NEW YORK: So far this fall, Fordham’s Graduate School of Education has received more than $500,000 in grants that will help fund initiatives targeting English language learners (ELL), science education and professional development. “Fordham’s commitment to the educational infrastructure of New York State is of paramount importance to our school,” said Regis G. Bernhardt, dean of GSE. “We’re pleased to have the resources to intensify our partnerships.” In October, GSE received an initial $299,277 grant for 2002-2003 from the U.S. Department of Education through the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.”
Funding will be provided in the same amount for the next four years provided that GSE meets the requirements outlined in the act. Fordham is one of 130 institutions nationwide (and one of nine in New York State) that received the grant, made available through the Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (LEP).
Fordham faculty members Angela Reyes-Carrasquillo, Ph.D., and Chun Zhang, Ph.D., drafted the accepted proposal for their project titled “Training of Trainers: Developing English Literacy for LEP/ELL Students in Early Childhood Using a Cross-Disciplinary Approach.” One of the primary goals of the program is to prepare teachers to deliver early English literacy to English as a Second Language (ESL) students. With the grant, Carrasquillo and Zhang will recruit and provide tuition for teachers from three high-needs school districts, two in New York City and the third in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Participants will take evening and summer courses toward an M.S. degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). In addition to the classes, project staff members will provide guidance to the teachers through structured, competency-based field experiences.
“One of the unique features of this program is that we will be training ESL teachers to become ESL staff developers in each of these districts,” said Carrasquillo, who is a professor in the division of curriculum and teaching. “We are planting seeds within each of these districts that will hopefully blossom and have a positive impact on students and teachers for many years to come.” In addition to the funding for Carrasquillo and Zhang’s project, GSE received a $270,000 grant from the New York State Department of Education’s Office of Higher Education. This is the fourth year that GSE has received this funding, which supports two Fordham-Yonkers partnerships focusing on the professional development of teachers.
The funding previously came from an Eisenhower Grant, but is now provided for under the No Child Left Behind’s Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Grant. Bernhardt and Ann Marie Ciaramella, assistant to the dean, wrote the grant proposal and serve as project directors. One of the projects, a collaboration between GSE and Fordham’s science faculty, prepares high school science teachers to meet the expectations set forth by New York State Teaching and Learning Standards and Assessments. The goal of the second project is to create a professional development school at the Cedar Place School in Yonkers for teachers of pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
An on-site Fordham faculty liaison and other University faculty members spend time collaborating with teachers in a workshop environment. The Yonkers Federation of Teachers is a full partner in the initiative and is a member of the project’s planning group and advisory council. The third grant that GSE received was $35,000 designated for professional development of New York City Superintendents. The Fordham University/New York City Superintendents’ Network, which is overseen by Professors Terry Cicchelli, Ph.D., Sheldon Marcus, Ed.D., and Max Weiner, Ph.D., received the grant from the Reader’s Digest DeWitt Wallace Foundation.