The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of nearly $24.4 million for 73 grants to improve instruction for English learners. Located in 28 states and the District of Columbia, the grants support a variety of professional development activities for teachers and other educational personnel who work in elementary and secondary school classrooms with English learners.
Grants are awarded to institutions of higher education that partner with one or more local school districts or state education agencies. All grants are for five years in duration with the exception of the grant to Columbia University’s Teachers’ College, which is a three-year grant. The majority of these grants include professional development for science and math teachers of English learners.
“These funds will help upgrade the content and instructional skills of new and veteran teachers working with English learners, as well provide career ladder programs for paraprofessionals,” said Rosalinda B. Barrera, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition. “It’s critical for our English learners to have access to high-quality instruction in all subjects that will prepare them for success in college, the workplace and our global economy.”
Among the winners, eleven California universities received a total of $3.8 million of grant funds. State superintendent of public instruction, Tom Torlakson, explained, “"Nearly one out of every four California students is an English learner who faces the challenge of learning our curriculum and a new language at the same time. This much-needed funding will help our educators provide high-quality instruction to these students, whose success is crucial to the future of our state."
In New Hampshire, the Nashua school district will partner with the University of New Hampshire so that 80 district educators can complete the UNH English for Speakers of Other Languages certification program to better serve 1,200 ELLs.
“As teachers learn more instructional strategies, they will be better able to reach more students in their classes and become highly effective teachers,” said Robert Cioppa, coordinator of Nashua’s ELL program. “As research has shown, highly effective teachers impact student performance more than any other predictor.”