Cayuga Community College hosted the Literacy Zone Summit for more than 250 adult educators May 20 through 22 at the Auburn Campus. Participants came from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Malone, Plattsburg, Long Island, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and many more cities.
Representatives from 35 different Literacy Zones attended the summit. Literacy Zones are a reform initiative developed by the New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department to close the achievement gap in urban and rural communities of concentrated poverty and high concentrations of families and individuals with limited literacy or English language proficiency. These zones were created to help meet the literacy needs of each child, adult, and elder through supportive literacy services.
The event was sponsored by the Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) and the Division of Community Education and Workforce Development. RAEN works specifically toward addressing adult education needs and providing professional development opportunities to those who work with adult learners. The group’s mission is to “provide professional development training and resources designed to increase educational and employment outcomes for adult learners.”
Dean Carla DeShaw welcomed attendees to the Cayuga Community College Campus during dinner at the Holiday Inn in Auburn the first night of the summit. The night continued on with guest speakers Dr. John B. King, Jr., Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York and Kevin G. Smith, Deputy Commissioner of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services.
The summit hosted 26 workshops and three plenary sessions over the weekend. Workshops included a variety of topics on literacy education, including using an iPad in a literacy zone. This particular workshop, taught by NYC RAEN Director Nell Eckersley, provided each participant with an iPad. Eckersley covered its basic use and provided some creative techniques for educators.
James Matt thanked Cayuga Community College President Dr. Daniel P. Larson for donating the college space.
“We thank you on behalf of our State Education Department for sharing the campus with our educators and partner agencies,” Matt said. “They were all so appreciative and impressed with your words, your generosity, and the value you placed on the work we all do to support adult literacy.”