Distributed October 11, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Kate Bramson

Education Alliance

$1.2M grant will help train Hispanics in education to be teachers

The federal government has awarded $1.2 million to the Education Alliance at Brown University to help train Hispanics in education as English Language Learner teachers.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A $1.2-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Brown University’s Education Alliance to create Proyecto VITAL, a five-year program to train about 20 Hispanics in the education field as English Language Learner teachers. Proyecto VITAL will support participants in teacher-preparation programs and will help place them in school districts once they complete their degrees. In addition, VITAL will identify mentors, provide academic advice, study groups and workshops, and offer financial assistance for prospective educators.

“This project continues our 25-year legacy of addressing the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students,” said Adeline Becker, the Alliance’s executive director. “It builds upon our highly successful initiative, started in 1998, to help Southeast Asian prospective teachers. Now we can broaden the scope to include Latino educators as well. The project will deal directly with a critical need of placing diverse teachers in area classrooms.”

Of the approximately 40 individuals seeking credentials as English Language Learner teachers in two Southeast Asian grant programs, which have about $2.4 million in total federal funding, nine teachers have already been placed in classrooms. With a fourth Title VII federal grant, the Education Alliance is helping about 20 certified Rhode Island teachers earn Brown masters degrees in bilingual education. Fourteen teachers will graduate this year from that program, and the Alliance is recruiting more teachers for the program.

The Education Alliance has scheduled informational meetings about this new Hispanic teacher-training program grant and is encouraging those interested to apply for the program. Alliance staff members are meeting with the Providence School District on Oct. 16, the Central Falls School District on Oct. 23, and interested community leaders on Oct. 30.

With regard to the latest grant, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said, “Your program is critically important to the Hispanic community because all qualified individuals, no matter ethnicity, should be given an opportunity to educate our children. The Education Alliance is taking the necessary steps in eliminating barriers.”

Maria-Luisa Wilson-Portuondo will lead Proyecto VITAL and can be reached at (401) 274-9548, ext. 270. For more information about the project, contact Chuck Satterfield at (401) 274-9548, ext. 294.