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Teachers Needed!: Strategies for Training More Bilingual Teachers

Penned by contributing writer Corey Mitchell, Education Week has published an article detailing how school districts are attempting to fill English Language Learner (ELL) teaching vacancies. According to a 2017 survey by the Council of the Great City Schools, which “examines data on English-learner enrollment, linguistic diversity, student achievement, professional development, and staffing,” a growing number of larger school districts in the U.S. “are relying on alternative certification programs, partnerships with colleges, and grow-your-own programs to fill English-language-learner teaching vacancies.”

The Council of the Great City Schools educate approximately “25 percent of the estimated 4.9 million English-learners in the nation’s public schools,” with other districts educating a more significant portion of their population: “…the Clark County schools in Las Vegas educate about 70 percent of Nevada’s English-learners while the Providence school district enrolls half of the English-learners in Rhode Island.”

Yet, while the ELL population increases, the 2017 report finds “that some states are not establishing credentialing requirements for teachers who educate those students.” Furthermore, almost half of the districts that participated in this survey “found that that their respective states had no requirements for general education and special education teachers who work with English-learners.” Additionally, nearly 29 percent “reported having no state requirements for content-area teachers who work with English-learners, even though ELLs spend most of the school day with general education teachers.”

As members of the TWIN-CS Network, we like to remain apprised of concurrent ELL news. It is important to note in this study that the population of ELLs steadily increases; as a result, schools are looking towards certification programs, college partnerships, and grow-your-own programs to fill ELL teaching vacancies.

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TWIN-CS advances the Catholic tradition of academic excellence by empowering Catholic schools to systematically transform from a monolingual to multilingual educational model in the service of vibrant culturally diverse populations.

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