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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 96-11


Availability of Funds Under the Adult Education Act, Section 353 Funds for Special Experimental Demonstration and Staff Development Projects for Adult Basic Education for Program Year 1996-97

[26 Pa.B. 34]

I.  Authorization

   A.  Section 353 of the Adult Education Act, P. L. 91-230, as amended by the National Literacy Act of 1991, requires the Department of Education (DOE), through its State Plan for Adult Education, to use not less than 15% of its annual Federal allotment of adult education funds from the United States Department of Education for special experimental demonstration and teacher training (staff development) adult education projects, as defined in the Act.

   B.  The Federal objectives for these grants are to:

   ''1.  Promote special projects which will be carried out in furtherance of the purposes of the Act and which--

   a.  involve the use of innovative methods (including methods for educating persons with handicaps, the homeless, and persons of limited English proficiency), systems, materials, or programs which may have National significance or will be of special value in promoting effective programs under this title, or

   b.  involve programs of adult education, including education for persons with handicaps, the homeless, and persons of limited English proficiency, which are part of community school programs, carried out in cooperation with other Federal, State or local programs which show unusual promise in promoting a comprehensive or coordinated approach to the problems of persons with educational deficiencies; and

   2.  Train persons engaged, or preparing to engage, as personnel in programs designed to carry out the purposes of this title.''

   C.  The State objectives for these grants are to strengthen Pennsylvania's adult basic education programs through research, evaluation and demonstration of methods, programs, techniques, or operational/administrative systems to improve adult education services (special experimental demonstration projects) and to provide training for personnel working in or preparing to work in adult basic education programs (staff development). Emphasis on staff development will be on the following:

   1.  Training for full-time professional adult educators;

   2.  Training for minority educators;

   3.  Training for educators of adults with limited English proficiency; and

   4.  Training teachers to recognize and more effectively serve illiterate individuals with learning disabilities and individuals who have a reading ability below the 5th grade level.

II.  Special 353 Priorities for 1996-97

   The following Section 353 priorities for 1995-96 have been developed as a result of suggestions/recommendations by adult education providers throughout the State, by Section 353 Task Force members, and by DOE Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education staff. Priorities fall in three general categories as follows: A. Special experimental demonstration projects for Statewide or regional impact; B. Staff development projects designed for Statewide or regional impact; C. Mini-grant projects of up to $5,000 designed to assist programs with the adoption or adaptation of exemplary projects; with the development of an experimental demonstration project designed for local impact; or to address individual program needs in staff development.

Fiscal Year 1996-97 Priorities 353

   A.  Special Demonstration

   1.  Reporting Student Data--Examine recurring issues in the reporting of student enrollment, completions, early separations, and outcomes. To conduct onsite visitations of at least 10 agencies to evaluate how staff record student termination, assessment and outcomes data. To use the findings to design a survey of all programs. To convene a committee of adult education professionals to evaluate the findings and propose definitions for the following:

   *  Student completion, advancement and early separation.

   *  Number of levels advanced.

   *  Levels completed and when these levels constitute successful completion of the program.

   *  Obtaining a job or advancing in a job, meeting personal objective, completing a level, learning English.

   *  Other outcomes included on the student form.

   Submit findings for evaluation by ABLE and then train RSDC staff on the new criteria adopted for student reporting. This project will work under the direct supervision of the Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education.

   2.  PDE Student/Staff/Tutor Database--Continue the development of a student/staff information management system which incorporates the requirements of the local adult education agencies and ABLE. The applicants for this project shall survey participants in the PC Database project and evaluate problems to be corrected in the revised database system. The project must incorporate the programming already developed under Contract 98-6007.

   Provide technical assistance to agencies submitting student and staff data by means of a database exported from Filemaker Pro. Prepare a macro which will export the required data in a format established by DOE.

   3.  Adult Learner Competencies--Develop a list of competencies for adult learners as workers, members of families and citizens in the community. The project must synthesize existing listings of learner competencies including SCANS, CASAS, and the like, to reflect a Pennsylvania specific adult learner competency list. The project must use a committee of adult education practitioners to review, revise and approve the learner competencies. The project will be directly supervised by the Bureau of ABLE.

   4.  High School Completion--Building on the activities begun in FY 1995-96, continue the development and implementation of an alternative diploma program as outlined in Contract #98-6015. Successful applicants will work under direct supervision of the Bureau of ABLE.

   5.  Community Planning--Building upon an existing community-based literacy planning effort, Building Communities for Learning, the project will fund a Statewide organization to develop and implement local pilot sites that build upon current efforts. The project must provide training and technical assistance to the pilots and develop a system of ''mentoring communities.''

   6.  School-to-Work--Develop a model meeting the objectives of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act initiative that incorporates the common features of school-based and work-based learning for adult learners. The model must be coordinated with an identified School-to-Work Local Partnership and build upon the out-of-school youth component for adults over the age of 24 years. The applicant must be signed on to the Local Partnership Compact and be tied to training for the incumbent workforce. Preference will be given to applicants that are involved in or have been involved in School-to-Work planning grants.

   7.  Student Recognition--Manage an event that includes the technical editing of field-submitted student success stories focusing on the role of adult education in the lives of the nominated students; the interviewing and photographing of ten finalists; and the preparation, publication and dissemination of a Success Stories booklet including suggested adaptations for local program use. Applicants will collaborate with an identified staff person in the Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education in the development of the project. Applicants must plan for a circulation of approximately 2,000 copies across the Commonwealth with distribution as requested by the Department of Education.

   8.  Post-Secondary Basic Education--Utilizing existing data sources and surveying 2 and 4 year post-secondary institutions, determine the extent to which such institutions must remediate basic skills as a prerequisite to college level and technical course work. Documentation of the number of students involved in such courses and also the number who are matriculating through continuing education programs. To assemble adult basic and continuing education professionals to assess the extent to which the adult education model might meet these needs.

   B.  Staff Development

   1.  Regional system for the effective delivery of staff development to local program providers. The staff development proposals should be designed to provide staff development opportunities in the following geographic regions:

   Region 1:  Erie, Warren, McKean, Cameron, Elk, Forest, Venango, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Butler, Clarion, Armstrong, Jefferson, Beaver.

   Region 2:  Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union.

   Region 3:  Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Northampton, Lehigh, Schuylkill, Berks, Lebanon, Lancaster, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks.

   Region 4:  Indiana, Westmoreland, Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Fayette.

   Region 5:  Somerset, Cambria, Bedford, Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Adams, York.

   Region 6:  Philadelphia.

   The letter of intent should state in which region the applicant proposes to provide staff development services. The Bureau will provide interested applicants with specific instructions to be followed in preparing an application for a Regional Staff Development project.

   2.  Training Development--Coordinate the review and selection of training materials for professional development in five designated content areas. The project must collect existing training modules, review for applicability and adapt those materials for use in Pennsylvania. The project must identify existing content area specialists in the Commonwealth and engage them in a committee process to develop the training materials and procedures. Each committee must have approximately five members and meet one time. The project will be directly supervised by the Bureau of ABLE.

   3.  Summer Institutes--Administrative, fiscal management and support for Statewide adult basic education Summer Institutes for administrators, teachers, counselors and volunteers. Please state which topic you wish to make an application in the letter of intent. The Bureau will provide interested applicants with specific instructions to be followed in developing the application for a summer institute.

   1.  Technology

   2.  New teacher orientation

   3.  ESL

   4.  Collaborative learning

   5.  Other

   4.  Learning Differences--Deliver Statewide training and technical assistance on learning differences through the Regional Staff Development Centers. The project application must address how the training and technical assistance will incorporate work being done Nationally through projects such as the National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center and the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. The application must also address how the training will be delivered in relationship to ABLE's Guiding Principles for Professional Development.

   5.  Practitioner Inquiry/Action Research--Continue the development and implementation of the practice of action research/practitioner inquiry into established adult basic and literacy education agencies. Working through Regional Staff Development Centers, the applicants should include development of models that an entire agency uses as a primary means of staff development. This project should build on the models currently implemented within the State as well as Nationally. Desired components include a networking system for participants, training manuals, development of a leadership cadre, and monographs of practitioner projects.

   6.  Administrative, fiscal management and support for Statewide adult basic education staff development activities and other Department of Education activities that include: 1) provision for a series of meetings of the State Plan Task Force; 2) provision for a series of hearings on the revised State Plan; 3) provision for support of special demonstration and staff development activities that include honoraria for presenters at State-sponsored activities; 4) provisions for Section 353 special projects and staff development presentations at Statewide conferences.

   7.  Adult Education Newsletter--A general adult basic education newsletter to be published a minimum of 5 times a year at a length of eight pages or longer in order to disseminate 353 information, in-service techniques, and other areas and items of interest to adult basic education practitioners and program supporters in Pennsylvania. Applicants must plan for a circulation of approximately 2,500 copies across the Commonwealth with distribution as requested by the Department of Education for the duration of the project.

   8.  Dissemination of 353 projects--A publication for the effective and Statewide dissemination of significant current or previous 353 special demonstration or staff development projects to be published a minimum of six times a year at a length of four pages or more. The reviewed projects need not be limited to those produced in Pennsylvania but may draw upon exemplary projects and practices in other states. Applicants must plan for a circulation of approximately 2,500 copies across the Commonwealth with distribution as requested by the Department of Education.

   C.  Mini Grants--applications of up to $5,000 designed to address either:

   1.  Special Experimental Demonstration, or

   2.  Staff Development.

   The Bureau encourages adaption/adoption of exemplary projects/practices through this priority. Applicants must show how they intend to meet local needs through the development of a mini grant.

III.  General Instructions

   A.  This is a competitive grant process. Eligible applicants include State educational agencies, local educational agencies and public and private nonprofit agencies, organizations and institutions. Funding will be for programs accomplished during the period July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1997.

   B.  A minimum of 25% non-Federal/non-State funds is required as a local match for the grant. This local match may be cash or in-kind.

   C.  Applications within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for grants under Section 353 of the Adult Education Act are screened and evaluated at the Department of Education by a Section 353 Task Force made up of experts in the adult education field. Proposals with merit which have the most potential of achieving high priority objectives of the Adult Education Act and the Pennsylvania Adult Education Plan at the most reasonable cost will be funded, subject to the availability of funds.

   D.  Applications must address only one of the priorities listed in the priorities in Section II. Any application which addresses more than one priority will not be considered for funding.

   E.  Prior to submitting an application for a Special Demonstration Project applicants should review the literature that relates to a potential project using the appropriate State Literacy Resource Center (AdvancE or Western Pennsylvania State Literacy Resource Center) to ensure the uniqueness or applicability of the proposed project. The results of this review must be addressed in the application.

   F.  Section 353 proposals also should be reflective, as much as possible, of the goals, objectives and activities of the Pennsylvania--Adult Education State Plan: Fiscal Years 1990-94. Applicants should consult this plan as they prepare proposals. Copies of the plan are available at the State Literacy Resource Centers.

   G.  For the purposes of these Section 353 Funds, an adult is defined as an out-of-school youth who is 16 years of age or older. Adult Basic Education (ABE) encompasses instruction at the 0-8 grade level; General Educational Development (GED) encompasses instruction to enable undereducated adults to successfully pass the GED test; (9-12 grade level) and English As a Second Language (ESL) encompasses instruction of English to adults whose primary language is not English.

   H.  Prospective applicants who desire application forms, and application guidelines, should request those materials by submitting a letter of intent to apply for a grant to the address below by January 29, 1996 (proposal will be due March 8, 1996). The letter of intent should state which priority in Section II and the particular topic the applicant intends to address in the proposal and include a one sentence description of the purposes of the project. A letter of intent must be submitted for each separately proposed project application. These letters of intent may not be faxed to the Bureau. Upon receipt of the letter of intent at the Bureau, the potential applicant will be provided a copy of the guidelines to use in the preparation of the application.

   Chief, Special Programs and Projects Division, Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 333 Market Street, 12th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 96-11. Filed for public inspection January 5, 1996, 9:00 a.m.]

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