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TWU, Fort Worth ISD receive $1.3 million to improve English language literacy



DENTON — Texas Woman’s University and the Fort Worth Independent School District have been awarded a $1.3 million federal grant to improve English language literacy and the academic achievement of English language learners in the Fort Worth ISD.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Professional Development Program in the Office of English Language Acquisition recently awarded grants for projects designed to increase the pool of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve students with limited English proficiency and increase the skills of teachers already serving them.  Project ACCELERATE, a collaborative effort of TWU and the Fort Worth ISD, received $1,306,911.

“Teachers at times have in their regular classes students who don’t have the English language background to be successful.  This grant will provide the teachers with strategies and tools to meet the needs of those students,” said Dr. Pat Casey, TWU assistant professor of educational leadership and a co-director of Project ACCELERATE.

“State achievement statistics show a large gap between the academic performance of English language learners and those who know English,” said Dr. Claudia Sanchez, TWU assistant professor of teacher education and a co-director of the project.  “Our goal is to improve the education offered to students in the Fort Worth ISD, and we can do this through the preparation of in-service teachers.  Teachers want to know the latest research-based information so they can influence children.”

Project ACCELERATE is a five-year professional development program designed to advance English language learners’ knowledge in reading, math, science and social studies.  A total of 66 content-area teachers in Fort Worth ISD secondary schools will participate in coursework leading to nine graduate credit hours that can be applied to a master’s degree at TWU.  Those 66 teachers then will provide professional development to other Fort Worth ISD content-area teachers who also teach English language learners.

The first year of the project will be dedicated to planning, which includes conducting a needs assessment and designing the professional development program.  Over the next three years, 22 content-area teachers per year will be trained.  The fifth year of the project will focus on monitoring participating teachers in their classrooms.

“It’s been a wonderful collaboration with the university,” said Margaret Balandran, executive director of bilingual education for the Fort Worth ISD and a co-director of Project ACCELERATE.  “This project will be integrated into our district’s professional development offerings and give us a systematic process for providing professional development.  Our teachers are very dedicated and are always searching for more resources and strategies to use.  They want to be the very best teachers for their English language learners and I am sure that we will be able to recruit many of them for this project.”

For more information on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Professional Development Program in the Office of English Language Acquisition, visit www.ncela.gwu.edu/newsline/archives/2007/07/2007_national_p.html.





Media Contact:

Karen Garcia
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: kgarcia@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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