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Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Shemila Johnson, Northern Alameda Connected

Consortium pilots team-teaching approach to accelerate academic, career success

The Challenge

The Northern Alameda Connected consortium needed to find a way to deliver on the stated goal of the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) initiative, which is to “rethink and redesign an educational system that creates seamless transitions for students across adult schools and community colleges to accelerate academic and career success.”

The Solution

The consortium turned to the I-BEST model, an instructional approach that has been proven to effectively assist adult learners in acquiring needed foundational skills while simultaneously urging them to take on more challenging occupational or academic courses at the community college. The I-BEST model of team teaching was developed and pioneered in Washington state. I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training.

Under this model, the subject/content/career teacher teams up with a basic skills instructor to contextualize instruction and to combine their expertise through integrated teaching. This model also includes wraparound services to help students complete their programs and succeed.

Unlike Washington’s I-BEST, which involves two community college instructors, the teaching model being piloted in the area served by Northern Alameda Connected, formerly known as the Northern Alameda Consortium for Adult Education, is built around collaboration between adult school teachers and community college instructors. In this framework, particular issues or tasks requiring alignment of adult school and community college practices, scheduling and curriculum will be noted. When working across institutions, special attention will be paid to ensuring the administrative needs of each system are met.


Anecdotally from teachers, students benefited from two teachers and from contextualized basic skills (math, English) within the career technical education (CTE) course. Instructors are seeing the power and potential of team-teaching. In three I-BEST classes, the embedded teacher helped everybody. In the surveys, students reported better outcomes as a result. In general, the main outcome is that students work with the I-BEST teacher to help them with the class. In two classes, the I-BEST teacher focused on tutoring a few English as a second language students in an early childhood education class. Students are receiving basic skills instruction within their CTE course in order to succeed. For early childhood education, it encourages students to try a class that might otherwise be too hard; it’s a good bridge class to test their ability before enrolling in a non-I-BEST class. For the other classes, this approach provided additional support for students, not only in the content, but in the technological demands of the class (two of the three were hybrid courses).

The Data

No data are available at this time, as the pilot is underway.

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