Teacher Leader Quality Partnership (TLQP) Grant

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The current three-year Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Grant (TLQP) funded by the New York State Education Department is a partnership between the Buffalo City School District, International School #45 (Pre-K-6), Lafayette High School (7-8), six community partners, and Niagara University’s colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences. This partnership addresses the growing need to have “highly qualified” and certified teachers in the area of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). At the conclusion of the grant, 50 teachers and seven administrators will be eligible to apply for TESOL certification after completing all requirements. Additionally, one teacher assistant also took the course work.

International School #45 and Lafayette have students and families from 70-plus countries who speak more than 30 languages. With this population, the schools have a number of community partners that supply support services to the families and students that are participating in the grant.

Nationally, in 1990, 1-in-20 students resided in a home where a language other than English was spoken. Today, it is 1-in-9. By 2025, it will be 1-in-4. Source: US Department of Education. In the Buffalo City School District, the ELL population has doubled in the last five years to 4,000 students. This is more than 10 percent of the district’s 35,000 students.

During the 2012-2015 academic years, 50 teachers and 7 administrators have taken coursework (18 credit hours of graduate course work) needed, along with language requirements, Dignity for All Students (DASA) training and taking/passing the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification test to be able to apply for a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in TESOL.

The coursework focused on developing strategies/practices that are firmly grounded in theory, research, and best practices to teach English Language Learners (ELL’s). (i.e. Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol (SIOP) model and Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) foundations) This clinical model is embedded into the classroom and linked directly into coursework. This allows teachers to utilize their own classrooms and students to implement strategies learned. The community partners and participating teachers exchange dialogue about services available and academic strategies that can assist the service providers. This initiative also allows for reflection, discussion and re-thinking of practices and methods used.

When surveyed both professors and building administration have noted many positive changes in teacher practice.

TLQP Data:

  • Participation of a core group of 39 teachers, administrators and other school related personnel completing coursework and other TESOL-related professional development.

  • Completion of 18 hours of graduate level coursework directly relevant to the Advanced Certificate of Study in TESOL by all 39 in the core group.

  • 100% of participants indicating they can identify, apply, and assess scientific-based best practices, theories, strategies, methodologies, and pedagogy.

  • 100% of participants indicating they learned how to respond in a culturally relevant way and how to respond in a culturally sensitive way.

  • 95% of participants indicating they have implemented strategies including building vocabulary and background knowledge, using visual aids to scaffold learning, providing hands-on activities, modeling, and offering opportunities for student-to-student interactions.

  • 95% of participants indicating they have collaborated with stakeholders and community partners and gained an understanding of diverse cultural backgrounds, parent involvement, learning through culture, learning through linguistics, the role culture plays, how to incorporate students’ background knowledge into the classroom, sheltered instruction techniques for ELLs, academic language, cooperative learning, and differentiated instruction.

  • 95% of participants indicating understanding of effective usage of data through analyzing disaggregated student achievement data and analyzing disaggregated student assessments.

  • 95% of participants indicating they found coursework effective and useful.

  • 90% or more of participants indicating advanced understanding of their ability to develop performance assessment rubrics, review research-based practices in assessment preparation, NYS Learning Standards, Common Core Standards (focus shifts), cultural barriers for ELLs, and language barriers for ELLs.

  • Participants completed 365.5 hours in year one and 310 hours in year two of TESOL-related professional development (far exceeding the grant’s target of 80 hours annually).

  • Creation of an open-access Professional Learning Community (PLC) through www.livebinders.com to provide resources to both the core group and other school staff.

  • 95% of the participants reported accessing and using the livebinders PLC website.

(Source: 2013,2014 final reports submitted by VIA Evaluations, Buffalo, N.Y.)