The College of New Jersey and William Paterson University have received grants of $3 million and $2.8 million respectively from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition to be distributed over five years under the National Professional Development Program to support educators of English learner students.

The two institutions were among dozens of colleges and universities nationwide to be awarded a total of $120 million in grants under the program, which provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education and public or private entities with relevant experience and capacity, in consortia with states or districts, to implement professional development activities that will improve instruction for English learners.

These grants will help address opportunity and achievement gaps by investing in, recruiting and supporting the professional development of a diverse educator workforce, including bilingual educators so education jobs are ones that people from all backgrounds want to pursue.

“I grew up speaking Spanish at home and thrived as an English learner in school thanks to great teachers who helped me realize that my bilingualism and my biculturalism would someday be my superpower,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As our nation grows more diverse than ever before, we must level up our investments in educators who can provide students from all backgrounds with equitable opportunities to succeed. This $120 million, five-year investment will support high quality professional development and teacher preparation programs across the country. It will also help us grow a pipeline of diverse and talented educators who can help more English learners realize their own bilingual and multilingual superpowers.”

These grants can be awarded to educators of English learners, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals or other educators working with English learners. Professional development activities may include teacher education programs and training that lead to certification, licensing, or endorsement for providing instruction to students learning English.

Educator effectiveness is the most important in-school factor affecting student achievement and success. To improve the academic achievement of English learners, the NPD program supports pre-service and in-service instruction for teachers and other staff, including school leaders, working with English learners. Selected applicants submitted proposals to improve access to culturally and linguistically responsive early learning environments for multilingual learners and that increase public awareness about the benefits of proficiency in more than one language.

The USDOE projects this new cohort of 44 grants will serve approximately 1,638 pre-service and 6,271 in-service teachers.

You can view a full list and of the institutions awarded grants and learn more by reading the full news release.