UNT’s College of Education receives $2.7 million grant

UNT’s College of Education receives $2.7 million grant

UNT’s College of Education receives $2.7 million grant
November 01
22:04 2017

UNT’s College of Education received a $2.7 million grant to help improve the language and literacy for English-language learners in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, a UNT spokesperson said.

UNT applied for the Title III National Professional Development Project SUCCESS grant back in March. On Sept. 1, the department was notified they received the award. The grant is for five years and will help around 20 elementary schools in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFBISD), allowing 15 UNT students to engage with Project SUCCESS in Language and Literacy Instruction.

Rossana Boyd, director of the Bilingual/ESL Teacher Education Program and project director, said the grant was difficult to write.

“It was very comprehensive,” Boyd said. “It was Region 10 [Education Service Center] who was one of our partners, but primarily Carrollton-Farmers Branch. We met with the administrators there….We came up with the needs of English-language learners.”

UNT teamed up with CFBISD because the school district had contacted UNT in the past. Boyd described them as being very vocal and asking for help with both English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual teachers. There are 7,112 ESL students enrolled at CFBISD, the majority of them being Latinos.

Project SUCCESS will try to help improve students’ academic achievement in reading, literacy and bi-literacy, Boyd said. They will use results from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STARR) and other measures the school district has to see if the students are progressing.

Ricardo González-Carriedo, UNT assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration, said all the training from this program will eventually pass on to the students in the program. At the end of the five years, the program will have trained a total of 290 teachers.

“The final beneficiary for this program will be for the students in the schools,” González-Carriedo said. “All the teachers trained will have the potential to influence other teachers around them and pass on all the things they are learning—all the strategies and techniques. So all that initial impact is huge.”

There are two main goals of the project. The first is preparing bilingual and English teachers to meet the needs of ESL students in grades preschool through sixth grade. The second is to improve literacy instruction and family engagement skills of certified teachers serving ESL students in CFBISD, according to the project abstract document.

Student teachers and certified teachers, as well as 15 UNT students and parents from 15 schools, are all involved in Project SUCCESS. The teachers teach certain portions of ESL with focuses on content, literacy and dual language.

The 15 UNT students were selected on Oct. 25 and were required to obtain at least a 2.75 grade point average, as well as be admitted to the bachelors program of interdisciplinary studies, Boyd said. To seek bilingual or ESL teacher certification and be able to participate for a full academic year (fall, spring and summer semesters), the 15 students will receive a tuition scholarship with five classes paid for plus $300 for travel expenses.

Darrell Hull, associate professor in educational psychology and an evaluator for Project SUCCESS, said this will become a fairly large trial study.

“It will actually be a cluster trial study,” Hull said. “In other words, we will be looking at how the students perform. Specifically in third grade with the teachers that were trained versus the teachers that did not participate in the training. The study’s sample size ramps up from year to year.”

Featured Image: Rossana Ramirez Boyd is the director of Project SUCCESS in Language and Literacy Instruction. Ricardo González-Carriedo is co-principal investigator in the project. Mallory Cammarata

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Jackie Guerrero

Jackie Guerrero

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