ABE Teaching & Learning Advancement System

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ABE Support Services

Support services play a vital role in ABE programs, and support professionals are key players in student retention and success. Support services include areas such as student registration and intake, testing, data entry and management, and any other accountability role. This could include teachers or managers with multiple roles who also serve as a program’s support staff.

This site was developed with the guidance of the Support Professionals Advisory & Resource Committee (SPARC).

To access Support Services resources, simply click on the categories to the right.

Support Professional Certificate

The new ABE Support Professional Certificate was created to build a culture of professionalism around ABE support services, acknowledge participation in relevant professional development, and help solidify the foundational knowledge and skills of ABE support professionals.

To earn the MN ABE Support Professionals Certificate, staff must provide evidence of participation in training for each competency in four critical domains: 1) ABE Program & Policy Knowledge; 2) Technology; 3) Customer Service; and 4) Effective Work Culture.

Below are the five documents you will need to complete the Certificate:

Support Professionals Advisory & Resource Committee (SPARC)

The primary role of SPARC is to identify support staff development needs and plan the annual ABE Support Services conference each fall. Group members are happy to respond to questions or comments that support professionals may have about anything connected to their work in ABE.

Please contact Brad Hasskamp if you are interested in joining the group.

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Support Services Conference

ATLAS, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and SPARC sponsor an annual statewide conference for support professionals, now in its 6th year. There is a half-day pre-conference focusing on orientation for new staff and assessment training, plus a full-day general conference that includes an ABE update from our state ABE director (or other state ABE staff) as well as concurrent sessions on topics such as the following:

  • Orientation to ABE
  • Accountability/NRS
  • Assessment
  • Data analysis
  • Intake and orientation practices
  • Enrollment practices
  • Customer service
  • Conflict resolution
  • Effective communication
  • Cultural awareness

Get more information about the conference >>

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Each year proposals on all topics are encouraged, but SPARC specifically wishes to address the following topics which align with the ABE Support Professional Certificate:

ABE Program & Policy Knowledge:

  • Overview of ABE: Programs, History, & Policy
  • Local ABE Knowledge: Specific to Consortium, District, Program
  • NRS Accountability & Rules
  • Assessment: New User, Annual, Certification


  • MARCS/MABE Database Management
  • Email Communication
  • Technology Tools: Software and/or Equipment

Customer Service:

  • Cultural Awareness & Understanding ABE Populations
  • Effective Client Communication
  • Conflict Resolution

Effective Work Culture:

  • Time & Task Management
  • Professionalism & Communication
  • Understanding Self & Others 

Support Services Survey (2010)

In 2010, ATLAS and SPARC designed and conducted a statewide survey of ABE support services staff. The purpose of the survey was to gather data that would enable us to plan and provide more relevant and appropriate PD activities for those who fulfill ABE program support roles such as student intake, testing, data entry and management, or any other accountability role.

The final analysis of the data collected is available under Research and Surveys in the PD SYSTEM tab.