The Virtual Era
For the past few years, The River Consortium, members, partners, stakeholders, and providers have participated in planning retreats. As in the past, we began our retreat planning activities in January 2020 in anticipation of an early May meeting in the Palm Desert area. These retreats allowed consortium participants to review the “State of the Consortium” as well as develop plans and pilots for both the near and far future.
And then the world changed with the complications of COVID-19. Schools were shut down, businesses were shut down, and expected state revenues were impacted. It became a different world. As consortia transitioned to new models of instruction, adult educators learned about new technologies and virtual instruction – models that might survive and thrive post-COVID.
As much of the world dealt with virtual alternatives, education jumped on the bandwagon as well. Virtual and blended virtual programs and classes replaced (as best they could) traditional delivery formats. Education leadership teams also jumped on the bandwagon and through virtual meetings and planning sessions, continuity and content development emerged. To this end we have developed a two-part virtual retreat focused on both the State of the Consortium and the development of an Annual Plan for 2020/21.
The COVID era has become the virtual era.
The First Three Year Plan:
The first and original three-year plan was submitted to Sacramento on March 1, 2015 and updated in 2016. Year one of the three-year strategy began with planning and design, year two with scalable pilots and year three with full implementation. Much of what we planned was accomplished. To date these programs continue to expand and improve. Click here to read the updated 2016 Three-Year Plan.
Of the many goals of this original three-year plan, the following projects were implemented:
- Developed and expanded English and Spanish GED preparation and testing programs
- Piloted a Parent Education program focused on elementary school parents interested in helping their families improve learning outcomes.
- Piloted a Family Night project for pre-school parents and children based on the elementary Parent Project.
- Developed Career Technical Education programs for the Needles Center through a leveraged partnership with Needles Unified School District (automotive and welding)
- Piloted a Vocational ESL class for farmworkers as a first step to establishing an agricultural pathways program.
The Second Three Year Plan:
The second three-year plan was submitted to Sacramento in 2019. This plan focused on expanding and improving existing programs as well as exploring and developing scalable pilots for the near and far future. As part of the consortium’s expansion program, we focused on developing satellite sites that could expand existing programs as well as house some evolving pilots. 2019/2022 Three-Year Plan.
The Annual Plan:
We are in the first year of the 2019 three-year plan. To that end, we were asked to develop an annual plan for each year of the three-year plan, with certain modifications and mandates. We specifically were asked to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, structural racism (inequities), as well as more direct focus on employment, salary gains and transitions to post-secondary programs.
Regarding “gaps in service,” we identified challenges for parents tasked with “schooling-at-home,” expanding enrollments/marketing, bi-lingual inequities, improving career counseling, developing new delivery models, and providing child care (pre-school programs). We are now operating under the umbrella of the 2020/21 Annual Plan.