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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

The Massachusetts Adult Education Professional Development System


ACLS has been investing in adult educators and programs for over 30 years through its adult education (AE) professional development (PD) system, known as SABES. Support from SABES for rigorous teaching and learning is an essential component of the state's AE system that directly benefits educators and, ultimately, students.

The state's AE mission is "to provide each and every adult with opportunities to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, better employment, and to reach his/her full potential as a family member, productive worker, and citizen." SABES embodies this mission by providing effective leadership, PD, and support to AE teachers, advisors, and administrators, in order to improve educator practice and enhance student outcomes.


SABES consists of five statewide PD centers that function as a coordinated whole:

  • Mathematics and Adult Numeracy (Math) Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
  • English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
  • Program Support PD Center
  • PD System Communication Center

PD System Priorities

  • Alignment with:
  • Flexible PD delivery options (intensive and non-intensive; online, in person, and blended)
  • Program-based, customized PD and coaching
  • Intensive PD and support for remote teaching, advising, and learning
  • Integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion into PD content, delivery, and resources
  • Implementation of educator growth and effectiveness model

Other Priorities

Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers:

English Language Arts logo
English Language Arts

Math and Numeracy logo
Math and Numeracy

ESOL logo

  • Strengthening practitioner content knowledge
  • CCRSAE implementation and contextualized curriculum
  • AE program curriculum review and feedback
  • Effective instructional strategies
  • Instruction and support for adults with learning disabilities
  • Integration of digital literacy into PD content and delivery
  • Integration of formative and other assessments, use of results to inform practice

Program Support PD Center:

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Program Support

  • AE program management and educational leadership
  • Student recruitment, enrollment, and persistence
  • Career pathways and workforce initiatives
  • Education and career advising
  • Digital literacy and distance education
  • Scheduling support for MIS trainings
  • Professional licensure support
  • ADA resources and training

PD System Communication Center:

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  • Maintenance, functionality, security of PD system website with online calendar, registration, and resource library
  • Maintenance of AE job opening section of website
  • PD promotion via social media, newsletters, email notifications

SABES is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), with funds managed by DESE's Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) unit. For more information about SABES, including the SABES calendar and resource library, visit SABES.

Last Updated: August 24, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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


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