RWU, Providence Public Schools to launch joint ESL program for teachers

PROVIDENCE – Increasing the number of English as a second language teachers is the core of a new program being launched by Roger Williams University and Providence Public Schools, according to a news release from the two educational institutions.

“Six years ago, fewer than one in five Providence Public School students qualified as ESL,” said Providence Public School Superintendent Christopher Maher in a statement. “We need more educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to meet the language and academic needs of English learners.”

According to Providence Public School data, of the more than 2,000 teachers employed in the city’s school district, 372 hold ESL certifications.

Jamie Scurry, dean of Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies, said in prepared remarks she “could not be more excited” by the “important and innovative” partnership.

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The program, recently approved by the R.I. Department of Education, will provide practicing teachers the opportunity to learn ESL competencies while in the classroom. The release claims this will “greatly reduce” associated costs and time commitment for participants by pairing a summer intensive session with modules that can be completed in a single year.

Enrollment is $3,500 per participant and the program is expected to launch summer 2018 with 100 teachers.

Educators interested in the program may contact Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies at (401) 254-5743 for more information.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email,