New Intensive Teacher Institute to train regional educators in working with English Language Learners

ITIThe SUNY New Paltz School of Education announces the opening of the clinically rich Intensive Teacher Institute (ITI), a program for professional development and certification for Hudson Valley educators working with students for whom English is a new language (ENL students).

The ITI, supported by the New York State Education Department, will partner with Ulster BOCES and regional school districts to provide both in-class and fieldwork learning opportunities for teachers across all disciplines and age groups. Its development was spurred by data indicating that populations of ENL students in New York’s public schools are growing, and that those students are increasingly vulnerable to falling behind their peers and failing to meet academic standards.

“All teachers are teachers of English language learners,” said Devon Duhaney, interim coordinator of the TESOL program in the Department of Secondary Education. “They therefore must all be prepared to teach challenging content to all students, including ENL students.

“The ITI is intended for teachers who are already working in the field, who wish to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to help their school districts address regulatory changes and provide ENL students with a learning environment in which they can receive the type of assistance they need to succeed.”

The 15-credit program of study, which is designed to be completed in one year, will bring participants into active classrooms to get experience working alongside ENL students and their teachers.

“They will observe and work with experienced ENL teachers to think about planning, assessment, strategies and methodologies that can be employed in working with English language learners,” Duhaney said.

Those who complete the coursework will be eligible to take the tests required by the State of New York to earn Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, an important credential that represents experience and preparedness in working with young English language learners. Upon earning TESOL certification, teachers will be reimbursed for a significant percentage of the costs of ITI enrollment.

TESOL Certification is increasingly a point of emphasis for the New York State Education Deparment’s (NYSED) Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies. In 2014 they issued a report that placed the population of ENL students in New York public schools at more than 210,000. That same year, the NYSED approved changes to Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, which establishes the standards for the education of English language learners in New York State.

One of the primary goals of the ITI is to help ensure that school districts have enough trained and qualified faculty to meet the new, more stringent state requirements.

“The changes to the regulations are in response to real demographic changes,” Duhaney said. “They are intended to help these students engage in their own intellectual development, and to ensure that all students are receiving appropriate services necessary to prepare them for college and career.”

To learn more about the Intensive Teacher Institute, please visit them online.