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             July 2015   
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Welcome, Mississippi, our newest large group member!

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Join your colleagues from around the country for national level Professional Development Webinars featuring presentations on high interest topics and best practices. Details will be shared soon.

This professional development opportunity is generously sponsored by

We want your input! If you attended the COABE 2015 conference in Denver, CO, during April 21-24, 2015, please complete the conference evaluation here.

Upon completion of the evaluation, you'll receive your certificate of attendance, and you will be entered into our drawing to attend COABE 2016, in Dallas, TX, from April 10-13, 2016!

The COABE 2015 conference was generously underwritten by our sponsors, whose support enables us to keep the cost of the national conference affordable for attendees.

The COABE Iowa Regional Institute is generously funded by


Download resources and presentations or upload yours to share with the field (here).  

Tom Nash, President


President's Welcome 

If there's one characteristic that all of us in the adult education field possess, it's our desire to make a difference. We know that every day that we go into the "office," we have an opportunity to change someone's life for the better.


On July 1, those of us you have elected to the COABE board know that we have the ability to change - for the better - the adult education profession. Armed with a new strategic plan shaped by the membership, we're taking steps to address professional development and to position our organization to be the leading voice on behalf of our learners, teachers, and practitioners.


Already, the board has hired its first executive director, Sharon Bonney, who has worked alongside us for many years. Now we are giving her the tools to help the organization succeed by addressing the four key components of the plan: advocacy, developing the profession, providing leadership, and implementing operational changes. We have also promoted Michelle Chiles to the Office Manager position and have brought in additional infrastructure and design support staff. 


I'm honored to become president of the organization, but I can assure you that our success will be built on the membership's collective efforts. We are committed to raise the level of public discourse on our issues and to bring substantive improvements to the profession.


You can help on many levels. Most importantly, I encourage you to submit an application for our talent bank, which will allow for others in the field to benefit from your expertise and experience. Just as learners benefit from our skills and passion, our field becomes stronger when we can learn from one another.


Like many of you, I entered adult education simply by raising my hand 29 years ago. I've been involved in four different programs in Maine and am humbled at how they have grown. I'm thrilled by the opportunity to work on behalf of our profession and membership on this national scale, but I need your involvement and suggestions along the way to build on this momentum that we've been able to craft together.


Thank you for your faith, support, and contributions to this organization, and for making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each and every day.    


In closing, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our exiting elected board members for their meaningful contributions in over many years: Jackie Taylor, Renae Harrison, Nancie Payne, and Regina Suitt as well as our  appointed positions: Federico Salas Isnardi, Marilyn Schmidt, Kathi Medcalf, Jennifer Foster, and Nell Eckersley. Please join me in welcoming our elected incoming board members: Kaye Sharbono, President-Elect; Don Finn, Secretary; Rhea Watson, Region 7 Representative, and Branka Marceta, Region 8 Representative. On behalf of our board, we are looking forward to working together to serve you, our members, in the coming year. 



Tom Nash Signature  

Tom Nash 



Integrated Education and Training, 
A Challenge and a Reward: $7 Million XPrize 
to Create Ed Tech for Adult Literacy


More than 36 million U.S. adults lack basic English literacy, limiting not only their personal educational and career opportunities but also those of their children and future generations. Economic studies show higher literacy numbers could lift the national income
level as much as $240 billion and decrease annual healthcare costs
by an estimated $230 billion. Most importantly, the ability to read
empowers low-literate adults with the skills and information they need to improve their lives and realize their dreams. Adult learners face a distinct set of challenges. Existing programs are place-based and provide direct, in-person services, making them difficult
to access for those with jobs and families. As a result, these programs serve less than one percent of the population that needs them.

The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation, challenges teams from all over the world to create mobile learning applications able to move low-literate adults to basic literacy in just one year. The solutions will overcome key barriers by improving access,
increasing retention, and scaling to meet demand - anytime, anywhere - empowering the nearly 1-in-10 low-literate adults living in the U.S. with the skills they need to improve their lives. Each team will test its solution with 1,000 low-literate adults within two target demographics, native English speakers and non-native English
speakers, ages 18-64.

This competition will not only provide 1-in-10 U.S. adult learners who lack basic literacy skills with access to an anytime, anywhere education, it will demonstrate a paradigm shift in how we approach adult learning in the future. The applications will address the complexities of the adult learner's life and reality - tackling the largest obstacles to achieving basic literacy by improving access, encouraging persistence, developing relevant learning content, and
scaling nationwide.

The results of the year-long trial will be used to select three winners. A $4 million prize will go to the group that develops a literacy app that works best for native and non-native speakers of English. Two other awards of $500,000 each will go to category winners - one prize for those who are learning English, and one prize for those who already speak that language. After those winners are named, a final gauntlet remains. Several cities will compete for the most successful adoption of the technology in adult education programs.


In the end, the organizers hope there will also be voluminous data that can be used to spur other people to design more effective education technology for adult education programs. Get the details!  


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