[AAACE-NLA] FW: Leaving NIFL- a message from Sondra Stein
Bickerton, Robert P
RBickerton at doe.mass.edu
Sun Mar 28 11:29:20 EST 2004
I hope that as you leave NIFL you do so with confidence that you have made
several lasting contributions to our field. Almost every adult ed / adult
literacy practitioner that I know makes an important difference each and
every day. But every once in awhile someone comes along with a combination
of expertise, vision and tenacity that helps ALL of us rise to a higher
level. Thank you so very much for being one of these special people -- and
for your generous commitment to continue to do so!
As for Tom's questions, re, "lasting impact," I understand and appreciate
his point, but I have NO DOUBT that the work you have accomplished with EFF
will have a lasting impact -- in some ways, similar to the impact of the APL
effort and in other ways beyond, i.e., at the new, more advanced level that
portions of our field embrace as tenaciously as you have, and that they will
push forward regardless of the obstacles. I'm sure there will be
adjustments in the states that have formally adopted EFF -- don't take these
as a setback, but as testament to the enduring conceptual framework you did
so much to create. And even in states that may not have made EFF their
primary organizational framework, you will see the pervasive influence of
EFF in the work that they are doing long into the future. Massachusetts is
and will continue to be one of those states.
Thanks again -- and do make sure to enjoy "smelling the roses" as you
celebrate your accomplishments of the past and those yet to come.
take care good friend,
bob bickerton, MA director of adult ed
From: dcollings at pop3.win.net [mailto:dcollings at pop3.win.net]
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2004 12:41 AM
To: aaace-nla at lists.literacytent.org
Subject: [AAACE-NLA] FW: Leaving NIFL- a message from Sondra Stein
The following message is from Sondra Stein.
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I am writing this letter to let you know that March 31st will be my
last day at the National Institute for Literacy.
It has been an extraordinary 12 years. I was a strong advocate for
the creation of NIFL. When I was invited to join the staff early in
1992 as a special advisor to the first interim director, I felt
greatly honored to have the opportunity to help shape the direction of
an institution that represented so many hopes and dreams for the
literacy field. During the startup period I worked closely with our
first Presidentially-appointed Advisory Board (made up of national
leaders from across the adult literacy field, including Sharon
Darling, Benita Somerfield, Jinx Crouch, and Jon Deveaux), with a
wonderful group of colleagues from labor, education, and health and
human services representing our Interagency Management Group, and with
my dear friend Susan Green, who joined the staff in early 1993.
Together we shaped the institute's first initiatives: the center for
learning disabilities, and two interagency initiatives, one focused on
professional development, the other on accountability and continuous
improvement. Soon Jaleh Behroozi joined the staff, to coordinate the
design and development of what has become NIFL's LINCS system.
We all took seriously the mandate from Congress to be an interagency
institution, and to work closely with partners in and out of
government to improve the quality and reach of adult and family
literacy programs all across the country. This vision of the
Institute.s mission was shared by Andy Hartman, our first Director,
and the other new program staff who joined the Institute in 1994 --
Carolyn Staley and Alice Johnson. All of us worked to build an
institution that could serve as a powerful voice for the literacy
field, inspiring and leading a national effort to assure that adults
in every part of the country had the opportunity to improve their
literacy skills and thus enhance their lives.
As part of our effort to strengthen the quality and accountability of
the adult literacy system NIFL launched Equipped for the Future - a
collaborative, standards-based system reform initiative. And - for me
- the rest is history. Working on EFF these past 10 years has been an
extraordinary gift and (as my family will tell you) a magnificent
obsession. I have had the opportunity to work with a group of
dedicated, reflective, and creative educators, researchers, and
policymakers - a true community of learners, in whose company I have
learned much and grown enormously as an educator and leader.
Working together we have accomplished so much. We have developed a
set of adult learning standards that define the full range of skills
and knowledge that adults need to be successful in their roles as
workers, citizens, parents and family members. We have developed and
refined a standards-based approach to instruction and assessment that
helps teachers focus more sharply on student goals and the skills and
knowledge students need to achieve them. We have developed a training
certification system that helps states integrate these new tools into
their own professional development and program improvement systems.
And we have created an assessment framework for the standards that
promises to lead to a new generation of assessments that really help
us measure what students know and can do. In December, we produced a
work readiness profile that will be the basis for our new work
readiness assessment tool. And just last month we hosted a meeting of
EFF states and assessment publishers to encourage the development of
assessments aligned with EFF standards.
In 1996 when we began the standards development process we estimated
that by 2004 the development work would be completed, and we would be
ready to turn our attention to implementation of system reform. Thanks
to the commitment and investment of time and resources of all our
partners we have actually achieved that ambitious goal. We really do
have a set of field-developed, standards-based tools that programs and
states can use to improve the quality and results of our adult
learning system. I am amazed and exhilarated at what we have
accomplished together, and the ways in which these accomplishments
have already helped us move forward. I can.t wait to see what's next!
While I am leaving NIFL, I'm not quite ready to leave EFF. Next month
the states that are partners with NIFL in the creation of an EFF Work
Readiness Credential will take over management of the project from
NIFL, and they have asked me to continue to work with them until the
credential is completed in 2005. I also expect to stay involved in an
advisory capacity with the EFF Center for Training and Technical
Assistance, which now has a very strong independent base at the Center
for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee.
Most of all, I hope to have a little more time to tend to my garden
and my husband, to travel for pleasure instead of work, and to take on
I look forward to continuing to work with you. Starting April 1, 2004
you can reach me at my home email sondragay at aol.com
<mailto:sondragay at aol.com> or at 202-271-7163.
Sondra Stein, PhD.
National Director, Equipped for the Future
Senior Research Associate,
National Institute for Literacy
1775 I St NW, Suite 730
Washington, DC 20006
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