Issue #7                                                                                 July 2020
Our SkillUp website has new material!

Check out the new resources!
From the Desk of Beth Little
State Director of Adult Education
I was with two of my best friends recently and the topic of conversation was a show on HGTV called “Home Town.”  After listening to my friends (for what seemed like hours) excitedly discuss the show about a young couple who lives in Laurel, MS, who miraculously take older houses that in some cases have become ugly ducklings or abandoned and forgotten and turn them into beautiful masterpieces with a very limited budget, I decided I should at least check it out. 
I started watching one of their episodes, then two, then three… I think you get the picture, and it dawned on me why I was so intrigued by the concept. This is what we do in adult education each and every day! 
We enroll students (houses that may need upgrades) and help them transform into skilled employees (beautiful masterpieces), you guessed it, while using what seems like little to no money.  To me, “Home Town” also symbolizes our adult education programs during COVID-19.  Programs with limited resources have been hit by a pandemic and have miraculously persevered and used every resource available to adapt and change and now look better than before. 
The entire face of adult education in Mississippi has changed into something beautiful and is the result of ambitious, persistent, passionate educators and staff members whose goal is to produce a masterpiece in each student that walks through our doors.  Continue to make masterpieces!
“It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference."
                                          – Zig Zigler  
Due to the uncertainty of our times, we have cancelled the fall conference. 

Please contact the Hilton Jackson at
to cancel your hotel reservations. 
Responding to the Pandemic

Carla Causey
Assistant Director of Adult Education 
Assessment and Program Quality

On April 17, 2020, the Secretary delegated authority for programs over which the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education (Assistant Secretary) has administrative authority to grant waivers under the section 3511 of the CARES Act.

On May 15, 2020, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) published a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 29440) announcing 41 waivers that were granted to SEAs.

Thirteen of those waivers were for State grants authorized by Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (i.e., the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)). Three waivers were granted to SEAs for State grants authorized by Title II of WIOA (AEFLA).

What Does That Mean for Mississippi?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi has grown in leaps and bounds in terms of what adult education service delivery looked like prior to March. We have strapped on our boots, honkered down, and stretched ourselves to provide exceptional educational experiences.

We have updated our Assessment Policy to include the addition of Remote TABE Proctoring and assisted our participants via unconventional and innovative measures to obtain measurable skill gains that are just shy of our annual target. We have truly been in this together!

As we prepare to begin a new fiscal year, assessments are an important aspect of setting program goals.  Whether you carry-over the post-tests from this fiscal year or assess everyone anew, student performance is a key element to program success.

Training is imperative for proper utilization of resources and effective delivery of services.  Assessment certification is required annually and certificates of achievement must be on file for all program staff. 

Recent TABE Remote Proctoring training is available at:


High School Equivalency Tests

High school equivalency tests have changed over the past five years in Mississippi.  We went from being known for only the GED, to creating an option that showcases the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the people we serve.

In the upcoming fiscal year, Mississippi will only have three diploma options available for registration, the GED
®, HiSET®, and the MS Competency-Based Diploma.

The TASC test administered by Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) will no longer be a diploma option for MS after August 31, 2020.  There are no other surrounding states that will offer the TASC.

Until now, students could only take the GED® test at approved test centers. We are aware that some test centers remain closed or have limited appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GED Testing Services is offering a new Online Proctored GED Test as a pilot program in select areas of the U.S.

The policy differences for CBT and Online Proctoring can be found at:

Existing vouchers can be used when students are taking the test with OnVue Proctoring. However, students must have taken the GED Ready and scored in the green passing score range to be eligible to take the online proctored GED

Please contact PearsonVue with updated GED testing dates and seat availability as changes occur.

90-Day Seat Availability
90+ Day GED Test Center Open Day Outlook 6.10.20.htm


ETS and the HiSET program are pleased to announce the HiSET® exam at home option. With the at home option, you can take any of the five subtests that make up the HiSET® exam on your own computer at home or in another secure location.
HiSET at Home testing begins:​
  •  June 15, 2020 – registration opens for the HiSET® exam at Home​
  •  June 17, 2020 – HiSET® exam at Home testing begins
Eligibility requirements:
  • Test takers must be 18 years of age.​
  • Computer equipment must meet the requirements for the test — the test taker is instructed to use a link we provide to check prior to registration.
  • The test room must meet the requirements for an acceptable testing environment.
​There is an additional remote proctoring test center fee of $17.50. The HiSET subtest fee and state administration fee (if applicable) remain the same.​ Retests are allowed; retest fees apply. Existing program vouchers may not be used. You must purchase HiSET AT-Home vouchers. You can email to purchase these vouchers because the order form has not been updated.
Find free and low-cost downloadable test prep materials at:
Learn more about testing accommodations at ETS Disability Services:​

Dr. Tierra Flowers
Assistant Director of Adult Education
Professional Development

New Teacher Academy Goes Virtual

The Office of Adult Education’s Annual New Teacher Academy will take place, July 13-15, 2020, through Canvas. Normally, the academy is offered face-to-face; however, due to Covid-19 the training will go virtual. The purpose of the training is to provide an in-depth orientation to new teachers from the state level. This annual training also gives new teachers the opportunity to meet others from across the state as they learn and adapt to the processes that are required in Adult Education. We are excited to be able to offer this training in a virtual format to ensure that new teachers are able to have a foundation of Adult Education knowledge as they continue to SkillUP.
Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:
  • Intake/Orientation
  • IET
  • Smart Start
  • Assessment Policy
  • Instructional Assignments
  • Math/Reading Instruction
  • Effective Lesson Planning
  • Distance Learning
  • Persistence

For more information, please send e-mail inquiries to or
In order to continue the efforts in expanding high-speed internet services across our state, Mississippi’s Public Service Commission is needing to hear from its citizens. Zap the Gap survey gathers information in order to report areas where there are gaps in service to help future expansion efforts. The results are shared with FCC and providers in order to more accurately pinpoint areas of the state with insufficient coverage.

If you have these services, please do not complete this form.  Please let your students know about this survey to help in these efforts.
NEMCC HSE Graduation 
 On June 5, 2020, NEMCC Adult Education held its very first drive-through High School Equivalency and Career Pathway graduation. What an honor it was to watch the graduates and their families drive by sporting their graduation regalia. As students navigated down Tiger Lane, they were cheered on and congratulated by adult education staff, NEMCC Vice President, Dr. Craig Ellis Sasser, NEMCC President, Dr. Ricky Ford, and NEMCC’s First Lady, Mrs. Luanne Ford.

Thank you Northeast for sharing your celebration with us as you continue to serve your students during this pandemic!
Distance Learning Success Story
by Brent Johnson
Iuka Mobile Lab, Smart Start Instructor & Gateway Specialist
My personal distance learning success story does not actually involve a particular student, odd as that may be.  As the pandemic reached the United States of America, the Spring 2020 semester was in full swing and most instructors were coming back from a refreshing Spring Break ready to finish the program year on a strong note.  Very quickly, we all realized that this would not be a typical spring.  Especially in the last weeks of March and the first few weeks in April, my colleagues adapted and overcame.  We figured out Google classroom, Canvas, ZOOM, Facebook Live and a host of other distance delivery options.  At the same time we spent time constructing learning packets to distribute to those students who could not or would not access the internet.  Additionally we transformed dining room tables and back bedrooms into classrooms and office space and managed to teach productive lessons and keep student contact despite our pets/children/spouses also sharing the same spaces.  We did all this “to get by,” “to make it until things get back to normal,” or “just for a little while”. 

In mid-April and early May, it started to be realized that things were not going to “go back” quickly or maybe ever at all.  My colleagues, yet again, began to prepare for that situation.  In the past six weeks we have learned what it will look like to close a program year without being able to meet collectively.  Plans have been made to honor students who completed their studies but cannot be recognized by walking across a stage, the sign of achievement in almost all educational situations.  We have come to terms with the fact that, by no fault of our own, some programs/people may not survive this crisis due to financial shortfalls.  During this crisis, educators have once again done what we always do; we have put the needs of our students and programs above the personal ambitions we may have.  I would be fibbing if I said we did all of this without complaining occasionally or venting about the situation to our office mates (dogs), but the world is literally in crisis and a little vocal therapy is part of the coping process.  At the end of the day, my CV-19 success story doesn’t involve a student, but that is okay because it involves a whole profession of people who have worked hard and persevered to endure in the face of gravely unknown outcomes. 
Sue Jurich (pictured) was our May Trivia Challenge Winner!
She won bluetooth headphones.
Annie Sherrell (not pictured) was the March Winner! Annie won a waffle maker.
Trivia Challenge
The following questions will test your knowledge of adult education facts.  Please email your answers to with the subject “July Trivia.”  The first person to answer all questions correctly will be the grand prize winner and receive a special treat from the Office of Adult Education (OAE). The answers will be available in the next newsletter.
July Challenge Questions
  1. Online proctored testing is being offered by the following:
    1. TABE
    2. GED Testing Center
    3. HiSET
    4. All of the above
  2. According to OCTAE Program Memorandum 17-2, effectiveness in serving employers is a primary indicator of performance? True or False
  3. According to OCTAE Program Memorandum 19-1:
    1. List the 5 source document requirements for validating data for PIRL data element # 1332.
    2. What is the data element name for PIRL data element # 1332?
  4. How do you submit a success story for the website?
  5. The SkillUP Mississippi website has an interactive map which lists each adult education program by clicking on the county.  What contact information do you see when you click Covington County?
See March and May Trivia Answers at the end of the newsletter.
Trauma Informed Training
Trainer: Adrienne Ard

 Four Part Training
(you should attend all 4 sessions)
Thursdays in July
2:00 - 3:30 pm

Upcoming Events

Trauma Informed Training
July 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2020
2:00 - 3:30 pm

New Teacher Virtual Academy
July 13-15, 2020
Canvas & Zoom

GED Accommodations Webinar
August 6, 2020

New Director Academy
August 10-12, 2020
Canvas & Zoom

 ESL Instructor Virtual Training
September 2-3, 2020
Canvas & Zoom

Wednesday Webinars
For Program Year 2020-2021, the Office of Adult Education has scheduled Wednesday Webinars on the following subjects. 
If you are interested in participating in any of the webinars listed below, please contact your local director.
Webinars will begin at 2:00 p.m. 
July 8 - Credential Indicator
August 5 - Reboot Your Digital Literacy
August 19 - 10 Best Practices for Adult Learners to Land Meaningful Employment During COVID-19
September 9 -  Teaching Reading and Writing Online
October 14 - Opening Up Traditional Math Word Problems
November 11 - Lowing Recidivism While Strengthening the Workforce
December 2 - OAE

Previously recorded Wednesday Webinars stored in Canvas are:
  • Assessment Policy - Part I
  • Assessment Policy - Part II
  • Barriers/Exclusions
  • MSG/Student & SS Folder Checklists
  • NRS Tables Part I  (1,2,2A,3,6,7)
  • Desktop Monitoring
  • MAE Referrals
  • Data Flow Chart
  • NRS Tables Part II (4,4A,4B,4C,5,5A,10,11)
  • Wellness Wednesday
  • Attitude: The 6 Keys to Mental Wellness

 If you have a topic that you would like to learn more about, or if you need to be added to the Canvas course, please email

New Cohort to Begin in September
STAR is an evidence-based reading instruction professional development for instructors of adult learners. This PD trains teachers in reading instruction in the four essential components of reading. Teachers implement these instructional approaches in their practice to help adult students increase their reading skills.
Retirement Celebrations
The following individuals are retiring.  We appreciate all their years of service helping adult learners in Mississippi.  Congratulations on your retirement!
Carol King started in adult education in 1998 with TABE 5/6 which had no essay on the GED® exam. At that time all rolls and end of the year reports were done by hand.  She is retiring from Rankin County Schools where she was the Adult Education Director. She said, "This started as a job, but quickly became an extension of my life.  It has brought so much joy to watch individuals succeed when oftentimes they have struggle to meet success."

What are Carol's future plans?
She says, "I don't have any grand plans, but I am sure I will continue to ask young cashiers and waitstaff if they are in school. I am anxious to see what God has next. I will have more time for my seven grandchildren, working in the yard, and water-coloring.  I will truly miss my adult ed family!"
Carolyn Williams has served in adult education for 29.5 years. She is retiring from Southwest MS Community College where she was the Adult Education Director.

What are Carolyn's future plans?
She plans to visit Alaska and her oldest daughter. Her youngest daughter will have Carolyn's newest grandchild in July. She expects that will keep her busy!
Northwest MS Community College held a retirement celebration for Victor Richardson. He has been an Adult Education Instructor with Northwest for 25 years.  

What are Victor's future plans?
He said, "The picture is fuzzy right now, but as far as I can see, post-retirement will involve volunteering to help people with drug and alcohol dependencies. Of course, there will be hobbies and activities like woodworking, gardening, tutoring, church, spending time with grandkids, playing the piano, and housing rehabs."

Teacher Resources

Coping with Stress:
Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Coping With Stress - The federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a four-page guide to help all of us manage the stress and anxiety caused by infectous disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  It includes helpful tips for you or to share with students.

2020 Census:
The deadline to respond to the Census has been extended to October 31.  In the March newsletter we shared resources for helping your students be counted in the Census.

Distance Learning & Blended Learning:
Edtech has an adult education distance learning page with lots of resources for distance and blended learning.  There are also 8 free self-paced courses that you may be interested in taking. Those courses are:
Examining Social Issues in the Classroom with the Change Agent
Finding True North-Role of the Navigator
Ideas for Teaching Reading
Introduction to Blended Learning
Introduction to Mobile Learning
Introduction to Open Educational Resources
Supporting Student Persistence
Team Teaching-Models and Practice

American Institutes for Research (AIR) has high quality resources for distance learning, online teaching, digital literacy, and health literacy.

Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online in Response to COVID-19 is a faculty playbook. A team of higher education organizations provides advice and tips for faculty on how to design their courses for online delivery, enhance their online instruction and pursue continuous improvement.

Practice Tests:
Mometrix Test Preparation has free GED Practice Tests on their site for students. Use these with your students and let us know how things go!

Reading Instruction:

Illinois Adult Education has Tier 2 Vocabulary Units available for instructors who are teaching academic vocabulary to adult learners.  Look at these complete vocabulary units/lessons.

Math Instruction:  A free full math course that is specifically designed to review basic high school math skills needed for the GED® exam.  It meets the 2014 GED exam math requirements.  This course will also help if your students are taking the HiSET®.

CROWDEDlearning and Florida Literacy Coalition build a GED Video Math Prep website designed for learner self-study that organizes relevant Khan Academy videos into topics and subtopics.  They have turned this site into a free app! Now, learners can access learning on a mobile device or computer, track their work within the app, and launch directly into Khan Academy!  Check out all of CROWDED's resources at their site.

For students who are anxious about math or who need to slow down instead of rushing to solve a problem, consider using the lessons from Robert Kaplinsky's website.  Kaplinsky is a Los Angeles math teacher. Kaplinsky’s lessons are well-designed for teachers and are broken into grade levels.

Social Studies:
The Social Studies Virtual Unconference had many sessions and resources.  You can find recordings of the sessions and a curated list at the following links. The following websites were shared during the Unconference:

ESL Instruction: The SABES ESOL site has past PD and resources about using Zoom for ESL instruction, using WhatsApp, Quizlet, and some ESL instructional videos.

WhatsApp Remote Equivalents of In-Person Teaching and Learning is a document of resources for ESL teachers with ideas for using WhatsApp with all ESL levels.  

Citizenship Teacher Tutorials are available from the Illinois Adult Learning Resource Center.  There are videos on the citizenship process that may be useful to you and your students.

News for You® Voting Guide offers a free, easy-to-read voting guide which explains who can vote and why every vote counts.  The 11-page guide is geared toward ESL and low literacy levels to help them understand U.S. elections.  The guide is well suited for any election and is not specific to 2020 only.

Subscribe to this Newsletter at
To subscribe, go to the Educator section.  There is a newsletter page where individuals can subscribe.  Past newsletters are available there also.
February Trivia Answers:
 1. In order to earn a Smart Start Credential, you must also earn a NCRC of a Bronze level or higher.
 2. MIBEST stands for Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training.
 3. Measurable skill gains (MSG) are used to demonstrate participants’ progress toward achieving a credential or employment. For adult education programs, participants can demonstrate MSG in two ways: educational functioning level (EFL) gain and receipt of a secondary school diploma.  This statement can be found on page11-12 of the NRS Technical Assistance Guide.
 4. WIOA was signed into law on July 22, 2014.
 5. Bonus:  If a student has more than 12 hours in the current year and a valid assessment, why are they not a participant and reporting on the NRS tables? Because they did not earn 12 hours within a single period of participation.
May Trivia Answers:
1. List four reasons a participant may be excluded from the WIOA primary indicators of performance.
a)Participant becomes incarcerated in a correctional facility or has become a resident of an institution that provides 24-hour support.
b)Participant enters medical treatment that is expected to last more than 90-days.
c)Participant is a member of a reserve military unit and is called to active duty for at least 90 days.
d)Participant is deceased.
2. Should an exclusion be added to the update form and submitted to the data manager to enter in the data management system (LACES)? Yes!
3. True or False? According to the OAE Program Guidelines, all directors and instructors must take the TABE 11/12 and test results need to be on file with the director. True
4. The ESL Learning Styles Questionnaire can be found in the OAE Program Guidelines on pages 181-184.
5. According to the student folder checklist, the following is NOT required to be in a student’s cumulative folder: copy of immunization record, copy of state issued picture I.D., or work samples.   Copy of immunization record
6. List the four options MS offers to attain a high school equivalency diploma.
GED, HiSET, TASC, and Competency-Based High School Equivalency Option

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