Mrs. Suitt goes to Washington!

COABE Capitol Hill Day 2017

I had the great pleasure and honor to attend the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Capitol Hill Day on September 26th, 2017.  As COABE’s Student Engagement Chair, I was most excited about offering some training for student leaders and being present for the first ever student run meeting with Robin Juliano, from the House Committee on Appropriations.  Robin was extremely impressed by the students!

Maria Alvidrez, from the wonderful Queen Creek Adult Education Program represented AZ and attended all of my visits.  We met with staff in Rep. Gallego, Rep. Grijalva and Senator Flake’s office and met with Rep. O’Halleran.

The student Ambassadors did a phenomenal job running the meeting, telling their stories in a succinct and powerful way, asking great questions, answering Ms. Juliano’s questions and building a relationship with her.

Thanks to creator mamas Ami Magisos and Jennifer Stanowski, ring leaders Laura Porfirio and Mireya Escamillo who took Ambassadors from an internal training to an AALL sponsored statewide training and Kathy Budway who continued to nurture and improve the Ambassador Program…. It’s going NATIONAL.

COABE received funding from Dollar General and Aztec to fund Capitol Hill Day and to fund more adult learners and program teams getting trained on how to do their own Ambassador Programs.  A Train the Trainer session will be offered at COABE 2018 in Phoenix.

Next year, I hope to have triple the number of Ambassadors hitting the hill with their state association representatives.  At this year’s debrief, EVERY single person (50+) said that the student stories were the most powerful part of the visit.  Not just for the policy makers, but also for the staff.  Even those educators who had been in the field for decades learned something new.  Students, staff and policymakers were all transformed!

COABE’s Educate and Elevate campaign has already impacted the field.  Over 30,000+ contacts were made just prior to our Hill visits, so many staff and members already knew a little about adult education.

As I’ve said a hundred times, or so….

The best advocates are our students and successful advocacy includes three very important parts:

Data + Stories + Relationships 

We were lucky to have utilized each part successfully on our Capitol Hill Day 2017.

I have also included some of COABE’s fact sheets below:

 

 

Student Ambassadors Testify

On May 16th, 2017 two adult education ambassadors from Pima College Adult Basic Education for College and Career spoke eloquently before the Pima County Board of Supervisors thanking them for their support of adult education.

Recent GED graduate, Student Leadership Council Representative and AmeriCorps member, Alejandra de la Rosa shared her story about taking the GED exam and passing all of her tests. She also told the Pima County government representatives that her AmeriCorps service as a math tutor for other adult education students at the El Pueblo Liberty Learning Center helped her discover that she has a talent for teaching.  She is now reconsidering her career path. Alejandra will walk with hundreds of other HSE graduates on June 1st at the Tucson Convention Center at 7:00pm.

Faith Kelleher also expressed her gratitude for the County’s support. She told Supervisors that adult basic education helped her “get her life back.”  Faith’s heroic story of being abducted as a child and then escaping from a human trafficking ring in the US brought the audience to tears. After she earns her diploma, she wants to become a social worker and assist other young women and girls who have suffered in similar circumstances.  In the meantime, she enjoys the freedom to study math, reading and writing at the  29th St. Coalition Center. Faith also shares her story with other survivors about the necessity and benefits of community programs such as The Gospel Rescue Mission and Pima College Adult Basic Education.

National Volunteer Recognition Week!

Pima Community College Adult Basic Education for College and Career will recognize the amazing community members who work alongside our teachers and support staff to serve over 5,000 students every year. We could not do the work we do without the help of our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers work as classroom aides, one-on-one tutors, English club facilitators, computer and math lab assistants, and Transition to Jobs and Citizenship teachers.

There are volunteers at all three learning centers and many of our other Pima College locations working to help students increase their math skills, learn how to write descriptive essays, practice their job interview skills, and gain fluency in English.

Currently, we have 36 tutors, classroom aides, and English Club facilitators, 15 citizenship teachers and substitutes, and 3 Transition to Jobs volunteers.

Since July of 2016 through March 2017, volunteers have logged 1,091 service hours!

Our longest serving volunteer, Pete Yonsetto, has been a citizenship teacher for 17 years, teaching US history, civics and government to students preparing to become US citizens.Pete and Students

Pete says:   I am quite humbled to witness and be in the presence of such hard working, modest immigrants. They will grace our country with pride and joy, committed to bring their rich culture to our great nation and be wonderful stewards of this country.”

What teachers and students say:

“If you teach a multilevel class as I do, your volunteers are indispensable. Besides being proficient in their subject area, they need to develop a good working relationship with the students, they need to work well independently and they need to monitor each student’s progress so that they can provide me with valuable feedback. I appreciate their efforts and I know that I could not conduct a successful class without them.”

“Susan has been wonderful in addressing Marian’s goals. She has been very consistent and flexible, and has managed to keep Marian motivated to continue and be excited about learning.”

“What Ed, Ginnie, and Caroll are doing for our students goes way beyond investing the time to prepare materials then stand in front of a classroom. Their wealth of knowledge and experience in the US workplace paired with their supportive approach is exactly what our students need to be able to make it to the next level. The Transition to Jobs class wouldn’t be as rich and engaging without their contribution.”

“The Transition to Jobs class has been a wonderful experience, has helped me to better understand the US labor culture as well as to present my skills and work experience in a more professional way.

“Do your little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  -Desmond Tutu

The work our volunteers do is transformative. On behalf of Pima Community College, our Adult Basic Education Division and all our students…. Thank you! We extend our gratitude and admiration to all of our volunteers. You represent the mission, vision and values of ABECC, and our philosophy of being student centered.

THE Grant is in!

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PCC Adult Basic Education’s WIOA grant application was successfully submitted to the Arizona Department of Education at the end of February.  The grant is now going through a review process that includes screening for demonstrated effectiveness, review and feedback from the local Workforce Investment Board, and evaluation by the Arizona Department of Education – Adult Education Services Division.  Notification to successful grantees will be made in May.

As we wait to hear from the ADE, it is essential that the entire Adult Basic Education team prepare for implementation of all aspects of the grant.  The instruction and services laid out in our grant application are based on the high quality instruction and services we offer, with some additions and changes that will allow us to strengthen our collaborations and programming to continue to improve our services to students, in alignment with WIOA.

As we look at the ways in which we are “reaching for the stars” in improving programming, we must identify now what we need to do to prepare for full implementation in the new fiscal year.  It is essential that every member of the Adult Basic Education team contribute to the conversation and planning for implementation.  We would like to encourage all teachers and staff to become familiar with all parts of the grant application, above and beyond those parts they may have helped to write.

The entire grant application is below:

FY18 AZ Grant Application Package for PCC Adult Basic Education for College and Career

Below find the Request for Grant Applications:

http://www.azed.gov/adultedservices/adult-education-services/fy2018rfgaforazadulted/

 

 

 

 

 

We will be fine…

I thought I would share my message to our Adult Basic Education Division this morning…
Good morning,
I imagine that many of you and your students will have very mixed emotions about the election results.  That’s O.K and those mixed feelings and diverse opinions are what makes the United States of America great.  Listen to your colleagues and students with kindness and understanding.  In America, we honor election results and the democratic process.  We don’t tolerate sore losers or winners.  Take the opportunity, if it comes up, to teach about the process, the difference between local, state and federal elections… what each branch of government can or cannot do.  Don’t let assumptions rule your classroom, the majority of Americans are not racist or sexist or whatever the messages may be.
Here are some things to consider:
  • Teach a math lesson today
  • Embrace one another; protect your students and your center
  • Teach others how to speak up and advocate
  • Model tolerance and understanding
  • Teach others how to be responsible members of society; how to research facts; how to form valid arguments
  • Be nonpartisan
  • Advocate for your students and for education
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the results, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Comfort and protect each other… we will be fine.
Regina

 

PCC Celebrates Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

PCC Celebrates Adult Education & Family Literacy Weekfile_000

PCC’s Adult Basic Education for College & Career division started celebrating National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week a day early, and we kept on celebrating for a day after as well.file_000-2

Last Saturday, staff, student leaders, AmeriCorps members along with their family and friends worked on the courtyard to maintain and clear out the lovely plants and landscaping that that they started last year.  I stopped by on Monday to check out the progress, and it looked awesome!

Our Literacy Connects friend, Betty Stauffer had a wonderful op-ed published in the Star. It was a positive story about the literacy needs in our community.  http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/guest/betty-stauffer-literacy-is-the-foundation-of-a-community/article_5b9ca900-5645-52c2-88da-6e1a9be3d513.html

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On Monday, all of our teachers and instructional leaders attended an in service on formative assessment. They learned, reflected and practiced techniques to ensure students are learning and that teachers are delivering content in a culturally sensitive and respectful manner.  At the end of the day, the 50+ gathering split into open space groups to discuss a variety of topics.

Our Civics & Student Leadership program also participated in a Get out the Vote campaign at the YWCA with the League of Women Voters.  Did you know there are just over 500,000 people registered to vote in Pima County?  Did you know that in the last primary, only 30% of the eligible voters turned out?  That means, your three crazy friends are deciding the future for the 7 of us who are sane!

On Wednesday, KOLD’s Maria Hechanova did a story about our classes and interviewed a student.  Richard was open and honest about why he dropped out, how he had tried over and over for 10+ years, and that he was finally dedicated to finishing.  Watch for Richard in your classes, because I told him we would help him finish!  He wants to be a broadcast journalist when he finishes; and he wants to be a good role model for his kids. http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/33274891/pcc-recognizes-national-adult-education-family-literacy-week

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Also, on Wednesday, superstar Ambassadors, Laura Porfirio and BHS/IBEST HSE graduate Linda Langston were hobnobbing with policymakers in D.C. They met with both Arizona Senators or staff, Representatives Grijalva, McSally and others as well.  COABE sponsored the trip for nearly 50 advocates and held 100+ meetings with policymakers! They were able to tell them about the importantance of adult education for thousands in our community.  Linda was able to speak firsthand how adult education, her teachers and our programs changed her life. Laura secured a few tours this Fall, so watch for those bigwig visits as well.file_000-6

On Thursday, Telemundo came to do a story about our program as well. Teresa Moreno, Student Services Tech extraordinaire, handled the entire interview.

On Sunday, we ended the week with a large Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) accountability session. Over 500 people attended the session.  “All politics is local”, as House Speaker O’Neil was credited with saying… in a time where speaking about national politics can lead to angered friends and family feuds, pay attention to the local and state races  And more importantly, help your students see themselves and their issues in context – help them see why voting is important to them.   Many times, local policymakers are the most accessible and the most responsive.

Throughout the week, there were highlights, facts and figures posted on social media.  The purpose of National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week is to raise file_000-5awareness about what adult education is and why it is so important for our nation.  I think we did that!

 

Pima County Re-entry Coalition Fair

Pima County Re-entry Coalition Fair

The first annual Pima County Re-entry Coalition fair was held Saturday April 30th, 2016 at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex.  This fair highlighted the progress made in re-entry efforts and the enormous network the Pima County Re-entry Coalition has developed over the past 7 years.  It is important work and we are proud to be part of the effort inside the Pima County Adult Detention Complex and outside on the Coalition.

Over 30 community programs were set up to showcase opportunities and resources for individuals looking to move forward in the community after incarceration.

According to John Hindman, PCC’s 17+ year veteran Instructor at the Jail, “It was great to talk to people taking an active role in their family member’s transition from incarcerated to returning to the community.”

KVOA news covered the event.

http://www.kvoa.com/story/31857469/pcsd-service-providers-helping-ex-convicts-move-forward

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Qian Prescott, Chris Parisoff, and John Hindman staffed a booth for Pima Community College and were able to talk to many families of current and future students.

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Qian Prescott, John Hindman and Sheriff Chris Nanos