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SLU, JEFFERSON PARISH PARTNER
IN PROJECT IMPACT -- Kathleen Leos, associate deputy under secretary of
the Office of English Language Acquisition, center, presents Jefferson
Parish Assistant Superintendent Isaac Joseph, left, and Southeastern President
Randy Moffett, right, with a large facsimile of a check during an Aug.
3 ceremony for Project Impact, a new Southeastern program to train Jefferson
Parish teachers and administrators, and Southeastern education faculty,
to work with children who speak limited English. Project Impact is
funded by a $598,000 U.S. Department of Education grant.
SOUTHEASTERN AWARDED $598,000 FEDERAL GRANT FOR
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana
University has received a $598,000 U.S. Department of Education grant for
Project Impact, a program designed to train Jefferson Parish teachers,
administrators and staff who work with children who speak limited English.
Diane Allen, dean of Southeastern’s
College of Education and Human Development, said Project Impact was one
of only 18 National Professional Development programs at colleges and universities
in 13 states selected for the grant, which is funded by Title III of No
Child Left Behind and administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition.
“This was a highly coveted grant,”
Allen said. “We can be really proud that Southeastern was selected.”
Kathleen Leos, associate deputy
under secretary of the Office of English Language Acquisition, presented
the grant to the university on Aug. 3 in a brief ceremony in the Cate Teacher
Education Center. Participants also included Allen; Southeastern President
Randy Moffett; Jefferson Parish Assistant Superintendent Isaac Joseph;
Wendy Staffeldt, coordinator of federal programs for Jefferson Parish schools;
and Fernando Arriola, representing Jefferson Parish parents.
“This university has a very unique
opportunity to work with the state, with the local school district and
with families of limited English proficient (LEP) students to become a
model for the rest of the country,” Leos said.
Rossana Boyd, coordinator of
the Southeastern’s English as a Second Language (ESL) add-on certification
program, said the grant will benefit more than 500 children, 150 teachers
and 120 non-instructional staff in six Jefferson Parish schools. Selected
on the basis of need, the schools are Grace King High School, West Jefferson
High School, Meisler Middle School, Gretna Junior High, J.C. Ellis Elementary
School, and Boudreaux Elementary School.
In addition to training Jefferson
Parish teachers, Boyd said Project Impact will allow Southeastern faculty
to incorporate issues related LEP education into the university’s teacher
preparation curriculum. Also through the grant, Southeastern will produce
print and audio versions of translated school policies and procedures to
distribute to the parents of LEP students.
Boyd, a native of Honduras who
has more than 20 years experience in bilingual education, said Jefferson
Parish has the largest number of LEP students in the state -- nearly 2,000
students in 48 different schools. Those students speak 50 different languages,
with the most prevalent at the six target schools being Spanish, Vietnamese,
Urdu, Arabic, and Chinese.
“These students,” Boyd said,
“arrive here at different ages, with different cultural backgrounds, and
different levels of education and English proficiency. Some come from war
torn countries, while others come from stable, well-educated households.
Some are literate in their native language and may speak some English.
Others are totally pre-literate.
“Teachers with these students
in their regular classes struggle to instruct them on a daily basis,” Boyd
said. “The teachers are unfamiliar with the culture and language, about
how to adapt lessons, and how to assess students fairly based on their
language and academic needs. They also need to learn how to involve parents
of LEP students in the school improvement process.”
Boyd said Southeastern worked
closely with Jefferson Parish in designing Project Impact. In each of the
project’s five years, 30 Jefferson Parish teachers will participate in
three days of training to learn how to tailor their curricula, teaching
methods and testing to increase the achievement of their LEP students.
Another three-day in-service workshop will focus on ways to communicate
with and involve parents.
Each year, 12 school administrators
and 12 first contact school personnel, such as secretaries, will participate
in a summer institute to learn how to effectively meet the needs of LEP
students and parents. In the final year of the grant, 12 teachers
– two per school – will receive additional leadership training so that
they, in turn, can provide LEP training in other Jefferson Parish schools.
Boyd said that the training Project
Impact provides would help LEP students – and the school system – close
the gap that currently exists between LEP students and their peers on required
evaluations such as the Louisiana Education Accountability Program.
“Students are expected to acquire
English language and core content area knowledge at the same time they
are adjusting to a new culture,” she said. “Meanwhile, teachers have to
meet the challenge of preparing students to demonstrate competency in the
content areas that they are teaching, including English.”
The Project Impact is Southeastern’s
second federal grant targeting LEP students and teachers. In 2002, the
university received $1.2 million for Project Teach, which affects
schools in Tangipahoa, Livingston, East Baton Rouge and Lafayette parishes.
Through Project Teach, 90 teachers
annually participate in ESL training workshops and 20 complete the four
Southeastern Internet courses leading to ESL add-on certification. Ten
master teachers have the option to either earn the add-on certification
or complete 12 credit hours toward a master’s degree in curriculum and
instruction with ESL emphasis. Southeastern offers the state’s only 100
percent Internet add-on ESL certification in program.
For additional information about
Project Impact or ESL certification, contact Boyd at (985) 549?5736, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information is also available online at www.selu.edu/esl.