The Graduate School of Education has received a $1.96 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition that will prepare bilingual classroom assistants for a teaching license and an English as a second language endorsement. The five-year grant, called the Futures Project, will provide scholarships to students in PSU's Bilingual Teacher Pathway program (BTP).
One of the components of the new grant is a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). BTP students will find ways to utilize technology in their teaching and will learn effective methods for teaching STEM subjects to limited English learners at elementary, middle and high school levels. Another new component supported by the grant will be a culminating community outreach activity led by BTP students at their student teaching sites.
This grant will provide multiple benefits," said Esperanza De La Vega, director of the Futures Grant at PSU and coordinator for BTP. "The scholarships will help our teacher candidates afford the education they need to become bilingual/bicultural teachers. The school districts benefit with highly qualified teachers and linguistically and culturally diverse families and community benefit from teachers who understand that diversity. But best of all, K-12 students will benefit from having teachers who can provide meaningful access to the content of science and math, as well as guidance on how to use technology in their future.
BTP students must be sponsored by one of the PSU Graduate School of Education partner school districts that support and provide field experience placements for their employees who are students in the program.
The BTP program has been in place at PSU since 1998. In 2012 it won national recognition by earning the AACTE-Southern Poverty Law Center Award for Exemplary Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation. This was the second national recognition the BTP program received from AACTE. In 2005, the BTP was given The Best Practice Award for promoting diversity.
Over 257 bilingual individuals have completed the program, including this year's Middle School Principal of the Year, Victor Vergara BTP ’05, IAL ’12. Currently, 12 school districts in the North Willamette Valley participate in the BTP program: Beaverton, Canby, David Douglas, Forest Grove, Gresham, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, Portland Public, Reynolds, Salem-Keizer, Tigard-Tualatin, and Woodburn.