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Brooke Istas, the new moderator of Correctional Education

Hello All,

This week sees the move from the LINCS Subject Matter Expert (SME) – model to that of a moderator-facilitated discussion groups.  For the Correctional Education group, this means that the current SME – Heather Erwin, will be moving from her current role and I will become the new moderator of this community of practice (CoP).  I would like to thank Heather for her time invested in this community of practice and for her many other contributions to the field.  I am thrilled to be the new moderator and equally excited to continue to work with Heather as a contributing member.

For some, I am new here – so let me introduce myself.  My name is Brooke Istas and I currently teach mathematics at Cowley College in Kansas.  For last eight years, I worked in our adult education program as the Instructional Coordinator/Mathematics Instructor in face-to-face, online, and blended classes; both in and out of the correctional settings.  I am familiar with the difficulties that many of you have because I have had them, too.  In addition, I have worked as the Subject Matter Expert for the Math and Numeracy Community of Practice for the past five years and have given trainings on mathematical and science concepts for LINCS.

Each of us brings a depth of knowledge and expertise to our community, I look forward to getting to know and learn as a member of this community.  I welcome your feedback, questions, concerns, issues, thoughts and suggestions for making this community a place you value for answers to tough questions, resources to improve instructional strategies, look to others for help and support each week.

Whether you are new to this community or not, please feel free to introduce yourself and answer these two questions:

1.  What is something you are struggling with right now in your program, classroom, or facility?

2. What are your current learning interests to help you improve or support what you are currently working on?

As we begin to post – I would like for those of us reading the responses to reply to posts that intersect with our own thoughts, challenges, or interests.  If you are interested in something I mentioned in this introduction and want to now more, please post a reply to ask about it.

Brooke Istas


Heather Erwin's picture

Hello All,

Please do join me in welcoming Brooke as the new Correctional Education Group Moderator!  Her experience and innovations in adult education classrooms will bring incredible opportunities for wonderful discussions and thought expansion to the group. I anticipate remaining involved in the group as both a participant and a contributor of specific episodic events around particular areas of interest in Corrections Classrooms and am excited to work with Brooke to create new opportunities for the exchange of important information.

In response to Brooke's questions above:

1 -- One of the struggles I continue to face is how best to recognize specific needs of individual classrooms and facilities in a way that is replicable in order to benefit the entire CE community. We are experiencing an influx of incredible resources and delivery platforms into secure classrooms, and determining which resources are best suited for particular situations is incredibly challenging.  I'd love to hear thoughts about what other educators in classrooms everyday feel would best meet their needs while expanding both their and their students digital literacy skills, in order to improve their chances for reentry success.

2 -- My current learning interests center around STEM instruction and the expansion of traditional teaching methods to support tech-based instruction and improve educational gains.

-- Heather

BrookeIstas's picture


It is my honor to continue on this path that you have started - I am so glad that you will be in the community and working with me to create new opportunities for the exchange of important information.  Thank you also for taking the time to answer the questions that have been posed to the group.  I hope that others will contribute.  It helps to know that we aren't alone in the trenches.  

If you don't feel comfortable answering these questions in this discussion please contact me at my personal email.  I would like to know how the community can better serve you.


Kathy_Tracey's picture

I have been a contributor of ideas to some extent, but mostly a lurker - learning from the input, ideas, and expertise shared. Currently, the i-Pathways project ( is deployed throughout the Illinos Department of Corrections. As a web-based project, we were able to develop a secure technology infrastructure. My current learning interests emphasize the professional development needs of educators as it relates to technology. Furthermore, I would like to learn models of PD delivery for corrections education.