For Release: July 23, 2003
DOE Launches Professional Development
for New Jersey Teachers of English Language Learners
The New Jersey Department of Education has initiated a year-long series of professional development opportunities for teachers of English language learners. The training has been developed in response to issues and challenges faced by educators in helping students who are new to the English language and American culture.
Specialized training began last week with 50 teachers from 31 selected districts. The program focused on effective strategies for teaching academic English literacy skills and other subjects to students who are recent immigrants learning the English language. The participants were trained to serve as coaches to mentor other teachers in their schools.
The training program, called the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Training of Coaches, is provided by DOEs Office of Specialized Populations, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The center developed SIOP, a research-based instructional model that teachers can use to improve the academic success of English language learners.
Staff from the center will support the program throughout the school year by visiting participating coaches in their schools, hosting additional reunion meetings for coaches, and setting up an electronic communication list so that coaches can share information and effective lessons with each other.
Approximately one in five New Jersey public school students entering school speak one of 160 languages other than English. The teachers are from school districts that have significant populations of limited English proficient (LEP) students and maintain full-time or part-time bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) programs.
Coaches will begin coaching and mentoring their teachers early in the fall semester. They will observe and meet with their assigned teachers at least once a month. There is no cost to the participating districts for the training.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act has mandated that all LEP students be included in each states assessment and accountability system. Since local schools must ensure that their LEP students make adequate progress in acquiring English proficiency and obtaining knowledge and skills required by Core Curriculum Content Standards, they have an immediate need to re-examine their instructional programs and take steps to ensure that their teachers are developing skills to work with their English language learner students.