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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 03-873



Availability of Workforce Investment Act, Title II, Section 223 Funds for State Leadership Activities for July 1, 2003--June 30, 2004

[33 Pa.B. 2279]

   These services are designed to strengthen the Pennsylvania Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) programs operated by the Department of Education (Department), Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education (Bureau) by providing Statewide support for leadership activities in Title II of the Workforce Investment Act described in the Unified State Plan 1999-2005.

   I.  Authorization.

   A.  Title II of The Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, provides funds to local eligible provider agencies through the Department for the establishment of adult education and family literacy programs that will:

   1.  Assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.

   2.  Assist adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children.

   3.  Assist adults in the completion of a secondary school education.

   B.  Eligible applicants include local education agencies (LEAs) and public or private nonprofit agencies, organizations and institutions. A for-profit agency is eligible to participate in the program only if it is part of a consortium with an LEA or other eligible sponsor, with the nonprofit agency acting as fiscal agent. A for-profit organization must also have the capability and capacity to augment significantly the adult education services of a consortium.

   Consistent with the purpose of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act for Program Year 2003-2004, the Department will give primary consideration to programs for the educationally disadvantaged.

   The Federal share of a grant will be 75% of the total cost of the program. The applicant must provide 25% match of the total cost of the program. The local match may be in kind. Other Federal funds may not be used for the local match unless specifically identified as eligible for use as matching funds.

   C.  Restrictions placed upon the Department by the United States Department of Education on the administration of the grant include:

   1.  Not more than 12.5% of the State's allotment shall be used for State Leadership Activities.

   2.  Not more than 5% of a local applicant's grant may be used for administrative costs, unless the Bureau approves a higher percent in advance.

   Letter of intent due:  May 23, 2003

   Application due:  June 13, 2003

   Note:  The Bureau reserves the right to consider proposals received after the deadline, and if appropriate, to approve them if and when funds become available.

   II.  Application Procedures and Program Guidelines.

   A letter of intent is due at the Bureau by May 23, 2003. The letter of intent should state the priority number for which the application is intended and a one-sentence description of the proposed project. Applications for State Leadership funds must be completed online and submitted by means of the e-grant website at to the Bureau. Instructions and the application guidelines are available through ABLEsite at and the e-grant website. Faxes will not be accepted.

   III. Funds for State Leadership Activities are made available under section 222(a)(2) for one or more of the following activities. Specific priorities that support these activities for Program Year 2003-2004 follow.

   1.  The establishment or operation of professional development programs to improve the quality of instruction provided pursuant to local activities required under section 231(b).

   2.  The provision of technical assistance to eligible providers of adult education and literacy activities.

   3.  The provision of technology assistance, including staff training, to eligible providers of adult education and literacy activities to enable the eligible providers to improve the quality of these activities.

   4.  The support of State or regional networks of literacy resource centers.

   5.  The monitoring and evaluation of the quality of, and improvement in, adult education and literacy activities.

   6.  Incentives for: (a) program coordination and integration; and (b) performance awards.

   7.  Developing and disseminating curricula.

   8. Other activities of Statewide significance that promote the purpose of this title.

   9. Coordination with existing support services, such as transportation, childcare and other assistance designed to increase rates of enrollment in, and successful completion of, adult education and literacy activities, to adults enrolled in these activities.

   10. Integration of literacy instruction and occupational skill training and promoting linkages with employers.

   11.  Linkages with postsecondary educational institutions.

Priorities State Leadership 2003-2004

1.  Communications for Professional Development

   Management of a project to provide for the design and/or publication of newsletters, reports, handbooks and brochures as needed by adult education providers in this Commonwealth. The project will direct and provide systematic communication and coordination for the Bureau, professional development service providers and adult basic and literacy education providers. The project will also include support of online and Internet web communications.

2.  Outstanding Adult Learners

   Management of an event that includes the identification, selection and recognition of ten exemplary adult learners enrolled in adult basic and literacy education programs whose success stories focus on the role of adult basic education in their lives. Approximately 2,000 copies of a success stories booklet featuring both past and current winners and their ABLE programs will be prepared, published and disseminated as requested by the Department. Promotional fliers featuring success stories students will be prepared and disseminated to winners' program providers. Applicant will coordinate with an identified Bureau staff person in the development of the project.

3.  Outstanding Adult Practitioners

   Management of an event to identify, select and honor outstanding adult education practitioners in this Commonwealth whose interaction with adult learners, colleagues and their programs is indicative of best practices in adult teaching and learning. Applicant will review the standards and performance indicators set forth by the Pennsylvania Adult Teachers Competencies project to use those criteria for the selection of excellent educators and instructors in keeping with their recommendations for expert practitioners. The applicant will coordinate with an identified Bureau staff person, a Project Educational Quality for Adult Literacy (EQUAL) representative and a professional development center coordinator in the development and implementation of the project.

4.  Review and Dissemination of Exemplary Projects

   Management of a project to review current and past section 353 and State Leadership Special Demonstration/Experimental and Professional Development Projects from this Commonwealth and from other states in designated topic areas to determine their significance and appropriateness for adoption/adaptation in this Commonwealth. The project should identify exemplary and innovative practices/approaches and provide for the Statewide dissemination of information through publication of the reviewed projects by way of a newsletter to be published at least six times a year.

5.  Support of Adult Education Professional Development

   Administration, fiscal management and support of Statewide adult basic education professional development activities and other Department activities to include provision for support of State Leadership requirements and initiatives under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, support of various adult basic and literacy conference activities, support of Act 42 Council activities and provision of honoraria for presenters at State-sponsored activities.

6.  Workplace Education Center

   Management of a project to promote and enhance communication and understanding among ABLE programs in regard to the systematic integration of workforce development concepts and work-based foundation skills services in this Commonwealth.

   Project Goals:  The successful applicant will describe how it will meet the following goals.

   1.  Establish and manage an advisory committee composed of representatives from the Bureau, ABLEworks projects and the regional professional development centers that will ensure the development and delivery of a consistent message to ABLE-funded administrators and practitioners and other departments and agencies related to the Workforce Investment Act.

   2.  Establish and maintain a centralized ABLE workplace education center to provide leadership for the integration of services through the identification, coordination, development and communication of the delivery of professional development opportunities related to best-practices in workplace/workforce education.

   *  Provide centralized and consistent training and technical assistance to support practitioners addressing work-related foundation skills in their programs, communities and workforce investment areas.

   *  Promote the projects associated with the ABLEworks Toolkit and coordinate the professional development activities of these projects with the professional development centers and the Toolkit project managers.

   3.   Serve as centralized information and resource clearinghouse for the promotion of evidence-based best practices related to Pennsylvania's Foundation Skills Framework.

7.  Planning for Change

   Provision of a Statewide system of consultants trained to provide individualized technical assistance to ABLE adult education coalitions, building on activities begun in the Planning for Change project funded in 2001-2002. Technical assistant consultants will guide and support adult education coalitions in attaining regional workforce development goals, including increased/improved communication with regional Workforce Investment Board and CareerLink Centers, and the development, implementation and monitoring of an Adult Education Coalition Workforce Plan. The project applicant should provide services Statewide, be broad-based and participate in the ABLEworks system developed by the Bureau.

8.  Development and Implementation of Professional Development Training in Core Areas

   Purpose: To continue to provide centralized support of a project for development and implementation of training topics in designated core content areas Statewide to adult basic and literacy education administrators and practitioners.

   Background:  In 1995-1996, the Bureau funded a project to review and select training materials for professional development in designated content areas. The project collected already developed training materials around core topics identified as a need in this Commonwealth and adapted them for use. The project identified topics and developed the materials to fill identified gaps in training and trained trainers to deliver the material. Since 1996, the Bureau has funded a project to continue the centralized management of training in core content areas, to adapt, adopt and develop materials, train trainers and to implement an evaluation component to evaluate the modules, trainers, trainings and to determine the impact of the trainings.

   Project Goals:  The applicant must describe how it will address the following program elements:

   1.  Provision of a centralized training and technical assistance system that supports Commonwealth practitioners providing educational services to this Commonwealth's adult learners.

   *  Delivery of uniform training products previously developed in core content areas such as assessment; ESL, GED, reading and math instruction; new teacher orientation; and using data.

   *  Identification and provision of training to participants who wish to become trainers for modules through a flexible and responsive system that ensures that each professional development region has trainers in their respective regions. When the need for a trainer in a region arises, the project must seek to meet that need in a timely manner.

   *  Support of trainers through the provision of train-the-trainer sessions, by monitoring their training sessions through field observations and telephone and electronic contact.

   *  Identification and support of lead trainers for each training module and assistance to them in providing technical services to training participants implementing the skills learned at the trainings.

   2.  Identification and adaptation/adoption of additional topics for trainings through data analysis, informal assessments, review of National and local priorities and an analysis of current topics versus topics requested to fill any professional development gaps.

   3.  Review and revision of new and existing modules as needed.

   *  Establishment of a steering group that includes PDC representatives to assist in the review and revision of training modules.

   *  Review of each module or topic currently being offered and the methods of its delivery to evaluate its relevancy and efficacy and make revisions as indicated by December 2003.

   *  Reconstruction of topics/modules and the sequencing of them in order that the needs of various levels of participants such as the new practitioner and the more experienced practitioner are met, with delivery to begin by February 2004, aligning the trainings with the Pennsylvania Adult Teacher Competencies and Administrator Competencies.

   4.   Provision of an evaluation component to evaluate the modules, trainers and trainer support system and to determine the impact of the trainings provided.

9.  Professional Development Center for Learning Differences/Disabilities

   Purpose:  To continue the provision of a centralized system of professional development for practitioners serving adults with adult learning differences/disabilities; to serve as an information clearinghouse for research and best practice in teaching adults with learning differences/disabilities; and to facilitate coordination of services to individuals with learning differences/disabilities among State and local agencies as provided in previous program years.

   Background:  Current research indicates that ABLE programs are serving significant numbers of individuals who have learning differences/disabilities. According to needs assessments conducted in this Commonwealth, many adult education practitioners feel unprepared for the challenges presented in the teaching of those adults. The Bureau recognizes the need to support adult education practitioners who are teaching adults with learning differences/disabilities in Bureau-sponsored programs. The Bureau desires to support practitioners by providing funds for a ''center'' that will continue efforts begun in previous years to coordinate a uniform and systematic approach to the provision of professional development for practitioners teaching adults with learning differences/disabilities and to continue to improve the quality of services offered to this population of learners as well as to all adult learners enrolled in ABLE programs.

   Project Goals:  The applicant must describe how it will address the following program elements:

   1.  Provide a centralized training and technical assistance system to support Commonwealth practitioners working with individuals with learning differences/disabilities.

   *  Develop and deliver a variety of training products and processes to address the needs of Commonwealth adult education practitioners in the areas of learning differences that reflect state-of-the-art research and development efforts.

   *  Coordinate existing activities related to the provisions of training and technical assistance for practitioners teaching individuals with learning differences/disabilities.

   *  Develop and implement a train-the-trainer system to certify and credential trainers to provide professional development to practitioners dealing specifically with learning differences and disabilities.

   *  Develop and implement a system of technical assistance that includes the maintenance of centralized points of contact and site-specific consultation.

   *  Coordinate the delivery of training with the Pennsylvania Adult Education Professional Development System including its Professional Development Centers, State Literacy Resource Center and Tutors for Literacy in this Commonwealth.

   2.   Serve as an information clearinghouse for research and best practices in teaching adults with learning differences/disabilities.

   *  Maintain expertise in the areas of adults with learning differences/disabilities for the purpose of identifying emerging best practices and research.

   *  Disseminate relevant and timely information related to special accommodations, research-based instructional planning, screening and identification, legal issues and other information related to serving adults with learning differences/disabilities.

   *  Coordinate information collection and dissemination with the State Adult Literacy Resource Center.

   3.   Facilitate the coordination of services to individuals with learning differences/disabilities among State and local agencies.

   *  Facilitate the leveraging of resources among State and local entities for the purpose of providing comprehensive services to individuals with learning differences/disabilities.

   *  Identify other state and local models of interagency coordination for individuals with learning differences/disabilities and assist in implementing them.

   *  Establish and maintain a working relationship with entities that serve individuals with learning differences/disabilities for the purpose of exchanging information and establishing interagency initiatives.

   *  Maintain a presence by representing the Commonwealth's efforts at National and State meetings, workshops and seminars.

   4.   Provide an evaluation component to evaluate the activities of the center, such as the trainers, trainings and outreach.

   10.  EQUAL: Continuous Program Improvement

   Purpose:  The successful applicant for this ongoing initiative within ABLE-funded agencies is tasked with ensuring the continuing evolution of a program improvement strategy for ABLE-funded agencies. The continuation should identify and assist in implementing multiple processes by which ABLE-funded agencies can demonstrate continuous program improvement. These processes may include inquiry-based processes and focus on building on a body of knowledge that can be used as a resource by all ABLE-funded agencies. This stage should also investigate strategies for creating training around the use of existing research as a component to decision making and also evaluating the value and relevance of ''scientifically based research.''

   Background:  Project EQUAL began in 1994 as a way to improve the quality of services provided to adult learners and to build a comprehensive accountability system capable of capturing the quality of the services. Starting as a pilot program in 1994 and adding ABLE-funded agencies each year, by 2000 continuous program improvement was implemented in all ABLE-funded agencies and had grown into a reflective process that focused on the collection and use of data for decision-making and reliable data for accountability. Continuous program improvement not only allowed the Bureau to comply with its enabling legislation but also ultimately improved the quality of services provided to individuals seeking ABLE services. In 2002, the Bureau commissioned an evaluation of Project EQUAL to determine what changes had occurred at the local level as a result of program improvement activities, how the field had perceived the value of the EQUAL technical assistance system and the type of training and technical assistance that would most help local programs as they continued to improve the quality of their services to their adult learners.

   Project Goals:  The successful applicant will:

   1.  Assist agencies in examining their organizational structure to determine the most effective strategies for implementing EQUAL within that structure. Programs should be assisted in ensuring that their program improvement teams are effective within the agency's structure.

   2.  Update and advise in the use of a self-assessment guide designed in the project and recommend other types of reflective tools that may be appropriate for agencies.

   3.  Support participatory planning at the local level through the provision of technical assistance offered by the project and the professional development centers.

   4.  Provide assistance as needed to agencies in the formation of a question about the program, the collection and analysis of data to determine appropriate activities for program improvement and the development of an action plan with appropriate steps to solve the identified problem.

   5.  Develop, as necessary, tools (materials and trainings) to assist program improvement teams in implementing the data for decision making process.

   6.  Update and revise materials around program improvement as needed.

   7.  Determine the needs of agencies, with the assistance of the Bureau, and recommend training needs to the agencies based upon the agency self-assessment and performance against the standards.

   8.  Through the Q-Stamp process, support the recognition of agencies that have made significant changes through program improvement that have allowed the program to improve services to the adult learners and meet and/or exceed standards.

   9.  Develop and publish a database for decision making logs that will serve as a resource tool to programs. Identify common issues to standardize information that may be of use to programs identifying a similar problem.

   10. Identify and differentiate issues that have been identified by programs that are management related or instructional related. Disseminate research findings on quality adult basic education operations and teaching and learning.

   11.  Maintain an EQUAL listserv.

   11.  ABLE Net: Statewide Technology Support Initiative

   Purpose:  The successful applicant for this ongoing initiative will support Bureau efforts in developing and sustaining the use of technology in agencies funded by the Bureau. The project will provide practitioners with necessary technical expertise and training that supports the use of technology in educational and administrative activities focusing on three particular areas: Statewide data collection and reporting, a registration and information system for the Bureau's Professional Development System and general support for the field of adult education.

   Background:  Recognizing the need to provide and support training and development for the providers of ABLE in the use of technology, the Bureau began funding the ABLE Net project in the mid 1990s. The project developed and assisted the use of technology for administrative needs and for teachers and learners in the classroom through the development and delivery of training around available technologies. The project provided technical assistance to funded agencies in their use of technology in their respective agencies. The project also piloted and evaluated computer technology and software, reviewed and made available specific written materials pertaining to data system operations, made revisions and upgrades to the Statewide data collection system and disseminated information on best practices in the use of technology.

   Project Goals:

   1.  Provide technical support, training and related services in support of the Bureau's Statewide web-based data collection and professional development information and registration system.

   2.  Develop and deliver trainings related to web-based systems to Bureau-funded agency staff.

   3.  Conduct data submission checks quarterly and provide a review of midyear data submissions from Bureau-funded agencies.

   4.  Conduct interim submission, review and feedback regarding professional development data that enables the professional development providers to develop and maintain sound data collection and reporting practices.

   5.  Develop and deliver training for agency staff that enables them to import and utilize data for program improvement and local management purposes.

   6.  Prepare, revise and edit Commonwealth-specific written materials pertaining to data system operations.

   7.  Provide the coordination, training and support of the Master Trainer initiative that includes the following certification modules:

   *  Access for exported data.

   *  Excel for exported data, FileMakerPro for exported data.

   *  Website design.

   *  Preparation of practitioners for online learning.

   *  Online instructor.

   8.  Provide coordination, training and support for the Agency Technology Point of Contact initiative.

   9.  Develop, deliver and evaluate web-based trainings that address training needs such as Core modules and other needs determined by the project, other professional development initiatives and the Bureau.

   10.  Maintain a comprehensive e-mail address book of adult basic and family literacy practitioners for use by the Bureau for announcements, instructions, and the like.

   11.  Test, evaluate and recommend data collection software and procedures.

   12.  Conduct focus groups, meetings and other activities to obtain input concerning data collection needs and concerns from ABLE-funded program and Bureau staff.

   13.  Develop and implement Best Practices in Data Collection modules.

   14.  Design, prepare and submit professional development participation reports to the Bureau and State professional development providers.

   15.  Provide support, encouragement and leadership for programs in the utilization of technology to meet administrative and instructional goals and performance standards.

   16.  Maintain the ABLE Net website as an educational and administrative technology resource for practitioners.

   17.  Review and update as needed the State's 3-year technology plan.

   18.  Assist the Bureau in developing and implementing web-based courses and activities to ensure that online offerings meet quality standards and the needs of practitioners.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-873. Filed for public inspection May 9, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]

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