Cabrini will expand its English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher education efforts to three new local school districts thanks to the second National Professional Development (NPD) grant in as many years from the U.S. Department of Education. The five-year, $2,981,538 grant will support the Teacher Education Department’s mission to empower K‒12 educators in Avon Grove, Kennett, and Oxford School Districts with professional credentials and evidence-based practices for teaching language and literacy.
The funding follows another five-year $2.5 million NPD grant awarded in 2021 which kickstarted Cabrini’s ESL teacher education partnership with Norristown Area School District.
“I believe the work we do will be instrumental in helping immigrant families advance through a variety of educational programs,” said Susan Pierson, PhD, ESL Coordinator and Associate Professor of Education.
The grant’s formal name ADELANTE (Advancing Development of English Learning, Literacy and Academic Achievement through Networking, Teacher coaching and Family Engagement) means “onward” in Spanish, and the program creates opportunities for teacher and student progress in the three Chester County school districts.
A total of 120 educators will have the opportunity to pursue Cabrini’s ESL Program Specialist Certification, an 18-credit program flexibly offered to working teachers. These credentialing efforts will be supplemented with professional development opportunities, including 90 hours of graduate coursework for 150 additional teachers, as well as a summer academy for another 75 teachers who will learn best practices for implementing these techniques in inclusive classrooms.
The program also helps bridge the literacy gap for students and their families. By the end of the five-year program, more than 600 parents and guardians in these school districts are expected to complete family literacy workshops that encourage interactive, bilingual reading between parents and their children.
ESL camps and workshops for kindergarten students will also be established in the districts. More than 300 rising kindergarteners are expected to participate in summer “KinderCamps” focused on literacy, multicultural stories, and school readiness.
“Mother Cabrini, patron saint of immigrants, is smiling because we have the opportunity to serve English Learners and their families,” Pierson said. “The new NPD grant provides all of us at Cabrini with the means to continue walking in the footsteps of Mother Cabrini.”