COE debuts new video highlighting Bilingual Teacher Scholars

COE debuts new video highlighting Bilingual Teacher Scholars

The College of Education and Q-Loop Productions debuted a new video about WOU’s Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program in late January – an ambitious program that aims to help Oregon’s teaching force more closely match the state’s increasingly diverse student demographics.

Mark Girod, Dean of the College of Education, said the video was produced with Oregon’s ongoing legislative session in mind.

“Western Oregon University wanted lawmakers in our state to be aware of the good work happening on our campus through the Bilingual Teacher Scholars program as we seek to build an educator workforce that matches the demographics and cultural and linguistics assets of our K-12 students, families, and communities,” he said.

Maria Dantas-Whitney, a professor and coordinator of the program, said it uses a “Grow-Your-Own” model, a practice for recruiting, preparing, hiring and retaining culturally and linguistically diverse educators. WOU partners with school districts and community colleges across Oregon to recruit local students who aspire to become bilingual teachers, and who return to their communities as licensed educators upon graduation.

Girod said WOU regularly receives requests from other school districts across the state seeking to join this partnership program.

“Western is eager to expand but needs additional support to make sure appropriate scholarship money is available to students who want to become bilingual educators,” he said.

Dantas-Whitney said in addition to financial support, the program gives participants individualized support, leadership opportunities, professional development and connections to a supportive network of bilingual teacher mentors.

“Importantly, the curriculum emphasizes anti-bias, culturally responsive, and equity-driven practices that promote academic success,” she said.

The video discusses the history and successes of the program, which was created in 2014, and suggests funding for the program under House Bill 3427, the Student Success Act, could have a powerful positive impact on Oregon students.

“In short, the BTS program puts into practice the targets envisioned in HB 3427. We created this video to highlight the program’s goals and successes, and to advocate for its support,” said Dantas-Whitney.