WICHITA, Kansas – Teachers that want to be endorsed to educate English language learners will have their coursework funded by the Wichita school district.
The USD 259 board of education approved up to $450,000 in funding so that teachers who want this continuing education can obtain it through several Kansas universities free of charge.
The English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL, endorsement would fill a growing need for USD 259, which has more than 9,300 students considered to be English language learners. Those students come from 95 different countries of birth and 86 native languages, according to Dalia Hale, a program director for the Wichita school district.
“It’s absolutely critical for us because we want all of our students, and all truly means all, to continue to advance and achieve,” USD 259 superintendent John Allison said. “This is one more tool in our tool chest to help them do that.”
The coursework helps teachers reinforce reading comprehension and vocabulary, along with writing and speaking skills students may not necessarily get at home.
“Anything that involves oral and expressive language, those are the most important in order for the children to defend themselves and we get beyond playground and lunchroom language,” Hale said.
The courses will generally meet once a week, with some held at USD 259 school sites taught by teachers who have already been endorsed through the program. The funding covers coursework through the summer of 2015, and can be renewed annually, Allison said.