Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Mission Statement

To provide each and every adult with opportunities to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment, and to reach his/her full potential as a family member, productive worker, and citizen. — Adopted in 1993

Hot Topics

We are happy to welcome a new addition to the ACLS team, Yvonne Gittelson, Adult Education/Correctional Institutions Program Specialist.

Yvonne comes directly from a position as Education Coordinator at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction, where she oversaw the ABE program, the Title 1 program, and the Perkins program there. Prior to her work in Adult Education in Corrections, she was a seasoned K–12 classroom teacher working in large, diverse public high school settings in Berkeley, California and Amherst, Massachusetts as a history and social sciences teacher. Yvonne will be responsible for working with the corrections programs that currently receive state or federal grant funding. She will also be working with two community-based programs.

We are excited to have an experienced person join our team who is familiar with the corrections sector of adult education.

We are happy to welcome a new addition to the ACLS team, Joeatta Smith-Nwachuku, Fiscal Program Specialist.

Joeatta most recently worked at the State of Oklahoma Department of Education and is familiar with adult education through her previous work with DESE in the Grants Management Unit. Joeatta, will be responsible for reviewing grant applications, continuation applications, budgets, and budget amendments. She will serve as liaison between ACLS (PS), Grants Management and the Center for Administration and Finance (e.g., budget, grants, financial management, and procurement offices) as it relates to adult education programs, contracts, and services. She will also be providing technical assistance to several Adult Education programs.

We are so glad to have a scored a seasoned fiscal person as well as someone familiar with adult education!

Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline

Are you a Massachusetts resident who wants to get a high school equivalency credential or learn English? The Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline provides referrals to hundreds of adult education programs that offer English language training, high school equivalency test preparation, and other services.

Call (800) 447 – 8844


Adult Education System Evaluation Final Report 2020 (December 2020)

ACLS commissioned the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) to determine if recent adult education system changes have contributed to improvements in the quality of and access to educator PD, quality of adult education provided, and student outcomes. We invite you to review UMDI's Adult Education System Evaluation Final Report reflecting the perspectives of students, directors, teachers, advisors, ACLS staff, and other stakeholders along with findings and recommendations for the future. The report is posted on the Workforce Development and Adult Learners link of the DESE Reports by Topic page.

What Is "ACLS"?

Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS), a unit at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, oversees and improves no-cost basic educational services (ABE) for adults in Massachusetts.

What Is "ABE"?

ABE stands for Adult Basic Education. ABE is an umbrella term used to describe a range of educational services for adults from basic literacy (including English for non-native speakers of English), numeracy, and high school equivalency / adult diploma programs (ADP).

How Does ACLS Help Adults?

ACLS funds programs in Massachusetts to provide educational services to adults with academic skill levels below 12th grade, and/or adults who need English language skills to succeed in our communities. Through both federal and state grants, we fund a broad network of education providers/programs, including local school systems, community-based agencies, community colleges, libraries, volunteer organizations, correctional facilities, and others. ACLS also funds family literacy and workplace education programs.

How Does ACLS Work To Improve the Adult Basic Education Service Delivery System?

In addition to ABE classes, ACLS funds innovative projects to enhance programs' delivery of services, including curriculum frameworks, health education, English Language Civics, community planning, distance learning, family literacy, workplace education, and technology.

ACLS also funds the professional development of teachers and other professionals in ABE programs through the System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES).

Last Updated: June 24, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.