Message from the Directors – EL Civics Exchange
For more than 20 years, California adult education programs have been offering English Literacy and Civics Education (EL Civics) with the aim of helping immigrants and limited English proficient individuals learn contextualized English to better participate in their communities. The initial focus was on civic participation and citizenship preparation. More recently, California has added Integrated EL Civics (IELCE) with a focus of mastering English to successfully transition to workforce training or a career. CASAS and OTAN have been key partners in this work with California agencies.
Funding for EL Civics and IELCE supports the design, implementation, and delivery of instruction that integrates ESL instruction with civic education. Adult educators have helped develop more than 60 approved Civic Objectives and Additional Assessment Plans (COAPPS) for use in California classrooms as well as the supporting instructional materials. The COAAPs are aligned with the AB2098 Immigrant Integration Framework. With the EL Civics Exchange website, CASAS and OTAN are excited to offer a central repository to submit and access instructional materials created by educators across the State.
The EL Civics Exchange is a model for the nation! In an effort to advance equity and integration initiatives, the EL Civics Exchange is aligned to the COAAPs, the Immigrant Integration Framework, and is fully 508 compliant. Instructional materials are available at 5 levels. CASAS reviews all materials for appropriate content and alignment and OTAN ensures 508 compliance for accessibility.
This is an exciting time to release our new website in response to needs identified by the field. We are eager to develop new collaborations with educators across the State and to build a wealth of materials that can be easily accessed and used for EL Civics and IELCE instruction. Please feel free to contact either of us, CASAS Director Pat Rickard or OTAN Director Renee Collins, with ideas for how to further support the EL Civics Exchange and EL Civics in California.
California EL Civics
Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (EL Civics) is funded under The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA, 2014). The purpose of the California EL Civics program is to support projects that demonstrate effective practices in providing and increasing access to English literacy programs linked to civics education.
This funding is for "integrated English literacy and civics education services to immigrants and other limited English proficient populations." According to Congress, to effectively participate in education, work, and civic opportunities in this country, immigrants and other limited English proficient persons must not only master English, but be able to understand and navigate governmental, educational, workplace systems and key institutions, such as banking and health care. The California Department of Education (CDE) Adult Education Office has offered grant awards for EL Civics Education to promote the development of integrated programs that incorporate English Language and literacy instruction and civics education. The CDE has developed two program areas which utilize the instructional materials made available by the EL Civics Exchange: Civic Participation and Integrated EL Civics (IELCE).
Civic Participation: This program supports the design, creation, implementation and delivery of instructional activities that integrates civics education content with ESL instruction. This program connects literacy to the lives of learners and reflects their experiences as community members, parents and participants in the workforce. Through these programs, adults understand and deal with social issues through community research projects, collecting and analyzing information, and interpreting findings in ways that connect school-based learning with personal knowledge and community experience. This program is funded under Section 231 of WIOA.
Integrated EL Civics (IELCE): This program connects literacy to the lives of learners and reflects their experiences as community members and parents with an emphasis on participation in the workforce. It gives learners the opportunity to concurrently participate in literacy instruction, workforce preparation activities and workforce training. This program is funded under Section 243 of WIOA.
The CASAS and OTAN Partnership
The EL Civics Exchange has been a long time in coming. Over the years, EL Civics teachers have been hoping for a simple way to share agency-created instructional materials with their colleagues across the state. Through feedback from the field, OTAN and CASAS partnered over a series of meetings to come up with a solution to best share the materials needed to help teachers deliver EL Civics instruction. As former teachers and administrators who were actively involved in EL Civics instruction over the years, the staff used their experience to imagine a website that allows agencies to view materials from other agencies, as well as submit their own materials. The programmers at OTAN listened to the design ideas and created a very dynamic and easy to use website.The submission process requires CASAS to review the materials for content. Once approved, OTAN reviews the materials to ensure they meet 508 compliance for accessibility. This allows all users to access the materials and easily share them with others. OTAN and CASAS invite you to both access and submit instructional materials on the EL Civics Exchange.
Contact email: ELCivics@casas.org