MLC Coordinator Newsletter – November 2007



1. Volunteer Management Conference (VMC) Right Around the Corner

2. Proliteracy Resources

3. Coordinator Resource: Yahoo Groups

4. Shop for a Great Cause!

5. Upcoming Trainings

6. Job Announcements


For more information or to unsubscribe, please contact Cathy Grady, MLC Adult Program Director: 651-645-2277, Ext. 208 or


1.      The VMC is Next Friday, November 16

Please join us for the 2007 Volunteer Management Conference!

    What: A one-day conference focusing on volunteer management issues in adult literacy programs. This year's theme is student and volunteer retention.
    Who Should Attend:
Volunteer coordinators, managers, teachers, and other staff members involved in volunteer management/support.
    Where: Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Minneapolis, 55430 Click here for directions to the conference.

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    How to Register:
Go to and register online (or download and print a form to fax or mail).
(Those coming from programs 50 or more miles from the Twin Cities will be provided with free lodging the night before the conference.)


 8:00 - 8:30         Registration and Continental Breakfast
 8:30 – 8:45        Welcome

8:45 – 10:00      Keynote Session

    Understanding the Motivations of Your Volunteers Leads to Retention - Zeeda Magnuson

If you understand why people volunteer and can tailor your interaction and volunteer opportunities to embrace and support motivational differences you will see an increase in volunteer longevity.  Learn the basic process and skills to recruit, supervise and recognize volunteers to determine their volunteer motivations and how that leads to volunteer retention.

10:15 – 11:30    Concurrent Sessions

    Volunteer Trends & How They Impact Your Volunteer Management – Zeeda Magnuson

“Boomers are coming…Boomers are coming” is a call we have heard for years.  It is true, the Baby Boomers are retiring and we need to design best practices to invite them to volunteer with our organizations.  However, there are other trends to be aware of and we need to be thoughtful of how each trend will impact our program and management techniques.   Gain insight, project future needs, make proactive decisions and anticipate challenges by talking through volunteer trends.

     Dealing with Difficult Volunteers – Heather Cox

The shadow side of volunteer management is dealing with volunteers whose own agenda or awareness of their contributions might not necessarily mesh well with our organizational missions. How do we manage volunteers who are challenging? Come to this workshop and learn some strategies for coaching as well as ways to terminate volunteers while protecting your programs. We will discuss ways to determine motivation and feedback styles, as well as learn from each other best practices for dealing with difficult volunteers!

     Welcome to the Jungle: Balancing Volunteer and Learner Needs in the Classroom – Andrea Echelberger, Fidelity Kernes

Come discuss the various roles that volunteers can take on in the classroom, and how to ensure that these roles are helpful to the learning process and are not adding additional prep time for the teacher. We will also examine how to work with volunteers so that they are being supported and their needs as well as the needs of the learners are being met. Finally, we will look at different ways for coordinators to connect with volunteers outside the classroom to offer additional support and encouragement.

    When 1 + 1 = 3 – Volunteer Issues Committee

When collaborations between volunteer literacy programs and other organizations are well-planned and effectively managed, they can be beneficial for all involved. This session will provide an overview of the key elements of effective partnerships, a panel discussion with examples of some specific and highly successful literacy collaborations, and an opportunity for participants to begin their own planning for community collaboration

 12:45 – 2:00       Concurrent Sessions

    Story by Story : A Contextual Phonics Model and Curriculum for American-born Adults “Learning to Read” – Marn Frank

The population of American-born adults with low literacy skills (GE 0.0-1.9) is a challenging group to serve and retain. They require individual or small group instruction, tend to make slow progress, are easily discouraged, and often have inconsistent attendance. Story by Story, a research and practitioner-based contextual phonics model and curriculum, was developed for this population. It includes informal word analysis assessment, sequential word study, and fluency/comprehension stories for individual or small group instruction.  Participants in this workshop will receive step-by-step training in the model, a word analysis inventory, and the aligned Level I curriculum for teacher or tutor use.

     Successful Strategies for Adult Learner Persistence – Sandy Schroepfer

Come to this interactive workshop to learn about six strategies and resources for addressing learner persistence in ABE programs based on research from the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL). Workshop participants will consider what they might do to address learner persistence in their own programs, classes and tutoring sessions.  Participants will receive handouts with strategies and resources for addressing adult learner persistence, motivation and retention.

     What Does Meaning Volunteer Recognition Look Like? – Gail Irish

This is an old topic, but people are always coming up with new ideas or proving that the tried and true ones are still effective. How can we recognize volunteers in ways that make them feel invested in the program, affirm their contribution, and make the programs stronger for our learners as well? Come and find out what other coordinators are doing, and bring your own ideas to share.

     Evaluating and Supporting Instruction – Astrid Liden

 2:15 – 3:30        Concurrent Sessions

     Introduction to the Karen People of Burma – Jennifer Asp, Jonna Meidal, Bethany Gustafson, Jen Ouellette

The Karen are an ethnic group from Burma (Myanmar) who are coming to the US as refugees.  This session will provide participants with an introduction to the history, culture and language of the Karen people.   Presenters will also discuss how Karen learners function in the classroom and strategies for working effectively with Karen learners.

    You Are Here, But Where Are the Volunteers?  Developing a Volunteer Outreach Plan – MLC Staff

Are you lost when it comes to volunteer outreach?  Share your successes and mishaps on the road of finding the perfect volunteers.  Discover the tools the MLC has to offer you and your program along the way.  Together we can map out a path to the land of 10,000 volunteers.

     Preparing Lessons for Volunteers: Work Worth Doing! – Erika Vasquez, Courtney Paulson

Preparing lesson plans takes extra time but it helps tutors succeed and students learn. Most ABE volunteers have limited experience designing lesson plans and little extra time outside of class. In this session you will learn about the benefits of having easy to follow lesson plans ready for your tutors so that they can focus on teaching and be more relaxed and creative in the classroom.

     Volunteer Training, Episode 14: What’s New, What’s Exciting, What’s Required? – Rob Podlasek

Come learn or brush up on the ABE volunteer training requirements, learn what programs are doing for volunteer training, and explore some exciting future possibilities for volunteer staff development.

 3:45 – 4:00                   Closing Session


2.  Got Proliteracy?

 Want national or international literacy statistics? Need to know the best ways to use volunteers to reduce your learner waiting lists? Interested in how to increase the intensity of instruction in your volunteer-based literacy program? It’s all available to you free on the Proliteracy Web site at


 3. Coordinator Resource        by Sarah Krzewinski, MLC Learning Center Coordinator

 Here at the MLC Learning Center – North Side we have come up with a great way for all of our volunteers to keep up with center happenings as well as to document what is happening in their classes from day to day. We have started a Yahoo Groups Web site. On the Web site there is a page for each class level where each volunteer logs on and writes their update about their class. Once this is entered, volunteers from other days of the week can log on anytime to see what has been happening in class. It has been such a great tool for all of our volunteers, especially those who like to do a lot of their planning at home. They can log on from their home computers and all the information is right there. We also use the Web site to send out announcements, post useful Web sites and pictures. It can also be used by volunteers to post messages to others about finding subs for their classes. It really is a very wonderful tool!

To create your own group Web site, go to and follow the directions.


 4. Shop for Two Great Causes

 For gift-giving that will make a difference many times over, shop at Ten Thousand Villages on Grand Avenue in St. Paul on Friday, December 14 from 5 – 8 p.m. This unique gift shop will donate 20% of all proceeds during this time period to MLC. Ten Thousand Villages provides vital, fair trade income to Third World artisans by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America. So shop for holiday gifts like jewelry, folk art, decorations, musical instruments and children’s toys on December 14 from 5 – 8 and you’ll be benefiting two great causes!

 Ten Thousand Villages
 867 Grand Avenue in Victoria Crossing
 St. Paul, MN


5. Upcoming Trainings – All trainings will be held at the MLC main office unless otherwise noted.

 ESL Pre-Service

November 6, 8, 13, 15
   Tuesdays, Thursdays   9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

 December 11, 13, 15
  Tuesday, Thursday    6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  Saturday                 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 January 7, 9, 14, 16
   Mondays, Wednesdays      6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

January 15, 17, 22, 24
   Tuesdays, Thursdays        9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

January 29, 31, February 2
   Tuesday, Thursday      6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
   Saturday 9:00 a.m.     3:30 p.m.

Reading, Writing, and GED

January 8, 10, 12     
  Tuesday, Thursday      6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  Saturday  9:00 a.m.   3:30 p.m.

February 11, 13, 18, 20
  Mondays, Wednesdays    6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

March 25, 27, 29   
  Tuesday, Thursday     6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  Saturday                  9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

May 5, 7, 12, 14
  Mondays, Wednesdays    6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.



  - Effective Teaching Strategies with Somali Learners
November 27, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

 - Teaching Conversation
December 3, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

 - Strategies for Checking Comprehension
December 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.


 6. Job Announcements

 Several open ABE teaching jobs are listed on the following Web sites: 

 Wow! You made it to the end. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at the conference next Friday.

 Cathy Grady
Adult Program DirectorMinnesota Literacy Council
756 Transfer Road
St. Paul, MN 55114-1404
651-645-2277 ext. 208
Fax: 651-645-2272
Web site:

The Minnesota Literacy Council shares the power of learning through education, community building, and advocacy.



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