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             A publication of the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center                                                     Fall 2004
                                                                                                                              Vol. 17, No. 1

                                                                                            In This Issue: Retention
                                                                                            1    Retention Strategies
                                                                                            3    Click: On Spam & Spyware
                                                                                            4    15 Grant Writing Tips
                                                                                            5    VLI Wins Early Reading
                                                                                                 First Grant
                                                                                            6    Program Managers’ Mtg.
                                                                                            8    Please, May I, Thank You
                                                                                            11   Fast Food to Fast Track
                                                                                            12   Festival of Cultures
                                                                                            13   Applause for VA ESOL

Seat Time:Strategies
                                                                                            13   VA Businesses Support
                                                                                                 Race to GED
                                                                                            14   Unemployment Check Ads
Using Research-Based                                                                        14   New VALRC Employees
to Improve Retention                                                                        15   Book Review
                                                                                            Back Community Commitment

         here they are – staring at you.      are pulled in myriad different directions.
         Well, a few are staring at you.      Their presence in your class is admirable.   where students view the relationship less
         Two in the back are having a         Given time and work, we know most of         as a student/teacher dyad and more as a
conversation, apparently oblivious to         them could make substantial strides to-      partnership. Responsibility for harbor-
your presence. One, over on the left          ward passing the GED exam. The key is        ing such an attitude falls squarely on the
side of the room, is staring out the win-     to keep them coming back, to keep them       teachers’ shoulders.
dow. One in the front row is not really       in the seats and on track. How? To an-            “The right teacher is a key to the suc-
staring so much as glaring at you. The        swer that question, Progress spoke with      cess of the program,” Shelia Harper of
rest are looking down at their books or       program managers around the state and        Southside Virginia Community College
scribbling in notebooks, though you’ve        consulted the latest information avail-      stated. “Look for a teacher who is fair,
said nothing yet and have not handed          able concerning adult student retention.     consistent, trustworthy, patient, orga-
out any forms for them to fill out. There      Practice and theory agreed in this case.     nized and prepared, flexible, a good lis-
they are: your charges for the next sev-           What became clear is that successful    tener, adept at skills, and a person who is
eral weeks. You recognize a few familiar      programs are using strategies confirmed       also engaged in lifelong learning.” That’s
faces; most are new. If national statistics   to be effective by nationally recognized      a tall order, no doubt. But Harper ac-
hold true, a few of them won’t be around      experts on adult education. Interviews       knowledges that managers and lead teach-
long enough for you to develop much of        with several managers supported the          ers are often responsible for harboring
a lasting impression of them, nor they        findings of an NCSALL research team           such characteristics in their instructors.
of you. As you know, these students are       led by John Comings. That team found         Such instructors can serve as role-mod-
hard to keep around.                          that four factors are critical to ensuring   els to students who have to juggle mul-
     While recruitment is the first step       that students stay in your program and       tiple, often conflicting, responsibilities.
toward reaching the Governor’s goal, it       make the advancements necessary to           This speaks to the first factor identified
is retention that is the most important,      their success and your reporting figures      by Comings’ team: students need to be
and perhaps the most difficult, facet of        (see sidebar, page 10).                      aware of the positive and negative forces
the Race to GED. You’re a good teacher             Many of the respondent’s comments       affecting their schooling. Identifying
in a good program with supportive staff        point to a basic thesis that suggests it     those factors is the first step to managing
and solid resources. But your students        is important to create an environment                           Continued on page 10 ...
PROGRESS                                        A Few Words on Progress
Progress is published by:                          t is astonishing how much has occurred in 12 short
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
                                                   months. Last fall, the program year started with a focus
1015 West Main Street                              on assessment and accountability. Then, we entered the
P.O. Box 842020                                 Race to GED, and we haven’t stopped since.
Richmond, VA 23284-2020                              Special recognition must go to the Fast Track GED pilot sites.
                                                Dr. Yvonne Thayer recognized these programs and the ten new
Permission is granted to reproduce articles     sites at the statewide program managers’ meeting in August (see
from this newsletter. Please credit the         page 6). Dr. Thayer also recognized the important contributions of
author and Progress.                            two program managers who have helped shape the Race to GED
                                                promotional campaign: Sue O’Connor, Henrico County Adult
Subscriptions are free to Virginia residents.
                                                Education, and Dale Temple, Southside Programs for Adult and
To subscribe, contact the
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center         Continuing Education. Congratulations to all of these programs,          November
at:                                             their managers, and staffs for leading the Race to GED.                   2-6
(800) 237-0178                                       This fall, regional workshops on Fast Track GED will help               AAACE Conf.
(804) 828-6521
                                                programs refine their instructional offerings. As of this print-               Louisville, KY
                                                ing, over 100 adult educators have participated in the Fast Track        7-9
Submissions and letters to the editor are       training with two additional workshops yet to be held. While                 Intl. Reading Assn.
welcome. Contact:                               the Race to GED has put GED instruction in the forefront of                  Southeast Conf.
Randall Stamper,                                our minds, we know that instruction is only one aspect of a suc-             Savannah, GA
Progress Editor, at:
(804) 828-6521 or
                                                cessful adult education or literacy program. A major part of the         11-13
(800) 237-0178.                                 program managers’ meeting agenda was devoted to marketing                    Reading Recovery &
We reserve the right to decline publication.    and customer service. VALRC will follow up in November and                   Comprehensive
                                                December with a series of regional customer service workshops                Literacy Conf.
Director of Adult Education and Literacy
                                                geared for managers and support staff. In the spring, VALRC will              Baltimore, MD
Yvonne Thayer, Ed.D.
                                                debut a new regional workshop designed to help teachers im-
VALRC Manager                                   prove their skills in combining assessment results, student goals,       December
Barbara E. Gibson                               program goals, and instructional materials for effective classroom        1-4
                                                instruction.                                                                 Ntl. Reading Conf.
Editorial Team
                                                     This issue of Progress contains two articles related to student         San Antonio, TX
Randall Stamper                                 retention, an important factor in attaining desired outcomes in          2-3
                                                all instructional programs. Randy Stamper highlights some cur-               ProLiteracy America
Designer                                        rent research on retention, including the four keys to persistence,          Northeast Regional
Stephen Grainer
                                                in his article “Seat Time” (page 1). Marcia Phillips, who is devel-          Training
Team Coordinator                                oping VALRC’s customer service workshop, discusses the inter-                Pittsburgh, PA
Victoire Gerkens Sanborn                        section between customer service and retention in “Please, May           4-7
                                                I, Thank You” (page 8).                                                      Ntl. Workforce
This product was paid for under the Adult            Finally, last year Progress underwent changes in its design             Association Conf.
Education and Family Literacy Act of
1998; however, the opinions expressed
                                                and content. These upgrades were due in large measure to Ran-                St. Petersburg, FL
herein do not necessarily represent the         dy Stamper, Assistant Editor, and Stephen Grainer, Designer.             10-14
position or policy of the U.S. Department       I am pleased to announce that Randy has been promoted to                     Ntl. Head Start
of Education, and no official endorse-            Editor, and this is the first issue of Progress under his leadership.         Association Conf.
ment by the U.S. Department should be
                                                If you have suggestions for articles you would like to see in                Salt Lake City, UT
                                                Progress or if would like to write an article, please contact Randy
                                                at                                                    January
                                                     While last year was extraordinarily busy for all of us, this year   27-29
                                                promises to be equally challenging. Progress will attempt to keep           Technology,
                                                you up to date with new developments, new ideas, and, we hope,              Reading, & Learning
                                                a new outlook.                                                              Disabilities Conf.
                                                                                                                            San Francisco, CA

     2                                                                                                                      Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
                                        by STEPHEN GRAINER
 Hello and welcome to Click, our regular technology column in Progress. As webmaster at the Resource Center, I
 hope to share my passion for technology, featuring tools and tips relevant to the educational field.

          ot too long ago, a coworker         like Ad-Aware, Spybot runs constantly         their inbox daily. So what can you do
          came to me with a prob-             in the background to keep spyware from        about spam?
          lem; she was getting more           being installed in the first place. As with     1. Use filters or rules to reroute it.
and more ads every time she tried             Ad-Aware (and your antivirus software),           Most modern email software comes
to use her computer. Then another             make sure to download updates on a                with a way of filtering email based
coworker came to me. And another.             regular basis.                                    on certain information. For ex-
Since then, we’ve done a number of                                                              ample, you could filter all email that
things to alleviate the problem, and          Take Back Your Web                                you receive from a specific email
I’d like to share a few of our more                Popups on the web are becoming               address to go straight to a specially
useful discoveries.                           a thing of the past with new browsers             designated Junk folder. See the help
     First, I should define some of the        and tools. Several browsers have offered           files for your email software for
things I’m going to talk about, in par-       built-in popup blocking for over a year,          more information.
ticular adware and spyware. Adware is         while recent changes to Internet Ex-           2. Don’t click opt-out links. You may
software installed on your computer for       plorer in the latest service pack for Win-        have noticed opt-out links at the
the purpose of displaying ads, generally      dows XP also enable this useful feature.          bottom of junk email that promise
as popup windows. Similarly, spyware          To start surfing without popups, check             to remove you if you click on a link.
is invasive software that tracks the way      out the following:                                Very often, these are blatant lies,
you use your computer and the Internet           • Mozilla Firefox, a fast new web              used to verify your email address so
and sends that information to a company            browser from the developers of               that spammers can send even more
over the Internet. Both adware and spy-            Netscape that is more powerful and           junk email.
ware often come packaged with software             more secure than Internet Explorer        3. Use a throwaway email address.
downloaded from the web and are usu-               (                          More and more websites require
ally installed without alerting you.             • Google Toolbar, which also adds a            registration with a valid email
                                                   google search box to your Internet           address. To avoid worrying about
Be Aware of Adware                                 Explorer toolbar and blocks popups           whether your personal (or work)
     You can never be sure what’s actu-            (                  email is going to be barraged with
ally being installed when you download             There are many other commercial              junk, sign up for free email with
and install software from the Internet.       options available, but the two above              Hotmail or Yahoo! and use that
The safest way to protect yourself from       are free and work very well. Of course,           email address for websites that
accidentally installing adware or spyware     if you run Windows XP, you can (and               require you to register.
(or viruses) is to refrain from installing    should) download the recently released         4. Use a spam-catching service or
any software downloaded from the Inter-       service pack to get an updated version            software. If your spam trouble
net. Of course, this isn’t always feasible,   of Internet Explorer with built-in pop-           is still overwhelming, you might
so you need programs like Ad-Aware and        up blocking. The service pack is avail-           check out services like Knowspam
Spybot to help remove the peskier ad-         able from Windows Update at http://               ( or software
ware and spyware programs. Ad-Aware  (Caution:            like SpamNet (
is available free for personal use and can    The service pack can take a long time to          that use community filters to detect
be downloaded from www.lavasoftusa.           download over a dial-up connection. It            known spam and catch it before
com. Once installed, you should update        is available only for the latest version of       it arrives in your inbox. These do
the definitions before running it for the      Windows.)                                         cost money, but if you are sinking
first time. You should run Ad-Aware on                                                           in a sea of spam, they might be just
a weekly or monthly basis to remove any       Take Back Your Email                              what you need.
adware that creeps onto your computer.            Remember the days when spam                                  Continued on page 14 ...
Spybot Search & Destroy is another use-       was just canned meat? Nowadays when
ful program for detecting and removing        people mention spam, they probably             Got a question or suggestion for a
spyware from your computer and can be         aren’t talking about that tasty treat but      future topic? Email sdgrainer@vcu.
downloaded from Un-          instead about the junk email that floods        edu with the subject “Click on this.”
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                           3
15 Grant Writing Tips
                                                                                                         From a
                                                                                                         Grant Reader
In today’s competitive funding environment, writing a successful grant has become more challeng-
ing than ever. As a grant reader, I would like to share some insights that grant writing teams might
find helpful.

1                                            4                                            10
       Before you begin, conduct                    Answer all questions, even                         Show an “I can do” at-
       an internal assessment. After                if they seem obvious or re-                        titude. Use a positive tone
       reading the Request for Proposal             petitive. You can, if pressed for                   in describing a problem you
(RFP) and before writing the grant, you      space, refer to a previous answer, but it    can solve. If you must mention obstacles
and your team should answer the follow-      is probably wiser to use the suggested       (and I can’t think of too many reasons
ing question: Does our program have the      format. The more specific you are, the        why you must), don’t dwell on them. The
resources to implement and manage the        better. This keeps the grants committee      grants committee wants to support your
grant, and meet funding requirements?        from guessing.                               cause. It is truly interested in your solu-
Most applicants do; sadly, the ones that                                                  tions, but not if you seem overwhelmed

don’t spend a great deal of time away               Show, don’t tell. Long narra-         or defeated from the start.
from their clients or sap their resources             tives can hide vital information.

in order to satisfy grant requirements.               Use charts, graphs, or tables to                 Finish as strong as you
                                             explain demographics or statistics, or                    started. Give each sec-

       Build a strong case. The              to list goals, objectives, and anticipated                tion of your proposal equal
         strength of your grant applica-     outcomes. If an answer must be lengthy,      weight and don’t run out of space. Too
         tion depends on how well you        find ways to break up the text and cre-       often, writers skim over the evaluation,
can demonstrate the need for your proj-      ate white space. Bold important items        outcomes, and dissemination questions
ect. Use current statistics, precise lan-    or phrases. Use lists and bullets when       only because they are placed at the end
guage, and sound reasoning to lay your       feasible.                                    of the RFP. Many mystery writers write
foundation. If the needs section does                                                     the ending before the beginning. See

not make a strong case for funding your             Be realistic. Describe only at-       if this technique works for you: it may
project, the rest of your proposal – no             tainable, measurable goals. In        help to keep you focused throughout
matter how well thought out – will fail.            addition, tailor your project to      the writing process.
Find current sources in “Facts and Sta-      the amount of funds your program is

tistics” on the Resource Center website:     requesting. Describe what you actually                    Don’t be a grant chaser.                         mean to achieve with $5,000. Explain                     If your proposed project
                                             doable strategies, accepted benchmarks                   doesn’t fit into your pro-

        Write to your audience. Are          of success, and reasonable outcomes.         gram’s mission or strategic plan, why are
        the grant readers specialists who                                                 you making this time-consuming effort?

        are already knowledgeable about             Piggyback     on     others’

adult literacy, or is the grants committee          strengths. Enhance your pro-                       Be a team player. Some
comprised of generalists who are consid-            gram’s capacity (and multiply                        of the best proposals are
ering applications from a variety of or-     your region’s need) by listing meaning-                     made by grant writing teams.
ganizations with diverse missions? Once      ful and integrated collaborations. Yes,      Why? Because during brainstorming ses-
you have established the make up of the      partnerships take effort, but you’ll earn     sions, members offer different perspec-
grant reading committee, keep jargon         major points.                                tives, levels of expertise, and talents. They
to a minimum. Use only facts that will                                                    can tackle larger, more demanding grants,

strengthen your case or inform some-                Call for help. To clarify             breaking up cumbersome tasks, meeting
one who is not familiar with the subject.           instructions on the RFP, call the     pressing deadlines, and tapping into a
Concentrate on the unique situation in              grantor.                              wider variety of community resources.
your region. Yes, the problem is world-

wide, but you are seeking funding for a             Proof, edit, proof, edit, proof.
local project, and you should write from            Then, proof again.
that point of view.

4                                                                                                           Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
  Virginia Literacy Institute Awarded $3.3 Million
  Early Reading First Grant

          he U.S. Department of Edu-          Ph.D., assistant professor of reading,        VCU Head Start children, the three-
          cation has awarded the Vir-         and Evelyn Reed-Victor, Ph.D., associ-        year grant will provide funds to extend
          ginia Literacy Institute at         ate professor of special education. Also      the school day to six-and-one-half hours
  Virginia Commonwealth Universi-             serving on the project management             and to provide a full-day, eight-week
  ty’s School of Education a $3.3 mil-        team will be VCU Head Start Direc-            summer program for three-year-old
  lion grant to collaborate with VCU          tor Phyllis Grooms-Gordon, evaluator          children. The grant also will allow VCU
  Head Start in creating an early-            Christopher E. Chin, Ph.D., of Chil-          Head Start to offer full-day instruction
  childhood reading program that will         dren’s Hospital in Richmond, and Bar-         throughout the summer for four-year-
  be the first of its kind in Virginia.        bara Gibson, associate director of the        old children with a special, elementary
       The program, Richmond Early            Virginia Literacy Institute.                  school-based, four-week session for
  Reading First, will promote preschool-            “This project will not only ben-        children entering Kindergarten.
  ers’ successful transition to Kinder-       efit the children in VCU’s Head Start               VCU Head Start, a delegate agen-
  garten and will ensure they have the        program, but will serve as a model for        cy of Richmond Public Schools, was
  knowledge and skills necessary for op-      other early childhood education pro-          founded in 1996. It serves 210 three-
  timal reading development. The federal      grams across Virginia and the nation as       and-four-year-old children in a com-
  government has funded 32 Early Read-        they prepare young children to become         munity-based partnership of six pre-
  ing First projects across the country       proficient readers,” Rhodes said. “It is       school programs.
  worth $90 million this year. This is the    an exciting cooperative venture with               The Virginia Literacy Institute was
  first such grant awarded in Virginia.        the School of Social Work’s successful        established as a partnership between
       “This grant will allow us to work      Head Start program.”                          VCU and the Virginia Literacy Foun-
  with the children attending VCU’s                 Richmond Early Reading First also       dation to conduct research and devel-
  Head Start program to provide each          will:                                         opment projects in adult education and
  child with high quality, pre-reading in-      • provide professional development          family literacy. It is located in the VCU
  struction so they can enter Kindergar-            for pre-school teachers and assis-      School of Education, the 47th ranked
  ten ready to learn and to achieve their           tance for parents to support their      School of Education in the United
  full potential,” said Mark Emblidge,              children’s learning at home             States.                                 .:
  director of the Virginia Literacy Insti-      • engage parents in training and
  tute and vice president of the Virginia           consultation activities regarding       Mike Frontiero is a public relations
  Board of Education.                               early-reading strategies they can       specialist for Virginia Commonwealth
       The early-reading program will               use at home                             University’s University News Services.
  work in conjunction with VCU Head             • work with an external evaluator to        This story is reprinted with the permis-
  Start – a program of the VCU School of            identify children at risk for reading   sion of the author and University News
  Social Work. In addition to Emblidge,             difficulties.                             Services.
  it will be directed by Joan Rhodes,               To meet the instructional needs of

14                                            15
            Tell the truth, the whole                     Use a “fresh eye.” Be-            Victoire Gerkens Sanborn is the Director of
            truth, and nothing but                        fore mailing your proposal,       the Literacy Support Center and author of
            the truth. Grant readers                      ask someone who is not on         the 2003 Grants and Foundations booklet,
have access to resources that will rectify    your grant writing team to read for un-       available on the Resource Center website.
wrong information, clarify faulty reason-     derstanding and to check each section         Since 2002, she has served on three grant-
ing, or fill in glaring holes. If your pro-    against the RFP. This will ensure that        writing committees that were awarded close
posal needs to skirt certain issues, should   all requirements have been met and that       to $4 million in grants.
you be writing it at all?                     your proposal says what you mean for it
                                              to say.                              .:

PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                              5
    2004 Program Managers’

        he Race to GED has officially          ples of marketing endeavors by the five       for Lee, Scott, Wise, and Norton Public
        begun across Virginia. The           Fast Track pilot sites: Russell County,      Schools (Rebecca Scott); Fairfax County
        annual program managers’             Prince William County, Danville-Mar-         (Bonnie Moore); Spotsylvania Regional
meeting was held August 18th and             tinsville, Hampton, and Virginia Beach.      Adult Education Program (Betsy Math-
19th at the Sheraton South hotel in               Dr. Yvonne Thayer, Director of          ias); Southside Programs for Adult and
Richmond, and it marked the official           the Office of Adult Education and Lit-         Continuing Education (Dale Temple);
rollout of the statewide marketing           eracy, handed out several awards on the      Roanoke City Schools (Dot Hayes);
plan for the Governor’s initiative. At-      first day. Bette Sneed, Cynthia Cooper,       Henrico County Adult Education (Su-
tendance was high, and participants          Stacey Wright, Bonnie Mizenko, and           san O’Connor); Portsmouth City Public
walked away with a wealth of resourc-        Linda Allen were recognized for their ef-    Schools (Judy Eure); the Dayton Learn-
es to be used in marketing the Race in
their localities.                                 “It is critical that all state and local agencies that have
    Nearly two hundred people were on
hand to learn about the marketing plan             a role in providing services to adults who do not have
and to receive the training and resources         a diploma or a GED certificate collaborate in working
necessary to contribute to the initiative.
The two days were extremely busy with                                                      toward this goal.”
several seminars about marketing, pro-                                                 -- Gov. Mark Warner
motions, and customer service – critical
components of the Race. Dr. Pamela           forts as the managers of the pilot sites.    ing Center in the Harrisonburg area
Kieker and Dr. Deborah Cowles, both          Dale Temple of Southside Programs for        (Jim Orndoff); and New River Commu-
professors in the Department of Market-      Adult and Continuing Education and           nity College (Jenny Bolte). Each of the
ing and Business Law at Virginia Com-        Sue O’Connor of Henrico County Adult         original pilot site directors will mentor
monwealth University, conducted semi-        Education received plaques in apprecia-      two of the new programs as they begin
nars on marketing and customer service.      tion of their hard work on the Race to       their participation in the Fast Track.
The VALRC’s Victoire Gerkens Sanborn         GED marketing team.                               On the second day, Dr. Thayer
outlined the Marketing and Promotions             The first day culminated in the in-      facilitated a roundtable discussion
Guide. Other presentations included          troduction of the next ten Fast Track pro-   with the representatives from both the
information about the Polilogue, a web-      grams and their managers: Mount Rog-         original and the newly announced Fast
based discussion forum for Fast Track        ers Adult Education (Susan Seymore);         Track programs. This talk centered on
programs and state personnel, and exam-      the Regional Adult Education Program         explaining to new programs the design,

6                                                                                                          Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
                                                                  Program managers from the five Fast Track pilot sites, along with the
                                                                   next ten Fast Track managers, are recognized by Dr. Yvonne Thayer.
                                                                        The five pilot managers will each mentor two of the new sites.

definitions, and standards included in         serve those individuals.”                      in its reporting. Emphasizing goals and
the Office of Adult Education and Lit-               Such collaboration, coupled with          rewarding students who achieve them is
eracy’s Implementation Guide. Partici-        excellent customer service and an em-          cited again and again by programs as a
pants also discussed the methods and          phasis on achieving goals, will also facili-   successful strategy. Various managers,
strategies key to conducting a successful     tate better retention numbers. Several         including Tonya Creasy from Northern
Fast Track program.                           of the new Fast Track program manag-           Neck Adult Education, mentioned that
     As hard as everyone worked to get        ers and teachers mentioned the latter          they provide certificates to students who
the meeting together, the real work be-       two aspects as important facets of their       make educational level advancements.
gins now. The Office of Adult Education         plans to keep students in classrooms long      These tokens provide the students with a
hopes to start 40 more Fast Track sites af-   enough to make gains. Jim Andre, a             tangible sign of success, as well as moti-
ter the first of the year. The numbers from                                                   vation to continue their studies.
the first five are encouraging. It is obvious    Students are encouraged                             Most agreed that the meeting was a
that students appreciate the structured          to focus on completing                      great success. Shelia Harper of South-
style of the classes and the emphasis on                                                     side Virginia Community College com-
setting and achieving goals. Comple-           forty hours of class time.                    mented that it was the best she had ever
tion rates suggest that many students are     Those who do are rewarded                      attended. She particularly appreciated
ready and willing to put in the time and                                                     the fact that each program manager re-
effort required by Fast Track if the result     for their efforts, as is the                   ceived actual samples of marketing ma-
is earning their GEDs quickly. As more          program, which is then                       terials and a cd-rom that included the
and more programs come online, one                                                           electronic copies of each sample. This
key to success will be collaboration with      able to use those students’                   should not only make it easier for pro-
other agencies. As Governor Warner             statistics in its reporting.                  grams to produce marketing materials on
stated in a letter to program managers,                                                      their own, but also will help ensure that
“Interagency collaboration is essential       teacher with Henrico County, explained         the Race to GED message is consistent
if we are to meet this goal. It is critical   that his program has been conducting its       across Virginia.                       .:
that all state and local agencies that have   own form of Fast Track with a “Race to         Ed’s note: Most of the marketing materials
a role in providing services to adults who    40” theme. Students are encouraged to          included on the cd-rom are also available
do not have a diploma or a GED certifi-        focus on completing forty hours of class       on the Resource Center’s website. To ac-
cate collaborate in working toward this       time. Those who do are rewarded for            cess them, go to, and
goal. It will take the combined efforts of     their efforts, as is the program, which is      click on the link to Race to GED under
the involved agencies to locate, refer, and   then able to use those students’ statistics    Projects and Publications.

PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                              7
                        I, THANK YOU:
PLEASE, MAY to Improving Your Retention
Customer Service is Key

            ith all the attention now         reading your name off your charge card         all of us are extroverts, but everyone can
            being focused on adult            when they thank you for shopping with         and should be courteous and accepting.
            education programs, Fast          them are shallow responses to the human
Track, and the lofty goals that have          needs for recognition and acknowledge-        Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring...
been set for the next several years,          ment, needs that we should be aware of             On busy days, the level of stress in
you might feel that life as you know          when dealing with our clients.                an office is high. Telephone calls and
it has gotten out of control. The                                                           drop-in visitors add to the burden. It
numbers you are expected to achieve           From the Front Door to the                    has been said that any position where the
are daunting. No doubt, you already           Final Handshake                               telephone rings more than four times an
know you will need to develop some                 Everyone: instructors, office staff,        hour is a high-stress job. Small wonder,
strategies for operating in a different        specialists, and program managers es-         then, that many adult education pro-
environment. Developing a strong              tablish the tone and the service level of     grams around the state have turned to
customer service initiative for your          a program. First impressions take only        the answering machine. We know that
program is one of the easiest strate-         a few seconds to form, but they are long      because we call you for information or
gies to begin working on. Not only            lasting. The way a newcomer is greeted        questions, and we hear the message that
will it help you in all aspects of your       establishes his perception of the program     yes, we have gotten the correct number,
program, but it requires little more          and even his probable chances for suc-        and also that we have called during office
than self-awareness and basic cour-           cess. If he is faced with indifference or      hours. But we don’t get our answer. For
tesy to be effective. These are traits         condescension in that first meeting, the       that we must leave our names and our
we all have. It’s simply a matter of                                                        numbers and wait for you to call us.
stressing their importance to yourself             Not all of us are                             It is an irritant for us, particularly
and your staff.                                                                              when we call several programs and nev-
     We in education think of ourselves        extroverts, but everyone                     er talk to an actual person. Insofar as
as client-centered professionals. We are
cheered by the stories of success, and we
                                                  can and should be                         we are your customers, it is poor ser-
                                                                                            vice to us as well. But it is not nearly as
love the affirmation that these stories         courteous and accepting.                      bad for us as it is for the young woman
bring to our work. But the realities of                                                     who is nervous about the options she
overly busy days with too much to do          chances he will return rest solely on his     faces and concerned that she will not
and too few resources often cause us to       perceived need for your services. How-        be able to develop the skills and knowl-
forget to think about how others view us.     ever, if that person is greeted warmly        edge she needs to get a job to support
Those views, however, are very important      and given the necessary information           herself and her family. That potential
to our success and the success of our cli-    in a friendly manner, you and he have         student has just received poor service,
ents. If we make our clients comfortable,     formed a bond. It is more likely that he      no matter how politely it was intended.
make them feel that they are welcome          will perceive that you are both involved      You have shown that during the busi-
and in good hands, they are more likely       in a partnership even before he has be-       ness day, it is more important to you to
to persist.                                   gun his classwork.                            do your real work than it is to take the
     Customer service has become a buzz-           Teachers, too, create first impres-       call from a potential student. Do that
phrase in recent years. Because so many       sions by the way they come into their         enough times, and you have cost your-
business transactions these days are self-    classroom and the manner in which they        self enough students to fill at least one
service and impersonal, most businesses       address their students. If the atmosphere     more class. Then, that real work will not
now spend considerable time and effort         is warm and friendly, the class is more       be important, because it is the students
building awareness of the need to be          likely to connect than if everyone is with-   who make the work necessary.
courteous and helpful on those occasions      drawn and nervous. The teacher must                Think of all the telephone transac-
that require person-to-person interaction.    not only facilitate learning, but also do     tions you participate in where you are
However, front-door greeters in huge          as much as possible to create a sense of      the only live body. Efficient though it is,
warehouse stores, or sales clerks correctly   cohesion with and among students. Not         reporting a problem to a computer-gen-

8                                                                                                            Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
erated system does not satisfy the need to       its function dependably and adequately.       more intangible the product, the more
be sure that we are going to get the help        People can see what they have bought.         goes into the relationship.
we need. Moreover, our clients are doing         They can assess it against a similar ob-           This is the role customer service or
much more than reporting a problem;              ject that they have had in the past, or       client awareness, you can call it anything
they’re asking for help to improve their         that their neighbors have. The product        you like, plays in retention. Studies have
lives. Such questions warrant our full at-       is tangible. With a service, however, the     shown that when participants feel con-
tention the first time, every time. It may        product cannot be seen. People can go         nected, they will persist. If someone
be difficult, yes. But it is crucial that as       to classes and they can learn, or not. But    misses a class meeting and is greeted with
many callers as possible are greeted with        only they will know if they have gained       “I missed you last time,” his perception
a warm, living voice.                            the knowledge and skills they looked for.     of his position in your class is strength-
                                                 Only they will know if the class they took    ened. Consequently, if he feels that he
Uhhh, Ummm, Hmmm                                 is as good as their colleague’s or neigh-     plays a strong part in the class, he is less
      Part of the problem outlined above         bor’s. Whether or not you have fulfilled       likely to drop out. While the program
is that small programs often do not have         your students’ needs rests in their percep-   manager sets the tone for the program,
sufficient staffing to handle all of their in-       tion, not yours.                              everyone employed in it plays a role in
coming phone calls. It is not uncommon                That is where strong client awareness    providing good customer service. The
for someone else in the school system to         adds value to any aspect of your pro-         group climate is important, but each
take all the calls and forward them to           gram. Whenever people come to you for         staff person can choose whether or not to
the appropriate parties. This invariably                                                       deliver good customer service.
leads to a loss of customer service. These         Studies have shown that
people do not always know the answers                                          Checking Yourself
to the questions about adult education              when participants feel          How is your program doing? Per-
offerings. They may actually know less            connected, they will persist. forming a self-assessment can give you
about your services than the people call-                                      your answer to that question. You can
ing. This is where a proactive program             If someone misses a class   call your program anonymously and see
manager can make a difference.                    meeting and is greeted with what kind of telephone service you get.
      As a program, you can provide the                                        Have a good friend or neighbor come
answers to frequently asked questions.           ‘I missed you last time,’ his in to the office looking for information.
Put together a brief guide and provide it        perception of his position in When you observe classes, pay particular
to the staff in the office where the tele-
phone is answered. You will probably
                                                                                         to how
                                                  your class is strengthened. attentionlearners. the instructor connects
                                                                               with the           Rate your program for
discover that these folks are very happy                                                       information given, level of friendliness,
to be able to answer the questions; after        help, they are taking the first in a series    and courtesy. Look for areas that need
all, no one likes to tell the public, “I don’t   of steps to transform their lives. They       improvement, not an assurance that you
know.” Be sure to keep the guide up to           trust you when you say that you will help     are doing as well as can be expected. Re-
date. Make sure that you give those peo-         them build their knowledge base, or that      member that while it is a job for us, it is
ple the information about testing and            you will assist them in preparing for the     a life-change for them.                 .:
assessment dates and upcoming classes            GED. That trust makes them vulnerable
in a timely fashion. Be sure that your           to you and your program. Showing that         Ed’s note: The Resource Center has devel-
part-time staffers are fully aware of what        you take their trust seriously and that       oped a training module, Delivering Good
is happening. Not knowing the answers            you are committed to providing the best       Customer Service, for adult education pro-
to simple questions such as, “When can           classes, support, and materials available     grams around the state. Dates will be an-
I come in to be tested?” or “What days           is important. Letting them know that          nounced on our website.
does the class in such-and-such location         they personally are important to you in
meet?” is not only poor customer service,        your day at work and that their success       Marcia Phillips is Special Projects Specialist
it is bad advertising as well.                   is your reason for being there cements a      with the VALRC. She has worked in adult
                                                 relationship. And in these hurried and        education for over twenty years. Marcia is
Theirs, Not Yours                                stressful times, personal relationships are   leading the development and implementa-
     The main difference between deliv-           more and more important. That is why          tion of the customer service training that
ering a product and delivering a service is      all good salespeople work on developing       the Resource Center will be offering.
this. If you deliver a product, anyone can       relationships before they focus on pro-
see that it is designed well and performs        moting their product. And in sales, the

PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                                 9
                                                                                             the goal are recognized with awards. As-
                                                                                             sessment and recognition are two factors
                                                                                             identified by the NCSALL research team
                                                                                             as crucial to the success of goal-setting.
                                                                                             Students need to know where they are
                                                                                             and where they are going. Programs that
                                                                                             recognize and support those needs not
                                                                                             only reward their students, but also are
                                                                                             rewarded themselves with exceptional
                                                                                             retention and pass rates. This is borne
                                                                                             out by NRS data on retention rates state-
                                                                                             wide. The Department of Education’s
                                                                                             data analysis suggests that for fiscal year
                                                                                             2003-2004, retention in Virginia adult
                                                                                             education programs was at 80%. This
                                                                                             represents a 10% gain over the 2002-
                                                                                             2003 figure.
                                                                                                  All of this information leads back to
 Seat Time: continued from front                                                             where we started – a teacher in the class-
 them. And a teacher is in the best posi-      tasks placed in front of him.                 room looking at a group of students who
 tion to help students learn how.                   Finally, the importance of goals can’t   are pulled in many different directions
      Outside of the classroom, the staff       be overstated. Whether it is Fast Track,      and asking, “How can I keep those seats
 must also provide support and services.       GED preparation, or ABE, having stu-          filled?” Practice and theory both suggest
 Tonya Creasy of Northern Neck Adult           dents set goals and, then, providing them     that a big part of the answer is to confront
 Education explained that in her pro-          with ways to monitor progress toward          the conflicting responsibilities together
 gram, students are encouraged to drop         those goals are keys to keeping students      head-on and to stress the importance of
 in from time to time or call for help on      motivated and moving ahead. Creasy’s          goals in the classroom. Monitoring and
 subjects. More and more, students are         program provides students with cer-           rewarding progress toward those goals,
 availing themselves of these opportuni-       tificates for every educational gain. Jim      most agree, will keep students coming
 ties. Such support creates a community        Andre and Susan O’Connor of Henrico           back for more.                            .:
 atmosphere in which the student knows         County Adult Education have estab-
 that everyone in the program is there to      lished a “Race to 40 (hours)” concept.        Randall Stamper is the publications man-
 help. This builds self-efficacy – a stu-        Students focus on a goal of 40 hours of       ager for the Resource Center and the editor
 dent’s feeling that he can accomplish the     classroom instruction. Those who attain       of Progress.

           Four Key Supports to Persistence
         A NCSALL research team headed             how to persist in learning.                   mittently review them.
     by John Comings conducted a study          2. Self-efficacy: This refers to a              4. Progress toward a goal: Once
     into adult student persistence from           student’s feeling of being able               a goal is set, programs and
     1997 to 2003. Among many findings              to accomplish a task. Programs                teachers should not only assist a
     based on literature review, interviews,       can help build students’ self-ef-             student in working toward that
     and field tests, the team identified four       ficacy by providing experiences                goal, but also provide a range of
     key supports to persistence among             that allow them to be successful              assessments that allow students
     adult students. These supports are            and then providing evidence of                to measure their progress.
     summarized below.                             that success, as well as facilitating
      1. Awareness and management of               a community atmosphere that                    Source: Comings, J., Cuban, S.,
         the positive and negative forc-           extends beyond the classroom.             Parrella, A., & Soricone, L. (2002). The
         es that help and hinder persis-        3. Students establish goals: Pro-            First Five Years: National Center for the
         tence: Adult learners experience          gram staff should establish clear          Study of Adult Learning and Literacy
         both positive and negative forces         goals upon students’ entrance             1999-2001 (#23). Cambridge, MA: Na-
         related to persistence. Helping           into a program, and teachers              tional Center for the Study of Adult
         them identify and manage those            should use these goals as the             Learning and Literacy.
         forces can provide insights into          context for instruction and inter-
10                                                                                                             Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
From Fast Food to Fast Track
                                                                                                       Student Retention
                                                                                                       Suggested Sources

                                                                                                    Below is a short list of recommend-
       he GED test has been offered            tually going to class – became the easiest.      ed publications concerned with adult
       in my community for as long            This wasn’t failure; this was fun! I actu-       learner retention. The final report from
       as I can remember. Many                ally looked forward to going to classes. I       NCSALL’s study on adult learner reten-
times I thought of taking the class-          would not have missed one session. The           tion, due in fall of 2003, is yet to be is-
es, but for some reason or another,           people in the Fast Track program offered          sued as of the time of this publication.
I would make an excuse. I dropped             me constant encouragement: “You can
out of high school at 16. I wasn’t            do it. We know you can.” That support            Barron Jones, J. D. (1998). Retention
                                                                                                   and the ged. Focus on Basics, 2 (B),
doing well in school, and I thought it        was so important to me keeping at it.
would be easier to get a fast food job             When the eight weeks ended, I
                                                                                               Bingman, M.B., & Ebert, O. (2000). “I’ve
and work full time.                           felt confident and prepared to take the               Come a Long Way:” Learner-Identi-
     Over the years, I tried several GED      GED test. Before, when I attended high               fied Outcomes of Participation
classes, but they just never seemed right.    school, I never felt confident in test tak-           in Adult Literacy Programs (#13).
Students were given workbooks, and they       ing, which probably contributed to why               Cambridge, MA: National Center
just sat in a room and worked in them.        I didn’t finish high school. But I took the           for the Study of Adult Learning and
Also, there was no time limit to take the     GED test, and I felt confident about it.              Literacy.
test; you just worked in the workbooks        My test results came in the mail a few           Comings, J., Cuban, S., Bos, J., & Por-
until you thought you were ready.             weeks later. I passed the GED! I now                 ter, K. (2003). “As Long as it Takes:”
                                                                                                   Responding to the Challenges of
     One day I realized I wanted a better     have the equivalent to a high school edu-
                                                                                                   Adult Student Persistence in Library
                                                                                                   Literacy Programs. New York: Man-
“This wasn’t failure; this was fun! I actually looked                                              power Demonstration Research
forward to going to classes. I would not have missed                                               Corporation.
                                                                                               Comings, J., Cuban, S., Bos, J., & Taylor, C.
one session.”                                                                                      (2001). “I Did it For Myself:” Studying
                                                                                                   Efforts to Increase Adult Learner Per-
job and a good career. I wanted to estab-     cation. I am very proud. I have confi-                sistence in Library Literacy Programs.
lish a good foundation for my children to     dence in education and myself. My only               New York: Manpower Demonstra-
build on. That’s when I realized I needed     regret is not realizing this earlier in life.        tion Research Corporation.
                                                                                               Comings, J., Parrella, A. & Soricone, L.
my GED. I went to the local adult edu-             I am currently taking college classes
                                                                                                   (1999). Persistence Among Adult
cation office at New River Community            to fulfill the dream I’ve had as long as I
                                                                                                   Basic Education Students in Pre-GED
College to sign up. The staff was so help-     can remember: to become a nurse. I am                Classes (#12). Cambridge, MA: Na-
ful and informative. They encouraged          building a foundation for my children;               tional Center for the Study of Adult
me to sign up for the Fast Track class, an    now they also will know the importance               Learning and Literacy
8-week program that focused on the skills     of an education. I just want to scream to        Comings, J., Parrella, A., & Soricone, L.
I needed to be successful. All I needed       the world, because I’m so happy. This is             (2000). Helping adults persist: four
was to be committed and to allow them         what everyone should be doing!                       supports. Focus on Basics, 4(A), 1-6.
to teach and prepare me for taking the             Thanks to all of the wonderful staff         Garner, B. (Ed.). (1998). Learner Motiva-
GED test.                                     in the New River Community College                   tion [Special Issue]. Focus on Basics,
     Because of the support and friendli-     Adult Education department. This is
                                                                                               Wonacott, M. E. (2001). Adult stu-
ness of the staff, going to class was not as   truly a wonderful program. I am very
                                                                                                   dents: recruitment and retention.
scary as I thought. Even so, the old fears    proud and thankful to have the program               retrieved Sept 20, 2004, from
about school came back. After so long of      available for my community.                 .:       Clearinghouse on Adult, Career,
feeling like a failure, I worried that this                                                        and Vocational Education website:
would end the same way. To my sur-            April, a proud Fast Track graduate of the  
prise, I had the best teacher and support     Regional New River Community College                 asp?tbl=pab&ID=108.
that I could ever imagine! Even though I      Adult Education Program, received her            Young, M., Fleischman, H., Fitzgerald,
was working as a Certified Nursing As-         GED diploma in May 2004 and immedi-                  N., & Morgan, M. (1994). National
sistant at the time, I found that what I      ately began classes at New River Commu-              Evaluation of Adult Education
                                                                                                   Programs: Patterns and predictors
thought would be the hardest thing – ac-      nity College in the nursing field.
                                                                                                   of Client Attendance. Arlington, VA:
                                                                                                   Development Associates.

PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                               11
 Charlottesville Festival of Cultures: EL/Civics in Action

         harlottesville’s first annual          the festival as a gathering place where all   leaders and teachers connected to each
         Festival of Cultures began,           could come together to celebrate, take        other and the larger community. In ad-
         as most things do, with an            pride in, and share the multiple cultures     dition, they learned about services of-
 idea. Our area’s increasing diversity         found in our community.                       fered to them in the community, such as
 hit home last fall when we realized we             The planning committee, under            health, interpretation services, the transit
 had a class with sixteen students from        the direction of Debra Tuler and Heidi        system, other educational opportunities,
 sixteen different countries with six-          Gordon, ESOL instructors and coordi-          and more. Finally, it satisfied an articu-
 teen different native languages. Both          nators of the festival, consisted primarily   lated need to give back to the commu-
 the richness and the challenges asso-         of ESOL learners. Planning this event         nity by sharing their culture and talents.
 ciated with a diverse population was          provided learners an opportunity to take      At the same time, the larger community
 seeping into the schools, workplace,          on leadership roles and to engage in          learned about and appreciated both the
 and the fabric of daily life. Native          community outreach. We met monthly            rich diversity in our midst and our com-
 Charlottesvillians saw people waiting         at the start and more frequently as the       mon interests. “Family is everything”
 at the bus stop in traditional dress,         festival date neared. The committee, as       was written on a leaf for the unity tree.
 but how much did either group know            well as other students, helped with all       Watching the families and friends sing-
 about each other?                             aspects of the festival from coming up        ing, dancing, and playing together, you
      Our philosophy of civics has con-        with the overall plan and idea, to finding     couldn’t help but agree.
 sistently focused on a dual purpose: to       sponsors, recruiting participants, doing           The Festival of Cultures was a project
 prepare learners for successful transition    publicity, and performing.                    of the Charlottesville City Schools Adult
 into all aspects of community life, and            The festival was a colorful and joyful   Education Program. It was partially
 to prepare the community to better un-        celebration and a huge success with over      funded by an English Language/Civics
 derstand and interact with their newest       400 in attendance. It took place on a         Grant. For further information, contact
 residents. We believe that to become ef-      sunny day in May in Lee Park, near the        Susan Erno, Adult Education Program
 fective participants in the community,        downtown pedestrian mall. It included         Coordinator at 434 245-2817 or email
 ESOL learners need not only to under-         entertainment – music, dance, and story-                 .:
 stand their rights and responsibilities and   telling – cultural exhibits, hands-on craft
 how to navigate in American society, but      activities, craft vendors, and information    Susan Erno is the Adult Education
 also to engage in a process of mutual in-     booths from organizations that serve the      Coordinator for Charlottesville City
 formation sharing with others.                ESOL population. The entertainment,           Schools and Instructional Specialist for
      Thus, the purpose of the festival was    exhibits, and crafts spanned the globe.       Planning District 10.
 multi-fold: to celebrate the cultural di-     One hands-on activity, the creation of a      Debra Tuler has Masters degrees in both
 versity in our community; to increase         multicultural unity tree, demonstrated        linguistics and in cultural anthropolo-
 awareness of that diversity; and to build     that the globe could be found right here      gy. She began teaching ESL in 1988 in
 a bridge of communication between             in our city.                                  the Boston area and has been with the
 newcomers and established residents in             One of the greatest benefits of the       Charlottesville Adult Education Pro-
 the Charlottesville area. We envisioned       festival for learners was that they became    gram since 1998.
12                                                                                                             Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
 Two Rounds of Applause for Virginia ESOL

           irginia is one of eight states     applications, and the process involved       gratulate Debbie Cargill of the Prince
           selected to participate in a       about 35 of Virginia’s best and bright-      William County Adult Education pro-
           national consortium to de-         est adult educators. While contributing      gram for her invitation to be a panelist
  velop curriculum content standards          to the work of the consortium at the         at the Building A Common Civic Iden-
  for English for speakers of other lan-      national level, Virginia will be able to     tity symposium presented by the U.S.
  guages (ESOL). Chosen through a             address any unique needs for its learn-      Citizenship and Immigration Services
  competitive process, Virginia will          ers and practitioners. David Red of          and Woodrow Wilson International
  join Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts,      Fairfax County and Nancy Faux of the         Center for Scholars. Debbie will share
  Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and          Resource Center will be the content ex-      the stage with notable officials such as
  Washington to work with the Amer-           perts serving on the consortium. Jane        Tom Ridge, Director of the Depart-
  ican Institutes for Research over           Swing will manage the Virginia process       ment of Homeland Security. Virginia
  the 18 months of the development            and the use of Polilogue, a web-based        can be proud of its ESOL programs,
  project. It is anticipated that the state   resource for a virtual community of          practitioners, and learners.          .:
  will employ a process similar to the one    practice. A preliminary meeting of the
  used during the summer to produce           consortium took place in early Octo-         Anita Prince is the Curriculum and
  draft curriculum standards for the five      ber. It is anticipated that members of       Instruction Specialist for the Virginia
  content areas of the GED. Participa-        the field will be actively involved in this   Department of Education, Office of Adult
  tion from local practitioners across the    process.                                     Education and Literacy.
  state was solicited through competitive          Round two of applause goes to con-

Virginia Businesses Show Support for Race to GED

           e are all winners in the           ested in signing up to start GED classes     have been creative in developing such
           Race to GED.        Adult          are eligible to enter a drawing for a $75    partnerships. In addition to Mr. Hun-
           learners win when they             gift certificate to Applebee’s Restaurant.    nicutt and the Virginia Lottery, Virginia
pass the GED tests. Employers win             Dr. Yvonne Thayer, Director of the Of-       Employment Commission, Department
when they provide employee access             fice of Adult Education and Literacy,         of Social Services, Virginia Association of
to GED classes. Adult educators win           draws the winning name, and the staff         Elementary School Principals, Virginia’s
when the GED pass rate doubles.               verifies the individual as a viable GED       race industry, Verizon Reads, Hardee’s,
Economic developers win when an               candidate. The winner receives a letter      a marketing firm, radio stations, cable
educated work force attracts new in-          of congratulations and encouragement         stations, grocery stores, and many other
dustries to Virginia. And thanks to           from Dr. Thayer, along with the $75 gift     public and private organizations have
our partners’ commitment to support           certificate to Applebee’s.                    joined us in the Race to GED.
the Race to GED, we also have Ap-                  Mr. George E. Hunnicutt, Jr.,                Be proactive in establishing Race to
plebee’s winners.                             President of Pepsi Bottling Company          GED partnerships. It is truly amazing to
    The Virginia Lottery has provided         of Norton, is one of our corporate part-     see the positive response and willingness
high visibility for a Race to GED display     ners in Southwest Virginia. Mr. Hun-         to be a Race to GED partner – just ask.
booth adjacent to the Lottery station at      nicutt’s generous support is the source           For more information about estab-
eight major statewide events including        of the Applebee’s gift certificates. The      lishing Race to GED partnerships, tele-
the Pork Festival, Harborfest, Salem Fair,    Applebee’s gift certificates are drawing      phone Patty Shortt at 804-225-3997 or
Galax Fiddler’s Convention, NASCAR            attention to the Race to GED display         email          .:
– Bristol Fan Appreciation, Hillsville Gun    booth and are generating incentive for
Show, Hampton Bay Days, and the Vir-          people to sign-up.                           Patty Shortt is the Workforce Development
ginia State Fair. Local adult education            Partnerships are vital to our suc-      Specialist for the Virginia Department of
programs are manning the Race to GED          cess. We cannot win the Race to GED          Education, Office of Adult Education and
display booth at many other local events      alone. We must leverage our ability by       Literacy. She has worked in education for
and providing information and marketing       creating associations and partnerships in    several years and holds a B.S. in sociology
materials to thousands of people.             a common interest that will pay big divi-    and a Masters in public administration.
    At each statewide event, adults inter-    dends. The five pilot Race to GED sites
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                              13
     CLICK: continued from page 3
 Email And Security                                    person and ask.                           ated by viruses has gotten more cunning,
      It seems like every week sees the             3. Don’t follow links blindly. The           often masquerading as an email from
 release of a new email virus. No matter               text for a link in an email can say       your system administrators telling you
 how prolific viruses become, there are                 anything. Links that say they go to       that you have a virus and asking you to
 some simple steps you can take to avoid               one website may go somewhere else.        open an attached document to clean it
 nearly any infection:                                 If in doubt, type the link into your      up. The attached document is actually a
  1. Never open attachments from                       browser by hand or forego visiting        virus. While it is conceivable that your
      someone you don’t know. Would                    altogether.                               mail server administrator might contact
      you eat candy from a complete                 4. Don’t just give your email address        you and ask you to run a patch, you
      stranger? Why would you trust your               to anyone. Save your personal             should verify these emails by contacting
      computer to them?                                email address for friends, family         your administrator before opening any
  2. Cautiously open attachments from                  and work associates. Use your             included attachments.
      people you do know. Unless you’re                throwaway address (see page 3) for             In the next issue, we’ll take a look at
      expecting an attached file, don’t                 everything else.                          intellectual property and fair use laws. .:
      open it. If you’re not sure, call the            Lately, the writing in email gener-

     Race to GED Message Appears on Unemployment Insurance Checks
       An agreement with the Virginia Em-          the check is attached to the stub. Recipi-    contact approximately five thousand
 ployment Commission (VEC) promises                ents of the checks who call the statewide     new, potential students each week of the
 to aid in recruitment efforts for the Race         GED helpline will be given information        campaign. As of October 6, according to
 to GED. Tens of thousands of poten-               about, and encouraged to contact, their       Tucker, 74,374 checks bearing the mes-
 tial students are now receiving a message         local programs for more information.          sage have been mailed. The VALRC has
 encouraging them to earn their GEDs.                   Woody Tucker, Chief of Benefits           hired an extra student worker and con-
 With the help of Dee Esser, Director of           for the VEC, stated that twenty-six to        tracted with a call center to help George
 the VEC, the Office of Adult Education              twenty-eight thousand checks are issued       Bailey and Jason Guard handle the ex-
 and Literacy has arranged for all unem-           weekly. He went on to explain that ap-        pected influx of calls. We will be doing
 ployment checks printed in the coming             proximately five thousand new check re-        our best to track the response generated
 months to include the message, “Pass the          cipients are added to the rolls each week,    from the checks and will let you know
 GED test and qualify for higher paying            while about the same number are taken         what the numbers look like in an up-
 jobs. Call toll free 877-37-MY-GED or             off due to individuals obtaining employ-       coming issue of Progress.              .:
 email” The message ap-               ment or having their benefits terminated
 pears just above the perforation where            for other reasons. Consequently, we will

                                                   The New Kids on the Block
                                                            he Resource Center would                 Lauren Ellington joins us as Online
                                                            like to welcome two new staff        Training Specialist. Lauren has spent
                                                            members. Debbie Bergtholdt          the last six years as a teacher in Colo-
                                                   joined us in August as a Program Devel-      nial Heights Public Schools. She has
                                                   opment Specialist. Debbie designs and        master’s degrees in both teaching and
                                                   implements training for teachers and         adult education with a specialization in
                                                   program managers based on their needs        distance learning. Her primary focus at
                                                   and the ever changing priorities of our      the Resource Center will be online pro-
                                                   business. She also monitors several list-    fessional development. In that capac-
                                                   servs in an effort to keep the field up to     ity, she will oversee our current online
     Join us in welcoming Debbie and Lauren        date on issues relating to adult educa-      courses and will contribute to the de-
     to the Resource Center. Debbie is our new
                                                   tion and literacy. You may reach Deb-        velopment of new courses. If you need
     program development specialist, and
     Lauren joins as online training specialist.   bie at:                 to contact Lauren, please send her an
                                                                                                email at:       .:

14                                                                                                                 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
                 Book Review
                 Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn:
                 A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults
                 Author: RAYMOND WLODKOWSKI / Review by DONALD FINN

           otivating learners to par-       Citing research, Wlodkowski estab-                 Wlodkowski later introduces 60
           ticipate in educational ac-      lishes the link between motivation and        specific motivational strategies that in-
           tivities is an issue faced by    the application of skills and principles      structors can integrate into their settings
instructors in all educational settings     learned in the classroom. The idea of         to help motivate their adult learners.
including those who instruct adults.        relevance of learning is reinforced often     Each strategy is presented in detail us-
Whether they teach in a GED,                with examples and scenarios from vari-        ing helpful examples and scenarios. The
ESOL, or workplace classroom, in-           ous instructional settings. The author        first 30 strategies are designed to create
structors are often challenged to keep      also discusses the unique characteristics     an inclusive environment for all learners
their learners “on task and enthusi-        of adult learners, including emotional        and an attitude toward the learning tasks
astic.” In the second edition of En-        and psychological considerations and          or units that is positive and anticipates
hancing Adult Motivation to Learn:          the multiplicity of demands that adults       success. Strategies 31 through 47 help
A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching          confront daily. Throughout the book,          the learner to develop meaning while
All Adults, Raymond Wlodkowski              Wlodkowski reinforces the positive rela-      engaged in learning activities with the
approaches the issue of motivating          tionship between motivated adult learn-       purposes of maintaining their attention,
adult learners from a 360-degree per-       ers and their achievement in the instruc-     evoking the interest of the learner, and
spective that includes looking at the       tional environment.                           engaging and challenging the learner.
roles of both adult learners and their           In chapter two, Wlodkowski ex-           Strategies 48 through 60 concentrate
instructors. According to the dust          plores the characteristics of instructors     on concluding lessons to help engender
jacket, “This valuable resource is for      who successfully motivate adults to learn     competence using assessment and com-
teachers, trainers, and anyone who          and take ownership of their learning. He      munication techniques.
wants learning to be a motivating ex-       asserts that adult learners act as “consum-        The final chapter provides the reader
perience for all adults.” Wlodkowski        ers” of education who enter into learning     with ideas for the successful integration
relies on an easy-to-follow writing         settings with “personally relevant goals.”    of the motivational strategies into the
style and presents the principles of        According to Wlodkowski, successful           learning setting. The author arranges the
adult education, instructional clarity,     adult instructors are those who possess       strategies in an easy-to-follow table, and
and motivation in an uncomplicated          a number of characteristics. One of the       he presents the reader with four specific
manner that clearly illustrates how         key characteristics is empathy toward         examples for applying the motivational
these elements are transferable to a        learners and their educational purposes       framework in the instructional planning
variety of adult education settings.        and goals. The concept of empathy to-         process. Through these examples, Wlod-
     My first exposure to Wlodkowski’s       ward adult learners is developed through      kowski demonstrates how instructors can
book came as I was conducting research      a discussion inspired by the writings of      choose appropriate motivational strate-
for a curriculum design course in my        Carl Rogers and Daniel Goleman. Em-           gies in the lesson building process that
doctoral program. Specifically, I was        pathy is presented in three parts:            develop competence in the learner and to
researching materials about the charac-       1. Having a realistic understanding         meet the objectives of each lesson.
teristics of effective adult education in-        of the learners’ goals, perspectives,         Once you read Enhancing Adult Mo-
structors. I found Wlodkowski’s ideas            and expectations for what is being       tivation to Learn, I think you will agree
so useful that I later integrated many           learned                                  that this book should be required reading
of his concepts into instructional op-        2. Adapting instruction to the learn-       for anyone who teaches adults, regardless
portunities I designed for the Resource          ers’ levels of experience and skill      of the setting.                          .:
Center, and I made it a required text for        development
the online, graduate-level introduction       3. A continuous consideration of the        Donald Finn, Jr., is the Higher Education
to adult learners course that I developed        learners’ perspectives and feelings      Disability Training Coordinator for Pro-
and taught.                                      Instructors who are empathetic to-       fessional Development Academy (PDA), a
     The book begins with a discussion of   ward their adult learners help their learn-   project of the Rehabilitation Research and
motivation and the impact that motiva-      ers to develop persistence and a love for     Training Center on Workplace Supports at
tion has on instructional effectiveness.     learning.                                     Virginia Commonwealth University.
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1                                                                                                         15
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
1015 West Main Street
PO Box 842020
Richmond, VA 23284-2020

Community Commitment:
How One NOVA Company is Supporting Literacy                                                by AL RAMSEY, PHD

     n Fauquier County, a man brought         Warrenton, VA, and many of its students      bridges for individuals and companies
     his family 9,000 miles from South-       participate in the organization’s ESL pro-   looking to contribute to community ser-
     east Asia to provide a higher quality    grams. Vaughne teaches two ESL classes       vice at the grass roots level, and there is
of life for his family; a couple from East-   per week, with students from countries       always room for more volunteers to join
ern Europe flew 4,000 miles to find a safe      as diverse as Mexico, Honduras, Colom-       such organizations.
haven for political freedom; and a woman      bia, Vietnam, and Russia. Vaughne has            There exists a great need in many
traveled 5,000 miles from South Ameri-        helped many of her students make signif-     Virginia communities for resources that
ca to find the opportunity to pursue her       icant progress with their literacy goals.    help immigrants get acclimated to the
dreams. There are many immigrants in               Because LVFC is a nonprofit orga-        U.S. The goal of LVFC is to improve the
the U.S. who have journeyed long dis-         nization, it relies on volunteers to make    basic communication for people in Fau-
tances in their pursuit of happiness, but     its programs work. What has helped           quier County, and many ESL students
physical relocation is only the beginning     enable Vaughne to volunteer her time is      are making measurable strides toward
of their journeys. Overcoming the gaps        her company’s community service pro-         their goals for literacy. Volunteers are
in culture, customs, and language will be     gram. She is a project manager at Vecna      stepping forward to help these students
the next daunting challenge they face,        Technologies, Inc. Vecna encourages its      reach their goals, and organizations are
and often these gaps are overwhelming.        employees to spend approximately 10%         making it possible for volunteers to come
Individuals such as Vaughne Donnelly          of their paid time volunteering in com-      forward and make a difference.           .:
recognize this problem and are stepping       munity service activities. “Enthusiasm
forward to do something about it.             drives employee commitment beyond            Al Ramsey, PhD., works as a software
     Vaughne is a volunteer tutor with the    work projects to substantial involvement     engineer for Vecna Technologies, Inc.,
Literacy Volunteers of Fauquier County        in community service,” says Deborah          in their Falls Church, VA, office. He is
(LVFC), a nonprofit organization that          Theobald, CEO of Vecna. There are also       also one of the community service coor-
provides literacy resources to adults in      organizations such as Greater DC Cares       dinators for Vecna and can be reached at
the local community. LVFC is based in         and that serve as

Description: Fast Food Company Retention Strategies document sample