create that program or a couple of classes of orientation, and we'll just continuously look at this site plan that we created. It remains fluid, and it's a great resource for us, especially as we continue going into that technology integration.
Karen Neville: So for recruitment, we at Rowland find that our best recruitment tool is word of mouth. So moving into advertising, we have an amazing office staff, and they are so tech savvy. And I want to just tell you some of the things they've set up.
They've set up-- let's see. We have websites, YouTube, social media, QR codes for easy access. They update with content and announcements on a regular basis. Social media has become an integral part of our program rather than just a second thought.
Also, the postcards that we send out to students, they also go to our district translator so they're grammatically correct and accurate for our second language learners.
Melissa Baumunk: And as we mentioned before, well, our original goal next step was to create teacher Weebly websites because that's what we were using last year. But we pivoted into Google Sites, and our ESL teachers have been participating all year long on a Google Site workshop with the fabulous Melinda. She comes to our monthly meetings and guides our teachers through creating these Google Sites with the goal of having them ready to roll out by fall of this next school year, yes.
Janet Hernandez: So in our original plan, we had decided we wanted to streamline registration for online students. And so Melissa and I had this great idea. Well, we'll create a survey, and we were really proud of this survey because there's only two questions on there.
But if you notice down below there's a little note for the office, and it says, if students provide-- they must provide an email address, and if they answer yes to question one and yes to any other choice on question two, then they may enroll in an online course.
And we looked at this and we're like, oh, no. That's just ridiculous. So we quickly realized that we don't need an extra piece of paper. The office staff that you see pictured are awesome. They help every student that comes in. They're friendly, and they have that human contact that they enjoy. And they take care of that for us. We don't have to supply an extra piece of paper for them. So thank you to the RACE staff.
Melissa Baumunk: And finally, orientation. We're doing one orientation for in-person students and Zoom students. It's in the works. We have a committee working this summer to get that planned. Again, we want our online students to know there is still that expectation of coming to campus for orientation, for registration, for monthly CASAS. Although we're moving to e-testing, it's in-person e-testing, not remote e-testing.
Cover important information in our handbooks to get that information to our students. So that registration process will become more streamlined for the upcoming school year.
Karen Neville: Participation in DLAC increased awareness of our strengths, opportunities, and challenges. School closures due to COVID forced us to connect and teach using online platforms. Creating a site plan guided us to include a sustainable, online course. This two-year journey taught us how to pivot and find the opportunities in difficult situations. It helped us recognize the needs of our school.
Janet Hernandez: We would like to dedicate our experience with DLAC to Rocky Bettar.