Center team leaders

The center team includes (first row, from left) Beverly Irby, Nahed Abdelrahman, Erin Singer, Fuhui Tong, (middle row) Rafael Lara-Alecio, Andrea McMurray, Lucy Rodriguez, Matthew Etchells, and (back row) Kara Sutton-Jones, Cindy Guerrero, Hamada Elfarargy, and David Jimenez.

A new federal grant will bolster the Texas A&M University College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) goal of helping Pre K-12 teachers of English learner (EL) students in Texas. The $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) will help CEHD’s Center for Research and Development in Dual Language and Literacy Acquisition (CRDLLA) provide professional development for those teachers.

Project Enhancing Quality Teacher Preparation Through Research-based Instructional Best Practices for Bilingual and English Learners (EBEST) will work initially with 33 Texas school districts to prepare 1,125 English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual education teachers over five years. The project will impact the academic lives of over 23,000 students in Texas.

In-service teachers who participate in the project will receive virtual professional development (VPD) courses to prepare for state teacher certification exams and to serve in EL classrooms. EBEST will also examine the efficacy of virtual instructional mentoring and coaching for teachers.

CEHD faculty Drs. Rafael Lara-Alecio, Regents Professor (principal investigator), Beverly Irby, Regents Professor (Co-PI), and Fuhui Tong (Co-PI) will lead the project. Dr. David Jimenez will lead the implementation of the project. Under the direction of Dr. Steven Ross, the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University will serve as the external evaluator.

“There is a great need in the state of Texas and beyond for educators who are prepared to work effectively with ELs,” Dr. Lara-Alecio said. “We look forward to serving Texas schools, teachers, and students to meet this important need. Through quality, research-based practices, we will be able to reach no less than 33 school district settings located in rural, suburban, and urban areas that cover an expanse of almost half of the state in 12 Education Service Centers.”