The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $2 million grant to Butler University Associate Professor of Education Katie Brooks. The university says the five-year grant will be used to train 80 current or potential teachers to become licensed to teach English Language Learning students.
Butler says 20 college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in areas such as biology, mathematics, social studies, world languages or English will be able to get both a teaching license and an English as a New Language license under the grant. Sixty previously-licensed teachers will add the ENL certification to their licenses.
"The shortage of ENL teachers is so bad in Indiana that a lot of kids are not being served by licensed teachers; they’re being served by paraprofessionals who’ve had 2–3 days of training," said Brooks. "This is deeply needed in our state."
The university says the first year of the grant will focus on curriculum development and recruiting participants, followed by teacher training. Brooks says they want to find bilingual paraprofessionals with bachelor’s degrees who are already teaching.
"Everything we will be doing will be job-embedded coursework," she said. "We’re not having teachers do anything that doesn’t directly apply to their jobs. So instead of writing a paper for me, they’re going to create professional-development modules where they’re going to do teacher research and share what they’re learning. I want everything they do to make a difference in their schools and in the broader community."
Butler says it will also work with the city’s Immigrant Welcome Center to "promote family and community involvement" as part of the grant.