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What is a Literacy Zone? A reform initiative from the NYS Board of Regents and NYSED to close the achievement gap in communities with concentrated poverty.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a Literacy Zone? A reform initiative from the NYS Board of Regents and NYSED to close the achievement gap in communities with concentrated poverty."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a Literacy Zone? A reform initiative from the NYS Board of Regents and NYSED to close the achievement gap in communities with concentrated poverty and families having limited literacy or English proficiency. Provide a holistic focus on meeting the literacy needs of community members by providing instructional programs in adult literacy below the post-secondary level. Primary are to assist adults access pathways out of poverty, improve basic education (literacy, numeracy, lifelong learning) and strengthen family support for childrens education.

2 Are there Literacy Zones in every community? No. There are 18 LZs statewide. Adult education providers had to apply for these funds through a competitive grant process. The adult education community anticipates that more than a dozen new LZs will be funded in the coming year.

3 Collaborations are worthwhile! They pull together many ideas, talents and resources! Successful partnerships require time and trust to build. Trust and dependability are key issues. Successful partnerships transcend different organizational and community cultures in the interest of the big picture: a better future for their constituencies. See Like Farming

4 How were the partnerships established? November of 2008 – invitation distributed to colleagues, asking them to share with their networks (copy of invite in packets) December – 2nd meeting, more people, different people Meetings through July 2009 when proposal submitted Many of us had worked together before Some met for the first time Some of us knew one another, but had never worked directly It was important that we had open discussions, admitted our hesitancies and discussed our frustrations.

5 "Building Partnerships" You need to go beyond mere cooperation. Its about collaboration: the act of working with another or others on a joint project … something created by working jointly with another or others Who are your stakeholders? What are the common issues, resources, and challenges among potential partners?

6 What has worked well in building our partnership? Decision makers attended first meetings, made the commitment, then sent key people People were willing to take calculated risks Creative problem solving Ability to trust when someone gave their word People either followed through, or told us they had to retreat

7 Who are the guiding coalition partners involved in the Amsterdam Literacy Zone? The original guiding coalition of the Amsterdam Literacy Zone include: Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery (HFM) BOCES Montgomery County Literacy Project (MCLP) Fulmont Community Action Agency (FCAA) Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC) Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD) Resource Center for Independent Living

8 Other agencies that have become involved as we gained momentum: Centro Civico of Amsterdam FMS Workforce Solutions Center Fulton-Montgomery County Mental Health SEFCU Catholic Charities Cooperative Extension WMHT

9 Who does the Amsterdam Literacy Zone serve? Targeted LZ services are available to families living in the Greater Amsterdam School District. Support and linkages to existing services will be available for: GED graduates as they transition to postsecondary education or advanced training Parents who want to improve their own academic skills so they can support their children Adults who want to explore vocational choices and new career paths Unemployed and under-employed individuals seeking ways to improve employment skills Former criminal offenders who need assistance for successful re- integration into the community Immigrants who want to improve English-language proficiency and prepare for the citizenship exam Mature workers and senior citizens to refresh work readiness skills Individuals with disabilities to access appropriate educational, vocational, and rehabilitation services US service veterans and family members transitioning to civilian life

10 How does a Literacy Zone address these needs? WOW! Check out the Partnership Matrix for a sampling! (Found in your packet)

11 An overview of services in the Amsterdam Literacy Zone: ALZ facilitates access to coordinated services that are available through many service providers in the community. Process begins with: Recruitment, orientation, & assessment Continues with: Case management, including referral services, Active assistance to individuals and families with various needs (referrals to food pantries, free clothing. counseling, translation of document, training)

12 What are we most proud in the Amsterdam ALZ? The expansion of programs: Targeting the NRS level 3 students (Reading & Writing grade levels of 6- 8) Providing online instructional opportunities to further individualize instruction The vast array of learning materials To finesse instruction to individuals who need developmental skills The expansion of related learning opportunities – health& financial literary, civic involvement, citizenship preparation, navigation of complex systems (citizenship, health care, etc.), family involvement Expansion of ESL services - more classes, more variety Involvement in school activities – Agricultural Literacy Week, Wellness Day, Literacy Night, Family Fun Night Increasing awareness of available services Expansion of collaboration with the FMS Workforce Solutions Center & FMCC

13 Quality staff: Well-trained educators who are truly dedicated to positive student outcomes Dedication to continuous improvement through professional development Competitive compensation packages that allow us to attract and retain staff Wrap-around services that are crucial to student success Expand relationships with community partners to enhance service

14 What are our visions for continued enhancements? One location within the Zone to allow greater centralization of services Expanding our presence and involvement in the GASD schools Enhancing our college transition program with FMCC, as well as other post-secondary providers

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