Three-year, half-million dollar grant awarded to Fairfield University Graduate School of Education

Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Christopher Shays have notified Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions that it is the recipient of a grant totaling nearly half a million dollars to train bilingual education teachers. The grant will be awarded over a three-year period, beginning in September 1999. The first year's funding will total $156,740.

Fairfield University is the only institution of higher education in Connecticut accredited by the State Department of Education to offer initial educator certification in bilingual education at the graduate level. It is also only one of two accredited to offer initial educator certification in TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages).

"This program will help ease a real need in Bridgeport and around the state," noted Congressman Shays. "It is important for children raised in other languages to be taught English. The efforts of Fairfield University will provide teachers the skills necessary to help these children participate fully in school and in society at large."

Awarded by the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs of the U.S. Department of Education, the grant will provide for the selection of 25 candidates who are proficient in both English and Spanish or Portuguese. These candidates will enroll in a planned program of 45 credit hours of coursework and field experiences over a three-year period.

The program of studies will include interdisciplinary courses in Special Education, Educational Testing, Research, and Instructional Technology. Completion of the program will enable them to fulfill State requirements for certification in Bilingual Education as well as the requirements for the Master's degree or Sixth Year Certificate in Bilingual Education.

Dr. Julianna Poole, S.S.N.D., chair of the TESOL, Foreign Language, Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department at Fairfield University, will serve as Project Director and Dr. Antonio Simoes, professor of Bilingual Education, will serve as Co-Director. Ms. Migdalia Bisch, director of Bilingual Education in the Bridgeport school system, will serve as liaison with the school system.

Dr. Margaret Deignan, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, commented, "The University is extremely pleased that the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs of the U.S. Department of Education has recognized our on-going efforts to meet the needs of the linguistically and culturally diverse students in our Connecticut schools. This grant will enable us to continue to prepare the skilled educators whose expertise is so needed in this period of educational revitalization."

Fairfield University has offered courses in bilingual and multicultural education and TESOL since 1976.

Prospective candidates for the program may call Dr. Julianna Poole, S.S.N.D., at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2873, for additional information.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on July 1, 1999

Vol. 31, No. 337

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