The College of Education Receives a Grant to Support Students, Families, and Educators

The College of Education Receives a Grant to Support Students, Families, and Educators

By Maddie Little

The College of Education received a five-year grant funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition through the U.S Department of Education. The grant will begin this school year and will continue through 2027. 

What are the focuses of the grant?

The grant focuses on serving students who are emergent bilingual learners through teacher professional development. The grant also focuses on improving the skills, abilities, and knowledge of preservice and inservice teachers to best meet the needs of students who are emergent bilinguals and their families. As part of the grant, the College of Education partners with two school districts: Hillsboro and Salem-Keizer School Districts.

Whom does the grant serve?

The grant serves preservice teachers, undergraduate students in the licensure or early childhood studies program. It also serves inservice teachers currently teaching in the Hillsboro or Salem-Keizer School District. Those participating in the grant are invited to join a cohort each year to receive funding to complete coursework that leads to an ESOL Endorsement.

What does the grant offer?

The grant provides funding for inservice and preservice teachers to add an ESOL Endorsement to their license. The grant also offers mentoring for preservice teachers. The students will be mentored by WOU graduates who already have an ESOL Endorsement and teach for one of the participating school districts. Five teachers from each of the cooperating districts will be mentors. The mentor teachers have significant experience working with families and students who are emergent bilinguals. Each mentor will have two mentees. The majority of the mentoring will occur virtually. The grant provides materials, supplies, and books for current teachers to support emergent bilingual students as well.

Homeschool Connection Fair:

Another part of the grant is a Homeschool Connection Fair. The Homeschool Connection Fair is in partnership with the cooperating districts, literacy scholars, and early learning experts. The goal of the fair is to build bridges between the language at home and the language at school so that students have more equitable access to the content and language that is happening in the classroom. Another goal is to position students’ linguistic skills as assets and to be able to build bridges for not only students and their families but also educators in the field. The event supports educators in understanding that what students bring with them into the classroom is a strength and teaches educators how to use those strengths to help students be successful in school. Although the event in each cooperating district will offer different services, there are a few common services. These include literacy support stations, an early learning expert discussing play backpacks to support literacy development, and culturally diverse author and illustrator speakers. The event is for families, students, and educators.

Goals of the Grant:

  • Supporting undergraduate students in earning their ESOL Endorsement.
  • Supporting graduate students/practicing educators in earning their ESOL Endorsement.
  • Curriculum development at WOU to instantiate ESOL strategies.
  • Bridging language at home and at school for early learners.
  • Developing mentor leaders so that the COE can develop a collective network of well-trained educators.

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