October 31, 2011

ATLAS to Success

ATLAS full

For the fifth consecutive year, Hamline’s adult basic education program has received a grant to continue training teachers to mentor adult learners.

ATLAS, the Adult Basic Education Teaching and Learning Advancement System, provides resources and professional development to adult basic education teachers throughout the state. Those teachers work with adult students lacking high school diplomas or who are in need of basic skills. In addition, the program continues to work with teachers of adult English language learners, something that has been part of the Hamline University School of Education for nearly 20 years." 

“The Minnesota Department of Education sets aside funding for supplemental services,” program director Kim Johnson said. “They were so happy with what we’ve been doing that they’ve continued to support us with grants.” 

This year, the program received $547,000 from a combination of state and federal sources. Those funds will be utilized to continue and expand current efforts.

“I’m very proud of what we do for the teachers we serve,” Johnson said. “Adult education teachers are often overlooked despite the fact that their skills are highly valuable and in demand.”

Through this funding, faculty and staff coordinate training opportunities for teachers across the state, sharing Hamline expertise in greater Minnesota and bringing teachers to the Saint Paul campus for conferences, meetings, and events throughout the year.

One of the program’s most well-known initiatives is the annual Adult English as a Second Language Institute; a two-day educational session that prepares teachers to better work with non-native English speakers. Professional development courses in math, peer mentoring, and reading achievement are also offered.

The end result is that teachers emerge from Hamline University with the skills and passion to serve the unique needs of their students.

“Adult learners increase their math skills, improve their literacy, and thereby become more confident as citizens in our society,” Johnson said. “The teachers we train are definitely changing lives.”