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Washington State University receives 22M grant

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first_imgA $2.2 million grant to Washington State University will help put more than 50 bilingual teachers in classrooms in Vancouver and the Tri-Cities.The five-year grant from the Department of Education will allow WSU to provide full scholarships to at least 52 paraprofessionals — teachers’ aides who already are working in schools with English learners — to get bachelor’s degrees in education with English language learning endorsements.Washington State University Vancouver’s own Gisela Ernst-Slavit, an English learning professor with the College of Education, will lead the charge with a team of researchers from the WSU Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses. The campuses also will analyze the success of the program for the Department of Education, looking at how successful the new teachers are and how they’re able to help students succeed in school.The funding will help support paraprofessionals who already may be “outstanding educators,” but who have not received their degrees and teaching endorsements, Ernst-Slavit said.“With a grant like this, we can build on what they have,” Ernst-Slavit said.The grant will allow WSU to collaborate directly with school districts, including Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, to find paraprofessionals for the program.Washington faces a teacher shortage statewide, and in turn a severe shortage of English learning teachers, according to a WSU news release. None of the state’s 295 school districts had their English learning students meet reading or math standards during the 2013-2014 school year, according to a university news release.While Washington’s diverse student population continues to grow, she said, there’s often a cultural gap between teachers and the children they teach, she said.last_img read more