TSTM Resource Toolkit Image

In July 2020, ACLS joined a team of eight states participating in the Teaching the Skills That Matter (TSTM) in Adult Education project . This project, led by American Institute for Research (AIR) and the Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), trains teachers to integrate the skills that matter to adult students using approaches that work across critical topic areas. Using the project's tools and training, adult education teachers can teach the transferable skills students need in these critical contexts.

9 Skills

5 Topic Areas

3 Approaches

  1. Adaptability & willingness to learn
  2. Communication
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Interpersonal skills
  5. Navigating systems
  6. Problem solving
  7. Processing & analyzing information
  8. Respecting differences & diversity
  9. Self-awareness
  1. Civics education
  2. Digital literacy
  3. Financial literacy
  4. Health literacy
  5. Workforce preparation


  1. Integrated & contextualized learning
  2. Problem-based learning
  3. Project-based learning


See the link below to access the TSTM toolkit, free! 

Each participating TSTM state has a team of four teacher leaders and a state adult education representative.

A TSTM Team's Role:

The role of the MA TSTM team is to:

  • In collaboration with ACLS and SABES C&I centers,

    • develop the TSTM implementation and sustainability plan. ACLS anticipates releasing this plan in early 2021
    • train adult education and ESOL teachers in the TSTM teaching practices
  • Disseminate TSTM best teaching practices to adult education providers
  • Represent Massachusetts at national TSTM events

Massachusetts TSTM pilot teachers:

  • Laura Porter, TSTM ESOL Teacher, Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center
  • Christa Exter, TSTM Math Teacher, Methuen Public Schools Adult Education
  • Brooke Machado, TSTM ELA Teacher, Boston Public Schools Adult Education
  • Lena Marecki, TSTM ESOL Teacher, Chelsea Public Schools Adult Education

For questions related to TSTM in Massachusetts, please contact Dana Varzan-Parker, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Policy Coordinator and TSTM Team Lead, at dana.varzan-parker@mass.gov.

Topic Area
ABE/Adult Education
Civics Education
College and Career Readiness
Curriculum Development
Education and Career Planning
Educator Effectiveness
Integrated Education and Training (IET)
Workforce Development
Media Type
Resource Type
PD Center
Adult and Community Learning Services