If you’re new to working in adult education, you may have heard someone say that people enter the field of adult education “sideways” meaning they often begin in other careers and then “find their way” to adult education.

Adult education practitioners tend to have rich and varied backgrounds that inform their practice in meaningful and valuable ways. However, they also need and benefit from an orientation to our field, including a common vocabulary and a shared understanding of the work we do.  

The Foundations for New Staff (FNS) asynchronous online course comprises five modules that together will provide you with that orientation:

  1. Overview of the Field of Adult Education in Massachusetts and in the United States
  2. Supporting Meaningful Change: The SABES Professional Development System
  3. Overview of Effective Teaching
  4. Overview of Effective Advising 
  5. The Massachusetts Accountability System and the Literacy, Adult, and Community Education System (LACES)

Important information about this course:

  • This is an online course for educators who work in programs funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Jane Brandt will send you the link for the course about a week before it starts, but you won't be able to access it until it opens on Monday, October 2, 2023
  • The course will be open for one month until Friday, November 3. You can access it at your convenience: there are no synchronous ("real time") meetings as part of this course, though you can expect rich discussions in the discussion board. 
  • We expect it to take most people around three hours to complete.

For tech questions, contact jane_brandt@worlded.org

For questions about the content of the course, contact alexandra_papagno@worlded.org.


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Adult education staff who are new to working in programs funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
  • Others who have experience working in DESE programs and would benefit from an orientation to policies and resources

As an adult educator, your focus might be on your own class, students, and program. In truth, you are part of a national network of educators, advisors, program leaders, and others who are all working together and with adult learners to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. You play a critically important role in this mission, so the FNS course is designed to provide you with a full understanding of the people and systems that drive this work. 

The online FNS course is asynchronous and facilitated, so you can complete it at your own pace and benefit from online discussions with colleagues from across the state.

On average, the course takes about three hours to complete, but your time may vary depending on how much time you spend exploring the resources that are provided throughout the course.

About a week prior to the course opening, Jane Brandt will confirm your registration and send information about accessing the course. 

For tech questions, contact jane_brandt@worlded.org. For questions about the content of the course, contact alexandra_papagno@worlded.org.

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the major drivers of adult education in the United States and explain how they correlate with your work
  • Describe the role of Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and access the resources and support provided by the ACLS team
  • Describe the different types of adult education programs and the services they provide, as well as the importance of creating equitable access for diverse audiences
  • Find and use professional development (PD) and other resources provided by SABES; create a SABES account; and register for automatic notifications of PD offerings
  • Work with your director to develop a PD plan and find and register for relevant PD opportunities
  • Locate key curriculum resources and access support for using them via the SABES Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers
  • Describe the role of the advising program and the connection between advising, student persistence, and student goals
  • Name the key components of the Massachusetts accountability system for adult education programs and the role of the LACES data and reporting system
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)
10/02/2023 - 9:00 am
End Date

United States

PD Center
SABES Program Support Team
Topic Area
New Staff