The Texas Wesleyan University School of Education has received a five-year grant, worth more than $2 million, to continue producing certified bilingual teachers at the undergraduate level.
The grant is from the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), a part of the National Professional Development Program (NPD) to support educators of English learner students. The NPD program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education and schools with relevant experience and capacity, in consortia with states or districts, to implement professional development activities that will improve instruction for English Learners (ELs).
“The grant is not only an opportunity to offer financial aid to current and incoming students, but a way to network within the community to learn how our intervention can truly make a difference among the younger bilingual families and current teachers,” Shawn Farrell, Senior Director of Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations, said. “The grant conditions are broken into three parts: producing educators, holding staff development for in-service teachers working with ESL and six parent academies.”
The six partnering school districts include Fort Worth, Burleson, Everman, White Settlement Eagle Mountain/Saginaw and Mansfield ISD.
Texas Wesleyan has offered a quality undergraduate bilingual program for over 35 years, receiving a total of eight Department of Education NPD grants (the most recent five dating back to 1999) and producing more than 400 certified bilingual teachers. Over 90 percent of all program graduates pass their certification exam and were employed as teachers of English language students within six months of graduation.
The main focus of the grant agreement was to continue producing bilingual educators to fill the high need in public schools. This is achieved through offering 35 scholarships in both the fall, spring and even summer. Bilingual education students are often set to graduate in more than four years due to the extra course work and lack of financial aid offered in the summer. Due to the summer scholarships offered at TXWES, students are more seamlessly able to graduate within four years.
Staff Development Training
The second focus was to further educate current educators of English learners by providing training with a focus on vocabulary enrichment strategies. The training is focused on helping current teachers better deliver content implementing specific vocabulary strategy content. These in-services are in collaboration with six partnering school districts.
The third focus was to encourage parent involvement, which led to the development of a parent academy. The academy will target on specific school within each district, preferably an elementary level, to target parents of younger kids in hopes of instilling and developing good parent interaction to support student achievement and success in school. The academy will run once a week, for two hours at a time, for twelve weeks yearly. Training will include a curriculum, active parenting in English and Spanish for the first hour. For the second hour, schools will include a variety of other training for parents such as: resume writing, technology training, keyboarding, English language workshops, and offer other workshops based on specific needs. The School of Education is hoping the parent academy will serve 600 parents.
For more information contact Dr. Patsy J. Robles-Goodwin, Professor of Education, Bilingual/ESL Director and Director of NPD Grant.