Adult and Family Literacy Cluster of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation
Most of the promising practices highlighted in this collection come from members of the Adult and Family Literacy Cluster funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. A part of the Foundation's Adult Literacy Initiative, this Cluster is currently comprised of providers of adult or family literacy services, including English for Speakers of Other Languages, in five New England states:
- Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning Center, RI
- Immigrant Learning Center, MA
- Intergenerational Literacy Project, MA
- Maine Humanities Council's New Books New Readers program, ME
- Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, VT
- Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative, RI
- ROCA, MA
- WERACE, CT
Other adult education centers whose promising practices are featured in this collection are:
- Jamaica Plain Adult Learning Program, MA
The current collection of promising practices is comprised of the following:
- Career Academy that helps students to develop marketable employability skills while continuing their basic education.
- Collaborative Approach to Adult and Family Literacy in a Rural Area where several partner agencies work together and share resources to make available a wide range of coordinated services under one roof with transportation for adults and their children;
- ESOL at the Ready: Making Study Acessible documents a relatively low-cost approach that draws on free online teaching resources to providing distance learning opportunities for ESOL students who may be waiting to get into classes or have had to stop out.
- Learning Resource Center that enables students to learn at their own pace until they can commit to a full-fledged educational program;
- New Books, New Readers, a theme-based book discussion series led by a scholar-facilitators that engages new adult readers in reading and thought-provoking discussion and stimulates a love of reading;
- Promoting Immigrants as Assets, established by ILC as a permanent Public Education Program to educate the public about the positive impact immigrants have on the country, the economy, and communities;
- Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative, a collaboration of five public libraries united by the goal of being responsive to the changing literacy and language needs of the communities they serve;
- Student Assessment and Program Evaluation system that enables the program to present to all its stakeholders countable outcomes as well as narrative student and program success stories;
- Supporting Literacy Within Families, as its general goal supports families in working with their children at home, both to foster literacy within the family and to strengthen children's literacy development at school;
- Teaching Beginning ESOL Through Story Books, a way to help adults increase their vocabulary and comprehension while also engaging them in discussions about themes such as fairness and friendship;
- Values-Based Adult Education: Peace Circles is a process for conflict resolution, decision making, community building, healing and support.
These promising practices advance this Cluster's goal to improve practice in the field of adult literacy. They have been identified by each program that is featured, and peer reviewed in the Cluster's quarterly meetings hosted by the program being featured. In selecting a practice for inclusion in this collection, the Cluster considered the following criteria:
- Evidence of effectiveness and measurable outcomes
- Replicability by other adult and family literacy providers
- Low cost or affordable
Each practice holds promise to serve as a model for other adult or family literacy providers to adapt for their needs and context. We tried to narrow the descriptions down to the essence of the practice, and provide contact information should you want to learn more about it.
The promising practice process has been made possible by the generous and visionary support of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. The Foundation has sought to maximize the impact of its grant dollars by also investing in its grantees' and the adult literacy field's continuous improvement. In that effort, the Foundation has partnered with the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education. NELRC serves as an intermediary that facilitates and manages the Cluster's work.