GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– Aquinas College, in collaboration with other community schools, received a large grant in order to train English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual teachers.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Aquinas $2,523,712 in order to help the lack of ESL and Bilingual teachers in Michigan. There are currently 88,000 students in need of ESL education, but only 300 programs available.
The force behind Aquinas earning the grant was Rui Niu-Cooper, Ph.D., an associate professor of education, who has been advocating for the improvement of classroom instruction for English Language Learners.
“This funding will allow us to address the crucial need for these educators in our community,” Niu-Cooper said in a press release.
The grant is in collaboration with other schools such as Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kellogsville Public Schools, Kentwood Public Schools, Kent Intermediate School District, Wyoming Public Schools, the Diocese of Grand Rapids Office of Catholic Schools, Godfrey-Lee Public schools and Godwin Heights Public Schools.
The use of the grant will be to provide the resources needed for training courses to give to teachers, paraprofessionals and in-service teachers. Once the courses are completed, participants can get Michigan Department of Education ESL/Bilingual teaching endorsements.
A kick-off meeting is scheduled for this week and recruitment for eligible teachers and paraprofessionals begins in October.