Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Regional Consortia Game in Translation

Finally!  What we've all been waiting for!

Information about how the Regional Consortia will work
Reminder:  In the new system, K12 Adult Schools and Community colleges and any other providers of Adult Ed, such as Jails and Prisons, will work together to decide who teaches what to whom - region by region.  Each consortium will have one fiscal agent - the "banker."  The fiscal agent can be a K12 Adult School or a Community College. 
in the form of a letter from Tom Torlakson and Brice Harris

explaining how the planning process for the new Regional Consortia system will work

hit the "read more" link to understand

- in other words, the rules of the game we've all been waiting to play.

I am a teacher and a mom and someone who loves games so I'm going to break this letter down like I'd break down the rules for a game that can be pretty confusing when you first look at the directions.

Please don't take this as a sign of disrespect.

How I get through life.

This is how I get through life.

I try to pack my joy in with my persistence,

and I'll tell ya,

I do tend to get further faster when I do.

Okay, hang on to your hats, here we go -

The top of the letter has their names and contact info:
Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of the California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 | 916-319-0800
Brice Harris, Chancellor of the California Community College Chancellor's Office
1102 Q Street, Suite 4554, Sacramento, CA 95811 | 916.445.8752
And the date:  September 16, 2013

And then we get right to it:
Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Community College Administrators

and the rest of us - I just threw that part in because you know, we matter!
The 2013–14 State Budget appropriated $25 million to the California Community College Chancellors Office (CCCCO) to allocate funding for two-year planning and implementation grants.

There's 25 million bucks to do this planning thing and the Community College system is the "banker" for the money.

The funds will be provided to eligible consortia for the purpose of developing regional plans for adult education.

The money goes to the groups who have gotten it together and become a "consortia" - in other words, they did what we want kids to do when they play a game - pick teams, get along with your teammates, follow the rules.

Remember, "consortia" is a fancy word for group.  If you have trouble remembering that, think of "consort."  If you don't know what means, look it up.  More or less, it means getting real close to someone.

Assembly Bill 86 (AB 86), authored by the Assembly Committee on Budgets (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2013), outlines expectations for consortium development as well as planning and implementation requirements to establish the Adult Education Consortium Program.

86 sets the rules for the teams and the game.  Learn the rules and follow them.

The intent of AB 86 is to better position California—via these consortia—for incremental investments starting with the 2015–16 fiscal year to expand and improve the provision of adult education.

The purpose of 86 is to motivate teams to get in the consort game and play by the rules.  If you're a good team player and you follow the rules and you play a good game, you can get a prize.

The prize is little by little (incremental), you can get more money - starting in 2015-16.

This money is for you to make your adult ed programs bigger and better.

But if you want that money, you are gonna have to play by the rules - and one of those rules is getting along with your teammates.
The CCCCO and the California Department of Education (CDE) are working in partnership to implement the requirements outlined in AB 86.

The Community College system (which by the way, is going through a lot of change right now) and the California Dept of Ed are on the same team.  They are on the Umpire team.

This is kind of interesting because that means

* the Community Colleges are the banker for the game

* the Community Colleges are on the Umpire team

* and the Community Colleges are also on the Consort teams 


So they are in charge of the money, they are in charge of the rules, and they are playing the game.

I sure hope they play fair!

The agencies have jointly established an AB 86 Cabinet of six members, three from each agency, to guide and oversee the activities of a Work Group that will develop a comprehensive Request for Application (RFA) to fund planning and implementation grants.

Wow.   I had to get a cup of coffee to translate that one.

The CDE and the Community College system have made a special 86 Cabinet that has 6 drawers - I mean members -
3 from the CDE and 3 from the Community College system. 
This special 86 Cabinet will help out and watch over
the work of another group called -
the Work Group.

The Work Group is going to come up with a really good application system that will shell out the money for all the planning and starting of things.

You know what?  I teach English for a living and that thing just about broke me.

The Work Group has six members, two representing adult education programs in school districts and two representing adult education programs in community colleges. Two staff members, one from the CCCCO and one from the CDE, are also in the Work Group.

Okay, the Work Group.  It's gonna have 6 people - 2 from K12 Adult Ed programs, 2 from Community College Adult Ed programs (usually known as their non-credit stuff) and 2 more people -
one from the Community College System and one from the CDE.

This is why I'm still working on understanding Skipbo. 

The Work Group will also consult with expert panels relevant to each issue.

The Work Group will ask for help from smart people who know about the stuff they need help with.

Additionally, various organizations will be asked to participate in a Stakeholder Sounding Board.

Also, different organizations (more groups!) will be asked to be part of a Stakeholder Sounding Board. 

Sounding Board - that's a great phrase!

We know that a Stakeholder is someone who's gonna feel the consequences of something.

I'm thinking this Stakeholder Sounding Board will give the people (probably people in groups) who are going to be affected by all this... a chance to share their ideas and opinions.


Let's be sure to use it!

The Cabinet and Work Group will ensure a transparent process     (that means you can see and understand it)    is used to listen to and inform the field      (that means regular people, aka, everybody, students, community members, teachers, aka you and me, etc.)    throughout the development of the RFA    (that's the Request for Application process - the whole planning, applying, preparing thing)  

Remember the 86 Cabinet?  The 3 people from the CDE and the 3 people from the Community College system?  That's the 86xers.  They - and the Work Group - aka the Group of Six - are going to make sure this whole thing is something people can use and understand and sort of watch it while it happens.  It's not going to be secret.  And regular people, all kinds of people, will have the chance to share their ideas and opinions through this whole creating the application process... process... which, remember, has some money involved.  To the tune of 25 million dollars. 

In other words...

no monkey business. 

A Web site, http://ab86.cccco.edu/, is being developed as a central point of information and will soon include frequently asked questions, related documents, meeting agendas and minutes, and a time line overview.

They are making a website and it's going to have information, an FAQ section, documents, meeting info, and a calendar.  That sounds really helpful.

 Town hall meetings  (that's where regular people can meet in a real place and talk about things and give their opinions),     informational webinars   (kind of the same idea but online so you can do it from anywhere),     field surveys   (you know what a "survey" is and remember, "the field" means you and me and everybody)   and a listserv   (that's a group email sort of system where you can send and receive email from a group of people - like of like an electronic bulletin board)   will be among the venues whereby all stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback and input to the process  (everyone who's affected by Adult Education - which is everyone - can add to the process with ideas and opinions) 

The Work Group is developing a Survey of Interest for community colleges and adult schools that will be released this fall.

The 6xer Group is going to make a survey for K12 adult schools and community colleges.  It's going to be out in the Fall - which starts Sunday.  I wouldn't expect it Sunday but probably sometime in the nearish future sounds reasonable.

The information gathered will inform the development of the RFA.

They are going to use the information from the survey to make this whole application thing as good as it can be.

The RFA is scheduled to be released near the beginning of the new calendar year.

They're hoping those applications will be available sometimes around January 2014.

That means, by the way, we have about a year between getting the application and starting the job.  Cuz ding ding ding 2015 is gonna be here in no time and that's when this game really gets started!

This is gonna be one busy year! 
According to AB 86, the consortia will use funding to develop regional plans for the education of adults in the following areas:

86 says the consortia can use money to make plans for adult in the following areas:
A. Elementary and basic skills;
B. Classes for immigrants (English as a Second Language, citizenship, and workforce preparation);
C. Programs for adults with disabilities;
D. Short term Career Technical Education (CTE) programs with high employment potential; and
E. Programs for apprentices.
AB 86 also specifies that consortia plans must include:
 Evaluation of level and types and needs of adult education programs within the region and plans to address gaps.

In making plans, consortia have to figure out what's going on with adult ed where they live and figure out what's missing and figure out how to fill in the missing parts with good stuff.
 Plans to integrate programs to create seamless transition for students into postsecondary education or the workforce.

They also have to make everything fit together like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle  - no missing pieces!  - so that students can go directly from Adult Ed into college or a job or teaching.

Okay, I added the last part.
 Plans to employ approaches to accelerate a student’s progress toward academic or career goal; for example, contextualized basic skills and CTE, and other joint programming strategies between adult education and CTE.

And they have to figure out what makes students reach their school or job goals faster.  For example, that might mean if someone wants to be a nursing assistant, they need to read well and speak English really well, so make sure everything lines up - the English class and the medical terminology and all the rest of it.  Use big picture thinking to make sure the all the pieces form a beautifully complete, completely beautiful puzzle that spells
S - U - C - C - E - S - S  for students.

Plans to collaborate with partners on the provision of ongoing professional development for faculty and other staff.

And figure out how to work with other... groups!... to make sure faculty and staff do a good job.  Teachers and staff need to keep learning to do good jobs so make sure that whole thing works well.  Do what you tell students to do:  ask for help from someone who knows how to do something.
 Plans to leverage existing regional structures, including local workforce investment areas.

Okay, I don't think I fully understand that one. 
I guess it means, use things where you live... like... groups! 

to make your Adult Ed programs as good as they can be. 

I am actually drawing a blank on this one. 

I will come back and fill it in.
The CCCCO and CDE will provide progress reports to the Legislature and Governor in March of 2014 and again in March of 2015.

The Community College system and the CDE is gonna give the Legislature and the Governor report cards on all this next year in March and then again a year later in March 2015.  So do your homework!

If you would like to receive regular updates, please subscribe to the ―More on AB 86‖ e-newsletters via the Web site.

If you want to get regular info about all this, sign up for the 86 newsletter.  But don't expect me to translate all of them.  Go to the website to sign up.

You may submit questions or provide input to the Cabinet and Work Group at ab86@cccco.edu.

If you have a question, you can email the 86 Cabinet or the Group of 6xers at that email address.

I am going to ask them about that leverage thing and how the members of the 86 Cabinet and Work Group get picked.  Those are some pretty darned important teams.  MVP Teams.  World Series teams.  Who will be on them?  Just as importantly, who decides who will be on them?
Brice W. Harris Tom Torlakson
Chancellor State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Community Colleges California Department of Education

Thank you, Superintendent Torlakson and Chancellor Harris!

You have put my translation machine to the test!

And you and your teams have worked hard to create a game where everyone can play -

if only we will play it!

So here we go, everybody.

Have fun, play fair and remember -

this is about people, the people of California,

who need and deserve the very best Adult Education possible.
Adult Ed Stakeholders hard at play.

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