Touro College Awarded Federal Grant of $1.5 Million for Education Research Center

Date: September 10, 2007
Dr. LaMar P. Miller, Distinguished Professor at Touro College and Director, Lander Center for Educational Research.
Dr. LaMar P. Miller, Distinguished Professor at Touro College and Director, Lander Center for Educational Research.
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Grant to Benefit NYC High School Teachers of English Language Learners.

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Touro College Lander Center for Educational Research has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the United States Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition to provide high school teachers in New York City with the skills needed to educate students with limited proficiency in English. The program is planned to begin this month.

The curriculum, entitled Language Development in the Context of the Disciplines Program, was designed by Dr. LaMar P. Miller, a distinguished professor at Touro College and director of its Lander Center, in close cooperation with the New York City Department of Education Office of English Language Learners (OELL). The program is unusual in that it will provide specialized training for NYC content-area teachers who are already working with English language learners (“ELL” students).

“This grant will make it possible for 200 New York City high school teachers to better educate their students who are struggling to learn English,” said Dr. Miller. “The methods that many high school teachers are now using typically do not adequately facilitate learning or literacy instruction for English language learners. It is very fitting that teachers will learn these skills at Touro College, which has a long tradition of helping the underserved in our communities.”

The need for more highly qualified content-area teachers who can effectively teach high school ELL students is reflected in national, state and local data as well as numerous research studies. NYC remains one of the areas in greatest need. Over ten percent of the students enrolled in the city’s small high schools – towards which the program is geared – exhibit limited proficiency with English and over half of those schools report no, or limited, services to support these students.

Under the program, each year 40 teachers of English language arts, global studies, and history from the city’s 235 small high schools with the greatest need will be chosen to participate. A high school is considered “small” if it has fewer than 500 students.

Participating teachers will earn nine credits of course work in conjunction with Touro’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program, a master’s level program offered by Touro’s School of Education and Psychology, Graduate Division. The Lander Center operates as a unit of the School of Education and Psychology, which currently enrolls over 5,000 students in its seven master’s degree programs.

Teachers will also be provided with 35 hours of professional development opportunities to increase their knowledge base and capacity to improve the literacy and academic language development of their English language learners. These activities will include summer institutes, conferences, professional study groups as well as access to pertinent Web-based technology. The entire program is offered at no cost to the teachers.

“This is a valuable opportunity to provide high school English language learners with highly-skilled teachers in the critical subjects that students need to succeed,” said Maria Santos, executive director of the NYC Department of Education Office of English Language Learners. “I am confident that Touro College will be an excellent partner with the city in helping us fulfill our commitment to these students.”