Gretchen Bitterrlin Receives A Special Commendation Award at the CASAS Summer Institute
by Stephanie Thomas
Now it’s official: Gretchen Bitterlin has received every conceivable award the fields of ESL and adult education have to offer. At the CASAS Summer Institute, Patricia Rickard presented Gretchen with a Special Commendation Award recognizing Gretchen’s indefatigable contributions to adult education in California and nationally. As the award states, Gretchen has indeed made a profound difference not only in the lives of the students she serves, but in the lives of educators who have been privileged to work alongside her throughout her career.
In the words of Patricia Rickard, “Gretchen has provided outstanding leadership and has made significant contributions to adult education, not only within the San Diego Community College District, but also statewide and nationally. She has made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of adult learners, adult educators and her colleagues who have worked with her throughout her career in adult education. Gretchen was a pioneer in the implementation of Competency Based Adult Education (CBAE) in ESL programs. In the 1970’s, she saw the need for more competency based curricula to meet the survival needs of the new Southeast Asian Refugees, and was one of the lead authors in developing instructional materials and staff development training materials focused on implementing CBAE in the ESL classroom. She served on statewide assessment committees to assist in developing CASAS assessments for ESL. As coordinator of the ESL program in SDCCD Continuing Education, she has developed a program that has won numerous awards as a model program and for Promising Practices within the program. She has given generously of her time to serve on state and national level ESL committees to improve the content standards, curriculum and delivery of ESL to adult learners throughout the country. We wish her well in her retirement, knowing that she has been an outstanding role model for the next generation of adult educators.”