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Gulf Coast Literacy Symposium 2024

Symposium Program Details

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8:30 AM: CHECK-IN OPENS, BREAKFAST, WELCOME

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Session 1 (90 min)

iSmart Teaching: Leveraging AI Across Literacies

Calling all adventurous adult educators! Dive into the magical world of AI integration for Adult Education!

Unleash AI-powered reading wizardry. Embark on a quest with AI companions to conquer GED challenges. Blast off to the ESL Galaxy, where AI translators bridge language gaps faster than a rocket. Mix AI-generated health tips and tools for enriched minds, bodies, and workforce options. Turn budgeting woes into gold with the wave of a fin-tech wand! Decode alien scripts, decipher cryptic messages, and explore parallel universes—all while sipping cosmic coffee!

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): OTHER

Presenter: Jacqueline Aguilera

Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy

Jacqueline “Jackie” Aguilera has logged 38 years of diverse experience across educational and non-profit sectors.

With a focus on adult literacy, she has left an indelible mark on various initiatives and projects in traditional, financial, health, environmental, and digital literacy. As an experienced adult education innovations designer, she earned a 2021 Ford Foundation Mujeres Legendarias Award for creative ed tech applications in adult education.

Her service impact extends beyond the classroom into the workforce. She empowers both employers and employees through worksite literacy training and independent consulting. She leads a local fellowship of adult education providers called the Houston Area Adult Literacy Collective (the incredible HAALC), serves on many committees, boards, and projects impacting adult learners and families, all while serving as Project Manager for Houston’s Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy.

In summary, Jacqueline’s multifaceted career reflects a lifelong dedication to advancing literacy and education across diverse communities. Currently on a journey through breast cancer treatment, she is more than ever committed to advancing the lives of all those she serves, making her a messenger of inspiration, innovation, and evolution.

Transitions for ABE/ASE – Part 1 of 2

Come take a look at the concept of “transition” as both a process and a moment. Incorporate adult learning theory as you learn how to scaffold adult learners in areas such as effective communication in private and group conversations, teamwork, learning strategies, critical thinking, and recognizing and adjusting for bias.

Additionally, take a look at the Transitions Integration Framework and specific activities to include in the classroom to help students develop the skills they will need beyond the GED, whether for further training and education or the workplace.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PAL

Presenter: Wayne Crandall

Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning (TCALL)

Wayne Crandall has been in adult education for more than 20 years. He has taught both ABE/ASE and ESL classes, has been an AEL Program coordinator, and is an AEL Trainer.

He is currently a Field Professional Development Specialist with the TRAIN PD @TCALL, where he develops PD content, trains adult education teachers and assists Texas Adult Education programs with their professional development needs.

ESL Strategies Using Digital Literacy

In today’s digital age, integrating technology into English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is crucial for enhancing student engagement and improving language proficiency. This session, “ESL Strategies Using Digital Literacy,” is designed to equip educators with innovative tools and techniques to effectively incorporate digital literacy into your ESL programs.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PAL

Presenter: Lindsay Kelley

Adult Education Center

Lindsay Kelley is an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor with the Adult Education Center. She has worked with adult learners for ten years as both a tutor and as an instructor.

Lindsay believes in helping and uplifting the community through volunteering. She has served three terms with AmeriCorps.

Lindsay is a proud Alum from Our Lady of the Lake University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree. In April 2023, she earned a Masters of Humanities in English from Tiffin University.

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM: Session 2 (90 min)

The Importance of HI (Human Interaction)

Explore the critical role of human interaction in adult education. This session will highlight the importance of fostering meaningful connections and creating supportive learning environments to enhance student engagement and success.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): OTHER

Presenter: Fran-Victoria Stephens

Story Square

Descending from a family tree adorned with education stalwarts, Fran-Victoria’s roots planted her destiny in education.

She set out to formulate an antidote for the ills that maintain an impasse to success for all and equality in American education. She studied and wrote about this conundrum in law school.

Soon after graduating from law school, she left Houston for the Nation’s Capitol to work on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. Almost three years later, Fran-Victoria left Capitol Hill for an urban school district.

In the end, no other position like being a mother – no workplace like her very own home – taught her what was needed most in education reform – strategic parent engagement – specifically, parent-child educational interactions rooted in literacy. The story of her experience elucidated that simple answer, and research substantiated it, which was why she founded Story Square.

Story Square is an education social enterprise. This organization deconstructs obstacles that prevent equity in education by galvanizing families’ catalytic power to convert literacy into freedom. Story Square is where parents have space to serve as a coefficient to their children’s education success.
The organization chairs the Texas Family Literacy Festival at Houston’s Discovery Green. It also is leads the 1740 Movement to signify, encourage and create space for families to read together and enjoy parent-child educational interactions daily for 1,740 seconds or 29 minutes.

Fran-Victoria continues to engage public and college audiences on civil rights issues, especially literacy as a civil right and equity as a thoroughfare to freedom. She is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and University of Houston Law Center. She is married with three of the most lovable, huggable, smart girls in the universe!

Transitions for ABE/ASE – Part 2 of 2

Come take a look at the concept of “transition” as both a process and a moment. Incorporate adult learning theory as you learn how to scaffold adult learners in areas such as effective communication in private and group conversations, teamwork, learning strategies, critical thinking, and recognizing and adjusting for bias.

Additionally, take a look at the Transitions Integration Framework and specific activities to include in the classroom to help students develop the skills they will need beyond the GED, whether for further training and education or the workplace.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): LIT

Presenter: Wayne Crandall

Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning (TCALL)

Wayne Crandall has been in adult education for more than 20 years. He has taught both ABE/ASE and ESL classes, has been an AEL Program coordinator, and is an AEL Trainer.

He is currently a Field Professional Development Specialist with the TRAIN PD @TCALL, where he develops PD content, trains adult education teachers and assists Texas Adult Education programs with their professional development needs.

Why Your Program Needs to Offer Citizenship Classes, and the Resources to Get Started

Join us for an insightful session on the critical importance of offering citizenship classes in your adult education program. Discover the transformative impact these classes can have on your community and learn about the essential resources and best practices for getting started.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): LIT

Presenter: Luis Garcia Alvarez

USA Hello

Luis A. Garcia-Alvarez immigrated to the U.S. at the start of the century to pursue his dreams and enhance the lives of Hispanic immigrants. In 2008, he founded SEDES (System for Education Empowerment and Success), where he serves as President. He also serves as the Senior Community Engagement Advisor for USAHello, helping immigrants achieve financial freedom and societal development. He holds a Master’s in Human Rights and International Law.

In 2021, he received the Hispanic Heritage Award from Houston and was named MLS Community MVP for representing the Houston Dynamo. His leadership on various advisory boards reflects his dedication to a brighter future. In his essay for the Hispanic Leaders Program, he envisions the U.S. as a cultural melting pot and an opportunity to strengthen the Hispanic community.

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM: WORKING LUNCH & GENERAL SESSION

Transformative Literacy: Incorporating Workforce Certification into Your Program – and How Workforce Solutions Can Help!

Unlock the power of transformative literacy by integrating workforce certification programs into your educational offerings. This session will guide you through the benefits of workforce certifications and demonstrate how partnering with Workforce Solutions can enhance your program’s impact.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): OTHER

Presenter: Danielle Knotts

Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)/Workforce Solutions

Danielle Knotts is the Adult Education and Literacy Manager for the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, Houston-Galveston Area Council. She leads adult education and literacy efforts in the 13 regions for the Houston-Galveston area where she is committed to elevating the work of the gulf coast in spaces that align to our workforce ecosystem.

Danielle holds a BA in Business from Clark Atlanta University, and an MBA from Texas Southern University. She has been involved in education for over a decade and within her career she has been committed to improving student outcomes, encouraging the importance of positive relationships, empowering teachers, and providing equity within education.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Session 3 (90 min)

A Teacher’s Dozen

Dive into “A Teacher’s Dozen” by BurlingtonEnglish, a powerful toolkit designed to elevate your ESL teaching practices. This session will introduce you to twelve essential strategies and resources that can transform your classroom experience and boost student outcomes.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PAL

Presenter: Elinore Ramos

BurlingtonEnglish

Elinore has her Master’s Degree in Adult, Professional, and Community Education from Texas State University. She also has experience in general education with an Early Childhood through 6th Grade teaching certification.

Working with ESL, gifted, and special education students of all backgrounds, gave her a unique outlook on teaching and learning. As a Customer Representative for BurlingtonEnglish, Elinore feels as if she has found the perfect mix of inspiring others, teaching, and making a positive impact on her community.

Presenter: Ana Maria Aparicio Jovel

BurlingtonEnglish

Ana Maria started as a part-time ESL coordinator with Memorial Assistance Ministries ten years ago. Her passion for serving others and her understanding as an immigrant of what it is like to be an ESL student and teacher, gave her the drive necessary to establish herself as a full time ESL educator and Citizenship Class Coordinator. She managed volunteer teachers and several satellite locations for three years. Later, while working at The Lighthouse of Houston, she had the opportunity to serve others by collaborating with local community advocacy groups for the blind and visually impaired.

Not being able to stay away from her original calling for too long, she is currently part of the BurlingtonEnglish team where she feels right at home providing customer support to ESL teachers and students alike.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish and a Minor in Communications from the University of Houston-Downtown and obtained her TESOL/ESL certification in 2014 from Oxford Seminars.

Structured Literacy for All: Reading Instruction That Works for All Learners

Explore the transformative approach of structured literacy, designed to meet the diverse needs of all learners. This session will provide an in-depth look at how structured literacy methods can enhance reading instruction, ensuring that every student has the tools to succeed.

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PAL

Speights, Lara

Presenter: Lara Speights

Neuhaus Education Center

Lara Speights is the Vice President of Family Support and Adult Literacy at Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Texas. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, Licensed Dyslexia Therapist, Reading Specialist, and English as a Second Language teacher.

She earned a M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Spanish and English from Texas A&M University. Before joining Neuhaus, Lara spent a decade working in public charter schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Houston area as a classroom teacher, dyslexia interventionist, and instructional coach.

Transform your ABE/HSE Classroom with New Readers Press Online Learning

New Readers Press Online Learning is a focused digital curriculum intended for learners who need foundational, intermediate, or advanced skills focused on the ultimate goal of achieving high school equivalency. Find out how these digital courses, designed for adult learners, can increase student success on TABE/CASAS and HiSET/GED exams while providing you with valuable data to guide your instruction – all using built-in assessments along the way!

PD Category (assigned by TCALL): PAL

Presenter: Rachel Budde

ProLiteracy

Rachel Budde is the Senior Manager of Distance Learning with New Readers Press/ProLiteracy with a reading specialization and a background working with infants through adults. She transitioned from championing for youth in Early Childhood Education and K-12 worlds to Adult Education beginning in 2015.

As an ABE/HSE Instructor, she thrived on increasing retention in the classroom with thoughtful, engaging lessons and successfully transitioned to administer live-online remote learning pathways for multiple locations in her local area ABE/HSE college programs in 2020. She was a STAR certified educator, participant in the Student Ambassador program with the Iowa Department of Education and collaborator with the national U.S. Department of Education initiative “Teaching Skills That Matter in Adult Education”.

Rachel now runs the New Readers Press Distance Learning program through a partnership with employers who provide high school equivalency as a benefit of employment. She also offers group and individual training for administrators, educators, and programs world-wide for multiple New Readers Press digital solutions.

3:00 PM: WRAP-UP, FAREWELL

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Checked/updated 6/12/2024

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