University is partnering with school district to boost instruction for limited-English students

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Pacific University's College of Education a $1.34 million grant to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education instruction for limited English proficient students.

Mark Ankeny, College of Education dean, said the majority of the grant funds will provide tuition for STEM-related pre-service and in-service teachers to earn the English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) endorsement at Pacific's Forest Grove campus.

'This generous grant will enhance our Master of Arts in Teaching program and allow our students and faculty to help teachers at our partner school districts become more competent in teaching ESOL students,' Ankeny added.

The College of Education currently partners with the Bethel School District in Eugene, Woodburn School District and the Forest Grove School District.

The goals and objectives of ESOL for STEM Educators are to:

Design, implement and evaluate an ESOL endorsement program for STEM educators for grades 6-12

Maximize the educational achievement of English learners in STEM subjects

Enhance STEM educators' awareness and understanding of the special needs and challenges that second-language learners face in academicsettings

Add 120 trained ESOL/STEM teachers to the workforce (40 pre-service National Science Foundation Pacific University Noyce Scholars and 80 experienced in-service STEM teachers from the Bethel, Woodburn and Forest Grove districts)

The project will be led by associate professor Catherine Eun-Joo Kim in Forest Grove, professor Kevin Carr in Woodburn and assistant professor Karren Timmermans in Eugene. The three co-authored the grant request, which underwent a rigorous review process and received all of the requested funding totaling $1,342,485 over five years.

The grant is from The National Professional Development program and administered by the Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition. To date, the OELA has awarded more than $24 million for professional development activities intended to improve instruction for limited English proficient students and assist education personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards.

Kim said she looked forward to working with the Forest Grove School District to educate individuals in STEM and ESOL protocol.

'We will be partnering with [the district] to support their STEM teachers to earn their ESOL endorsements,' Kim said. 'At this point I am waiting to hear the detailed facts of this grant from our funding agency. We will be in contact with our partnering school districts as soon as we get the exact details and are ready to start recruiting participants for this project.'

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