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Ed. Department Awards Grants to Improve ELL Teaching

Dozens of colleges and universities around the country received a financial boost from the U.S. Department of Education today to help teachers of English-language learners in grades K-12 better prepare for the classroom. The latest round of the National Professional Development program grants were awarded to 42 grantees with "promising programs" to improve classroom instruction for ELLs.

The total grant money awarded amounted to $14.8 million this year with similar amounts to be given out over the next four years.

Several of the programs, officials said, will focus on enhancing teachers' proficiency in the STEM disciplines.

"Students' achievement and success in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields is critical to the future of our nation, and English-language students, like all students, deserve high-quality STEM instruction," Rosalinda B. Barrera, the department's assistant deputy secretary for the office of English language acquisition, said in a statement.

In Wisconsin, for instance, the grants will fund instructional programs for K-12 STEM teachers who work in rural areas where ELL populations are too small to qualify for separate teachers. The teachers will be instructed through online courses on how to address the unique challenges of ELL students.

Along with developing or improving programs, funds can also be used to cover tuition costs or to pay for books required to complete program trainings.

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