LOS ANGELES — Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education has been awarded a $3 million federal grant over five years to improve language and literacy achievement for English learners in Los Angeles Unified elementary schools and to increase the pipeline of highly qualified bilingual teachers.
The award from the U.S. Department of Education will allow LMU SOE’s Center for Equity for English Learners to lead a consortium that includes LAUSD and Sobrato Early Academic Language, a nonprofit that aims to elevate English learners and promote bilingualism for students statewide. The grant will fund the creation and investigation of a research and evidence-based professional learning program for district and school leaders, coaches, teachers, and families.
“This consortium will build upon the success of previous grant-funded efforts to support English learners and deepen and expand our LAUSD partnerships to effect positive change,” said Michelle D. Young, dean of LMU’s School of Education. “I congratulate LMU’s Center for Equity for English Learners, including founding Executive Director Magaly Lavadenz, the project’s principal investigator, and Elvira Armas, director of programs and partnerships, for engaging us in the meaningful and collaborative approach to creating equity for English learner students.”
Of LAUSD’s 214,499 TK-fifth grade students, roughly 29 percent are English learners; this grant focuses on assisting educators to decrease the percent of these who are at risk of remaining ELs throughout their school careers.
The Purposeful Engagement in Academic Rigor and Language Learning (PEARLL) project is guided by three goals: improving and increasing the use of evidence/research-based strategies in TK-fifth grade classrooms; engaging families in literacy activities with their children; and creating a pipeline of newly authorized bilingual teachers. Educators will challenge students in their development of complex academic vocabulary and language, and immerse them in rich literature and high-level informational text, among other strategies.
PEARLL will be implemented in approximately 25 schools in four of LAUSD’s local districts that serve high numbers of English learners.
“Participating educators will have the quality professional learning they need to truly make a difference in their students’ language and literacy learning through Sobrato by leveraging their assets and empowering student agency,” said Lydia Acosta Stephens, executive director of LAUSD’s Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department. “Our ongoing collaboration with CEEL will allow us to learn about the positive impacts for both teachers, ELs and their families.”
Added SEAL Executive Director Anya Hurwitz: “This project represents an amazing opportunity to ensure the children of L.A. have access to learning that is asset based and culturally and linguistically affirming, and that we can continue to learn about the most impactful professional development experiences supporting educators in LAUSD and beyond who are doing the complex work of equity-focused schooling.”
PEARLL will serve 166 current teachers, as well as district and site leaders. To increase the pipeline of highly qualified bilingual teachers of ELs, 25 LMU teachers in training will participate in the program and complete their California teaching credential and bilingual authorization.