The resources on this page have been developed by NELRC to address regional priorities and support the states in their professional development activities.

Civic Engagement

NELRC is one of few organizations in the country whose top priorities include making civic literacy and participation a part of adult literacy and ESOL education.  NELRC’s civic literacy and participation work helps adult learners develop research, interviewing, advocacy, critical thinking and public speaking skills as they analyze and express their views about community concerns. Our resources include:

Webinar: How to be an Effective Ally to Adult Students, view the slides from the webinar, and a list of “Resources to Support Targeted Communities.”

Resources to Support Targeted Communities: Building safety, rights, and dialogue.

The Change Agent, a semi-annual, theme-based newspaper focuses on social justice related issues and the ways these issues can become part of teaching and learning. Supplementary online materials and workshops help to develop teachers’ capacity to use The Change Agent in instruction.

Webinar: Civic Engagement through Three Lenses 

Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook for adult educators includes narrative accounts and skill-building activities that are organized around topics such as Finding Connections to Communities and Issues; Holding Decision-Makers Accountable; Expressing Ourselves and Educating Others; and Organizing for Change.

Thinking Beyond “Increased Participation” – Integrating Civics and Adult ESOL paper proposes a process for building ESOL students’ capacity for engaged and active citizenship.

Voter Education, Registration and Action (VERA) campaign is activated during the presidential elections. Read here about the 2016 VERA campaign.

College Transition and Career Preparation  

For ten years, the Nellie Mae Education foundation funded NELRC to help New England programs develop college transition program models, design bridges to careers, and explore ways to address the policy barriers in each state. This foundational body of work led to the launch of the National College Transition Network (NCTN), a source of tools, technical assistance, and professional development services. NELRC continues to support college and career readiness through resources such as the following.


Integrated Education and Training (IET)

Integrated Education & Training: Implementing Programs in Diverse Contexts is a guide that emerged from in-depth conversations about how eight adult education programs around the country have been successfully integrating IET. These programs offer a wide array of approaches both in who the adult education programs partner with and how they collaborate in those partnerships to develop an integrated curriculum. Program profiles highlight the importance of designing programming that fits the particular context of a local community – both its opportunities and constraints.


Webinar Series: Building IET Programs: Tested Strategies and New Endeavors This webinar series highlights nine programs, drawn from around the country, that are developing new services or honing well-established programs that integrate education and training.

Implementing IET in Rural Settings

Rural settings present particular challenges for IET programs, such as a limited number of jobs in any one sector, transportation and childcare barriers, or inconsistent internet access. This webinar focuses on varied strategies that have shown promise in three rural states: Virginia, Minnesota, and Maine.



IET within ESL Programs

English language learners arrive in this country with a wide range of educational backgrounds and work experience.  IET programs can accelerate their access to decent jobs by building on that experience with training and job-focused language and math classes.  This webinar highlights programs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Texas that are offering IET in culinary arts, building maintenance, and entrepreneurship.



View the syllabus for the Business Basics entrepreneurship course at Community Action

View the syllabus and internship agreement for the Building Maintenance course at AACA


Contextualized Variations of I-BEST

The I-BEST model pioneered in Washington state continues to inspire and inform states and programs across the US.  The spirit of innovation is evident in the programs represented in this webinar through their customized approach to addressing the challenges of adult basic education students via team teaching, redesigned program structure, collaboration, and contextualized curricula. Programs are from Mississippi, Kansas, and New York.




Additional Webinars

Building Partnerships: This webinar explores what current and former program directors from 3 states (RI, MA, and VT) have done to develop partnerships with employers, colleges, and other agencies to create better-integrated and innovative programming, and how they have braided funding to support these collaborations. View the slides. View the Networks for Integrating New Americans (NINA )Factsheet: Workforce Collaborations Build a System of Supports for Immigrants 

Employer Engagement: Strong employer engagement is a key feature of effective worker education and training efforts. This webinar from the NINA Project focuses on employer engagement to advance the immigrant workforce.

Preparing English Language Learners for Education and Training: Programs must consider the unique needs of English language learners when planning education and training services. This webinar, from the NINA Project, provides strategies and examples. 

Place-Based Education for Rural Communities: Applying Lessons from the Youth Agriculture Project: Rural communities have specific challenges to address when planning workforce development. The Vermont project featured in this webinar developed strategies and partnerships that gave rise to a thriving program (see update in the Building Partnerships webinar). 


Past New England projects supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Developing State Policy: NELRC developed a funding initiative to address some of the existing policy barriers in the states. Each state adult education director, in partnership with the state higher education authority and other state level stakeholders identified the specific policy barrier(s) their partnership would address and to develop action plans that  were implemented during the second year of the grant.

ABE-to-College Transition Project: NELRC designed, managed, and supported a cluster of 25 college transition programs located across the six New England states. The National College Transition Network (NCTN) was launched to bring the expertise gained to a national audience.

Transition to College and Careers: TCC was a two-year pilot designed to be the first “rung in the career ladder” for dislocated, unemployed, and underemployed adults who have been out of school for some time.

Career Planning Implementation Project: This project piloted a sustained professional development model for ABE/ESOL instructors and counselors from 28 New England programs to help them incorporate career awareness and planning into their instructional and counseling activities throughout all levels. The National Career Awareness Project built on this earlier New England pilot.

Technology Integration

NELRC’s work on the integration of technology is focused on fostering practitioners’ ability to tap the potential of information and communication technologies.  Our work ranges from helping teachers use basic computing and the Web to social media and the use of cell phones. Over the years, NELRC projects have laid the foundation for World Education’s EdTech Center.

Technology Integration Project (TIP): TIP focused on building the capacity to purposefully and effectively incorporate technology into instruction and professional development. These archived projects illustrate how instructors and professional developers from five New England states are using technology to enhance their practice.

Words2Learn Project: A team of New England educators developed and piloted two apps that accelerate learning of academic and health career-related vocabulary for adults preparing to enter postsecondary education and technical training. Read promising findings in project report.

Core Skills Mastery: Core Skills Mastery (CSM) is a free, web-based adaptive course that builds the capacity to use math and literacy for work-related problem-solving and addresses persistence and motivation by teaching students how to understand and direct their own learning. Several programs throughout New England piloted CSM to learn about it’s implementation in adult education programs.

Contextualized, Standards-Based Instruction

The New England states have each facilitated professional development related to the implementation of the CCRAE standards. NELRC has contributed to the efforts by providing resources that can lay a foundation for or complement state initiatives.

Webinars about CCR Standards

Program-wide CCR Implementation: Program Leaders Share Strategies and Approaches (recordingslides)

ELA Instruction Shifts, Part I (recording – slides)

ELA Instructional Shifts, Part II (recording – slides)

Math Instructional Shifts: Focus and Coherence (recording – slides)

Math Instructional Shifts: Rigor (recording – slides)

Designing Career Focused Basic Skills Instruction (recording)

The Formative Assessment of Standards (FASt) Project

The FASt project built the capacity of instructors to create and use performance-based, CCR-aligned formative assessments. The 4-month project blended LINCS on-line courses, a face-to-face meeting, individualized coaching, peer support, and a final sharing webinar. Project handouts and teacher-developed formative assessments for ESL, ELA, and math can be found on the FASt page.

NELRC Member Webinar 

The English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards for Adult Education: Hmm . . . What’s this now?? Guest presented by Patsy Egan, Director of Minnesota’s ATLAS PD Center. (Need to register name to access this archive.)

View slides here


Multiple Intelligences and Brain-Based Learning

NELRC and Harvard University’s Project Zero co-facilitated the first systematic, MI-based research and development project in adult literacy education, investigating the question, “How can multiple intelligences theory support instruction and assessment in ABE, ASE, and ESOL?” The research report, Open to Interpretation: Multiple Intelligences Theory in Adult Literacy Education documents how ten ESOL, ABE, GED, or diploma preparation teachers from New England utilized MI theory to help their students learn English, math, and prepare to take the GED test. The AMI teachers’ research projects are available in the report, Multiple Intelligences in Practice: Teacher Research Reports from the Adult Multiple Intelligences Study, with many of the best lessons described in Multiple Intelligences and Adult Literacy, A Sourcebook for Practitioners.

Learner Persistence

Learner persistence is the underpinning for adults’ academic progress and improved quality of life. Resources include:

The New England Learner Persistence Project expanded our collective knowledge base about effective learner persistence strategies.  It engaged 18 adult education programs from five New England states as research partners in adapting and testing those strategies for their program contexts.  They implemented persistence strategies in one of four categories: 1) Intake and Orientation; 2) Instruction; 3) Counseling and Peer Support; or 4) Re-engagement. Download the PDF of the report. Visit the Adult Learner Persistence website.

The Managing Stress to Improve Learning project was designed to help adult learners deal with chronic stress and other psychological barriers to learning and attendance by promoting mental health through creative expression. The resulting website includes information about learning and the brain, teaching tools, and lesson plans.

The Strategies for Successful Students workshop presents five strategies that students at any level can use to improve their memory and academic performance. The five sets of strategies are based on evidence from neuroscience about how long-term memory works; research on self-affirmation and self-efficacy theory; and study habits of successful students. Download the handouts.


The Change Agent Magazine

The Change Agent provides socially relevant content, powerful student writing that inspires discussion, and ready-to-use, CCR-aligned lesson plans – all oriented toward a multi-level audience.