A partnership between St. Anthony School and Cardinal Stritch University is expediting the training to certify teachers in English as a Second Language, a priority in a school system where 99 percent of students are Hispanic.

In each of the school’s five campuses, there are two kinds of students: the children, many of them who are learning English, and the adults, teachers who are learning to teach it.

According to St. Anthony president Rosana Mateo, Ph.D., this partnership between the school and Cardinal Stritch University began in January and 13 staff members have enrolled in the course to better serve the school’s 1,700 students.

“This group will work together to ensure that St. Anthony is utilizing best practices at a K-12 level,” she said. “We thank these staff members for their commitment to continuing their education to better serve our students.”

To fund this partnership between St. Anthony and Cardinal Stritch, the school is utilizing Title 3 funds based off the number of students identified as English learners, explained Teresa Reilly, Interim Chief Academic Officer.

“The purpose of Title 3 is to help ensure English learners attain English language proficiency and meet state academic standards,” she said. “We are using Title 3 funds to create this opportunity to help increase the knowledge and skills of teachers who serve English learners.”

The ESL certification program is voluntary and a one-year commitment consisting of the following courses:

ESL 510: Instruction and Assessment of English Learners

ESL 511: History and Politics of Immigration

ESL 512: Language Development and Linguistics

ESL 513: Evaluation and Creation of English Learner Program and Guidelines

ESL 516: Practicum

While the cohort just began, Reilly said they hope to see results soon and plan to continue this program each year for interested teachers and staff members.

“The cohort members will be working to enhance our K-12 ELL (English Language Learners) vision and instructional practices,” said Reilly.

During the summer, the cohort members will participate in a K-12 ELL PLC (Professional Learning Community) guided by Cardinal Stritch staff and St. Anthony Administration to work on the following:

  • Identify common Tier 1 instructional practices that support ELL students rooted in the learning that occurred throughout the licensure program;
  • Create a St. Anthony K-12 ELL handbook that has instructional practices that strategically support ELL students K-12 and include how families can be engaged with the school on student language development/academics;
  • Work as a PLC to develop and execute a summer professional development for the K-12 team;
  • During the school year, the cohort members will conduct 3-4 walkthroughs K-12 throughout the year as a PLC to observe Tier 1 instructional practices that embody ELL practices that were shared during summer;
  • Share data with principals and Chief Academic Officer; and
  • Use the data from the walkthrough to plan and execute 2-3 follow up K-12 professional development.

Reilly said she hopes the ESL licensing certification program will help support teachers on best practices in supporting English learners in the classroom.

“We are hoping to roll out another cohort for next January so we will open up the application process next fall,” she said. “We have some interest from staff already for next year’s application.”