From Advanced Education: Informing the Direction of CALP through the PD System
Amanda Giang (she/her), Advanced Education
This week's blog comes to you from the CALP Team at Alberta Advanced Education.
You may remember that, in the 2016/2017 CALP Final Report, Advanced Education asked you about your awareness of the opportunities you have to inform the direction of the Community Adult Learning Program (CALP). While many of you have already been providing input into the CALP system, others are not familiar with the opportunities that are available to share feedback. We would like to take this space to discuss how you can become involved in informing the direction of CALP, specifically through the professional development (PD) system.
CALP is a community of practice
As part of the CALP system, you have a number of professional development resources and supports to help you succeed in your work to make a difference for adult foundational learners:
- The Community Learning Network facilitates regional and provincial networking at Regional Meetings, the Literacy and Learning Symposium and online through coffee hours, the CALP Portal and regional study groups; CLN’s staff, including the Regional Support Staff (RSS) provide specialized support, such as coaching and mentoring for your organization’s staff and volunteers.
- NorQuest College’s ESL Rural Routes Program and its team of Advisors helps you build capacity to deliver ELL programs and work with ELL learners.
- The Professional Development Specialists (PDS) at the Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association (ECALA) and Calgary Learns, much like the Regional Support Staff, provide specialized support to Granting Council recipient organizations in their respective cities.
Together, the Community Learning Network, ESL Rural Routes, and the Professional Development Specialists make up the Regional Support Network, which not only helps you to build the knowledge and skills you need in your work, but helps you to engage with your peers in professional communities, and supports you to be leaders in shaping the CALP PD system.
Your Professional Development Advisory Committee
The Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) provides a platform for discussion about PD in the CALP system. Committee members share perspectives on the PD needs of system staff, the effectiveness of current system investments to meet those needs, and provide advice to Advanced Education. This group works to ensure that investments in PD are responsive to your needs.
PDAC includes a number of PD providers from across the province, as well as representatives from CALP-funded organizations and Comprehensive Community Institutions. The broad representation ensures we have both PD provider and PD user perspectives at the table.
What has PDAC been up to?
The first cohort of PDAC spent a lot of time brainstorming about needs and trends of CALP staff, and came up with a number of priorities to fill gaps identified in the PD system, including:
- Learner-focused assessment
- English Language Learner and newcomer support
- Indigenous learner needs
- Literacy and foundational learning program development
In response, Advanced Education and the Community Learning Network held a Request for PD Project Applications. PDAC has been instrumental in providing their input on the Applications, and its work led to the development of 7 projects, many of which have been completed:
- Reading Assessment (Bow Valley College)
- Training Your Tutors (Bow Valley College)
- Indigenous Learning in the CALP Model: Creating Safer Spaces (Manning Community Adult Learning & Literacy) Note: This link directs to the description of a previous event.
- Tech Talk (Literacy for Life) Note: This link directs to the description of a previous event.
- Foundational Numeracy and Literacy Courses (NorQuest College)
- Engaging with Indigenous Learners (University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills) Note: This link directs to the description of a previous event.
- Creating Ethical Space for Educators and Indigenous Learners (Calgary Learns)
We know many of you have already taken the opportunity to participate in these PD opportunities, such as pilots at the Literacy and Learning Symposium, and have shared your feedback. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! We encourage you to contact your RSS or PDS if you are interested in bringing any of these PD opportunities to your community.
Your representatives on PDAC
Each CALP region, including Calgary and Edmonton, is represented on PDAC. Currently, your fellow CALP practitioners on PDAC are:
- Teryl Enevoldsen, Fox Creek Adult Education Program (North)
- Dyan Semple, CALLS Fort Saskatchewan & Strathcona County (West-Central)
- Alyssa McPhail, The Learning Centre Literacy Association (Edmonton)
- Nada Jerkovic, CanLearn Society (Calgary)
- Jana Thomson, Rocky Learning Centre (Central)
- Kate Glover, Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Society (South)
- Claudinei Saunders-Cruz, Wainwright Adult Learning (East-Central)
- Darlene Thompson, Lac La Biche Regional Awasisak and Family Development Circle Association (Metis Settlements)
PDAC meeting in Edmonton, February 2018.
Part of your representative’s role on PDAC is to bring information to the table for discussion. We encourage you to connect with your regional representative on PDAC, either through email or in-person, to discuss CALP PD, share any challenges you’re facing, or identify PD needs that are not currently being met in your region or across the province. Talking to your PDAC representative is just one way in which you can have your voice heard and help us shape the direction of the CALP PD system!
Regional representatives hold a term of two years, and we will be holding another call for Expressions of Interest in the coming year. If you are a CALP Practitioner who is interested in directly participating in the conversation, please stay tuned for future calls!
PDAC has convened a sub-committee dedicated to the evaluation of the CALP PD system, guided by the PD Logic Model.
The Evaluation sub-committee works with Advanced Education, training partners, and CALP staff to meet 3 ultimate outcomes:
1. CALP Staff acquire knowledge and skills they need from CALP PD. An example of current work we are undertaking to reach this outcome is the development of the new Family Literacy Required Training. The training will help CALP practitioners to deliver adult literacy and foundational learning programs using family literacy as a mode of delivery.
To measure our progress in this area, CALP PD providers and Advanced Education are collecting data about how you think PD is helping you in your role:
- Do you feel that you have access to the PD you need for your role in CALP?
- Is the training relevant to your work supporting adult foundational learners?\
- How do you rate the quality of the delivery of the PD?
- Does the PD you access help you feel more confident in your work?
- Are you integrating the things you learn from PD into your professional practice?
2. CALP staff are actively engaged in professional communities. One way we are supporting this outcome is through an extension to the Tech Talk project. The project developer, Literacy for Life, identified that there is a need for continued connections with peers after training, so that the training will have lasting impact. Literacy for Life will use the CALP Portal to make resources accessible to CALPs, and allow practitioners from all over the province to share ideas and ask questions, thereby strengthening the CALP community of practice.
To measure how supporting and strengthening professional communities impact CALP staff and their work, we are collecting data from you about your participation in professional communities, about whether you integrate or implement ideas or practices you learn from others in the system, and how you share your own knowledge and expertise with others.
3. CALP staff are leaders and actively shape the CALP PD system. As CALP staff, you can provide your input on your PD needs through various ways. The 4 PD providers mentioned above (CLN, Rural Routes, ECALA, and Calgary Learns) are members of the Evaluation Sub-committee, and work closely with our team at Advanced Education to continuously improve PD for our CALP partners across the province. So if you would like to share your thoughts on CALP PD, feel free to reach out to your Grant Manager, Regional Support Staff, Professional Development Specialist, Rural Routes Advisor, or PDAC representative. All their contact information can be found here on the CALP Portal, which is itself a very informative resource on all things CALP!
You inform the decisions made at PDAC and on the CALP PD system
We cannot emphasize enough that we want to hear from you on your PD needs! In addition to CALP Applications and Final Reports, you can inform the direction of PD in CALP by several ways.
A really important way that you can share your input will be by completing the new Annual PD Survey in the spring of 2019! Advanced Education and the PD providers have collaborated to develop one joint survey on the CALP PD system, which will inform the department, PD providers, and the rest of the CALP system on the impact of provincial investments. Survey results will serve as indicators of progress towards the PD Logic Model vision: CALP staff strive for excellence in priority areas to change the lives of adult foundational learners. We know that “survey fatigue” is a real thing, so we have worked hard to reduce the number of surveys you need to fill out. Whether you have accessed CALP-funded services or supports from the Community Learning Network, Calgary Learns, ECALA and/or Rural Routes, this survey will allow you to provide anonymous feedback and input into the CALP PD system.
Your voice matters, so we really encourage you to share it with us so that we can shape the direction of the PD system together, whether it is:
- Participating on PDAC or raising PD concerns or ideas with your PDAC representative.
- Completing an online survey about CALP.
- Making a suggestion to your grant manager, CLN staff PDS, and/or Rural Routes Advisor about how to improve CALP.
- Contributing to the development of a PD project.
- Participating in a face-to-face focus group.
We appreciate any input that you can provide, as it helps our team and the PD providers to measure the impact of the work we do to support you in your role.
Thanks for reading!
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