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What is the Virginia Adult Educator Certification Program (VAECP)?

Accountability in the field of adult education extends from the individual classroom to state and national performance, meeting targets for student performance and goal attainment under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The field of adult education in Virginia is becoming more challenging: more accountable, and more focused than ever on helping adult learners achieve not only their educational goals, but also supporting workforce development. As these transformations take place, all instructional administrators, teachers and support staff need a common standard platform of knowledge and skills -- the effectiveness of an adult education program depends on it.

The VAECP was designed to provide all Virginia programs and their staff with access to current developments in adult education instruction and program management in order to more consistently meet the needs of adult learners throughout the state. It provides Virginia adult educators with a unified vision of excellence and opportunities to share with others in the field as we move forward in preparing our students for the learning and work challenges of the 21st century.

A Brief History of VAECP

In 2009, the VAECP consisted of training and development for adult educators within four strands: ABE/GED Instructor, ESOL Instructor, Program Manager, and Support Staff. Since that time, nearly a thousand educators have fully completed one or more of VAECP sessions and hundreds have achieved Level 1 certification within these strands.

In 2012-13 the Virginia Office of Adult Education and Literacy implemented a regionalized administrative structure for all adult education and literacy programs. The changing role of program managers and support staff under a regionalized structure and the passage of WIOA in 2014 impacted the content of the VAECP for these strands as a new set of knowledge and skills became apparent. Defining a standard platform for these strands remains in redevelopment at this time.

The VAECP Today

In 2014, the VALRC began implementing facilitated online certification courses for both instructor strands to improve access to timely professional development. In the VAECP Online courses for instructors, the three sessions of each level, the afterwork, and the action plan are incorporated into an 8-week, highly facilitated course. The VAECP Online allows participants to complete an entire level of certification through an interactive online setting consisting of individual work, group work, formative assessment, and reflection with a cohort from various geographical and classroom experience perspectives. Both levels can now be completed within a single year.

Teachers new to the field and experienced teachers benefit from the flexibility to individualize the learning on each topic to their own level, while participating in a professional online learning community and putting what they have learned into practice. VAECP Instructor online is facilitated by both content and technical specialists who serve as learning coaches. These facilitators come from a strong background in either ABE/ASE or ESOL and EL/Civics instruction. Facilitators are supported by content specialists at the VALRC.

In the VAECP Instructor online Level 1 and Level 2 courses teachers learn from the experiences and practices of colleagues in the field and are able to immediately apply their learning in the classroom. Instructors build their own digital literacy using online tools and create their own digital resources that can be referenced and enhanced throughout their career. Individuals who have completed Levels I and II and have taken masters level adult literacy classes in the Online Adult Literacy Certification Program since 2006 may be credited with Level III Instructor Certification.

The need for quality adult educators has never been higher. Nationally, there is a call to action for a new credential. Virginia is one state leading the way, with the overarching VAECP credentialing goal of increased learner achievement in programs where management, instructors, and support staff work together to provide the best possible environment for adult learning.

Schedule for upcoming VAECP trainings.

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The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.