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Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Burr Guthrie, South Bay Consortium for Adult Education

Consortium focuses on pathway to childhood education to meet employer needs

The Challenge

School districts within the South Bay Consortium for Adult Education needed more workers in the area of early childhood education (ECE) and input from the region’s adult learner community indicated that there was substantial interest in this field. Seeing the opportunity to meet school district needs and satisfy adult learner interest, the consortium realized it needed to find a way to increase ECE offerings at adult schools within the region. It wanted a pathway that allowed students to begin earning college credit as they acquired education and/or job skills, while simultaneously completing high school or English as a second language (ESL) coursework.

The Solution

The address the challenge, the consortium turned to partnerships between its member community colleges and school districts, with the colleges providing instructors to teach ECE courses at the adult schools.

ECE courses at Campbell Adult and Community Education (CACE) were delivered, in partnership with West Valley College, using the I-BEST model. I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education Skills Training, and this model blends language and basic academic studies with career technical education (CTE), particularly for English as a second language students in classes that are at a level 3 or higher. The consortium trained 40 adult school and community college faculty in I-BEST, and four ECE courses were offered at CACE using this model.

The chair of the West Valley College Child Studies Department served as the CTE instructor for two of the four courses, working side-by-side a basic skills instructor who provided students with in-class immersion support and held office hours before and after class for those students who needed additional help. (College faculty co-taught other ECE courses.) The basic skills instructor also formed study groups and provided vocabulary and research support. An experienced ESL teacher provided additional support for English-language learners in the class.

At Santa Clara Adult Education (SCAE), a Mission College instructor teaches an ECE credit-bearing semester course, with the instructor and student textbooks covered by AEBG funding. The school offered a Child Growth and Development course in spring 2017 and the second course in the pathway, Child, Family and Community, in fall 2017, with each course earning students three units of credit. Students are eligible to obtain an ECE permit and work in the field after earning six hours of related credit.

The consortium expanded its ECE offerings this fall at Milpitas Adult Education (MAE), in partnership with San Jose City College, whose instructor teaches three courses at the adult school – one noncredit introductory course and two credit-bearing ECE courses, each a semester long, that will result in a total of three units upon successful completion. AEBG funding also covers the costs of these courses so they are free to students.


The consortium has been able to expand its CTE offerings to adult learners in the area, equipping them with valuable job skills and putting them on a pathway to a career in the early childhood education field. The offerings also provide a seamless transition to one of the region’s community colleges so students can continue their studies and earn a credential or degree. It truly has contributed to the social mobility of the consortium’s learners, while helping them to achieve personal and professional goals.

The Data

Eighty-one percent of students in the first CACE cohort who took college credit-bearing courses passed. At Santa Clara Adult Education, 78 percent of the 36 students who enrolled in the first course, ESL for Child Development, passed. Courses began at MAE in fall 2017, so data is not yet available.

Supporting Information

Child Development Permits are available at various levels. Each level has one or more ways to qualify. Individuals must meet all of the requirements listed in one of the available options.

Child Health & Safety Course Outline

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