NPD Grantee Spotlight: Project SEED, Project ELEVATE, Project DICE PLUSS

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The Office of English Language Acquisition provides professional development activities and instructional guidance for educators of English learners (ELs) through the National Professional Development (NPD) grant program. This program aims to support the preparation of teachers of multilingual learners across the country and ensure that all students have access to quality instruction and resources that will help them achieve academic success. In this blog, we’ll get to know more about the grantees and their recent work.

Project SEED (Wayne State University) - Project SEED, also known as "Sustaining Community Knowledge and Language Practices for Educational Equity: Developing Pathways for Teachers of Bi/Multilingual Students," is a dynamic program headquartered at Wayne State University. This summer, the 2023 SEED Summer Institute brought together SEED scholars for a series of engaging activities. These activities included scholars collaborating to document and share research-backed strategies specifically designed to bolster the writing abilities of multilingual learners. Additionally, the SEED scholars had the opportunity to meet with community mentors, a valuable experience that provided insights into culturally responsive and sustaining practices for effectively engaging both families and students. As part of their journey, the scholars delved into their cultural histories, enriching their own understanding of the writing process by creating "I Am From" poems. This approach to professional development and cultural exploration promises to make a lasting impact on the educators involved in Project SEED.

Project ELEVATE (University of Texas at Austin) – Project ELEVATE (Ensuring Learning for ELs by Valuing Family Engagement and Teacher Effectiveness) was created to help teachers, teachers-in-training, and educational leaders working with English learners (ELs) in prekindergarten through grade 3 to increase their effectiveness as instructional coaches through immersive professional development in the form of a training-of-trainers (TOT) program. Project ELEVATE’s success also relies on fostering strong family-school relationships to ensure family and community commitment to the educational goals. 

This summer, the Project ELEVATE team conducted professional learning sessions for ELEVATE teachers, focusing on the implementation of an English/Spanish read-aloud routine. Teachers were instructed in effectively previewing reading texts and activating children's prior knowledge and lived experiences. They were also taught how to provide high-quality linguistic input by pre-teaching key vocabulary and language concepts, as well as using nonlinguistic representations to support the acquisition of new language concepts. Furthermore, these sessions involved engaging children in meaningful, structured language practice around texts.

During these training sessions, veteran ELEVATE teacher leaders facilitated roundtable discussions with newly recruited teachers, offering invaluable implementation guidance, tips, and lessons learned. The ongoing process includes the establishment of demonstration classrooms at each grade level, which will be accessible for peer observation and video modeling.

Project DICE PLUSS (Portland State University) – Project DICE PLUSS, which stands for Diverse Inclusive Collaborative Educators PLUSS, has a mission to increase the number of special educators working with multilingual students and to improve these students’ literacy outcomes through collaboration with teachers, schools, and parents. The project helps future multilingual student special educators through scholarships and aids multilingual students directly through a literacy program. The project is funded through a five-year grant (2021-2026) from the U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition. This grant is intended to provide professional development activities that enhance classroom instruction for ELs and assist educational personnel working with these students to meet high professional standards. These standards include those necessary for certification and licensure as teachers who work in language instruction educational programs or serve ELs.

In a DICE PLUSS video, educators and administrators discuss the significance of recruiting special educators with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds so they can better understand how to be responsive to the children and families they serve. Tracy Williams Murphy, a Program Specialist at Portland State University, emphasizes the importance of students seeing a reflection of themselves in the classroom. Watch the video to learn more about the program's mission and its efforts to enhance support for multilingual students. 


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