$10 Million Contract Helps Millions of English Language Learners
By Julia Parmley
After a national competition, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition recently re-awarded the $10 million, five-year contract to GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development in recognition of its outstanding leadership and excellence in operating the clearinghouse.
NCELA assists states in implementing Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which outlines language instruction for limited English proficient and immigrant students, and helps states assist districts and schools in improving English language proficiency and academic achievement. NCELA Director Jack Levy says the clearinghouse focuses on program assessment, academic assessment of ELLs, accountability, professional development and curriculum support for teachers, and program administration.
“NCELA is representative of our commitment to meeting the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students in this country,” says Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Mary H. Futrell.
The clearinghouse holds conferences, offers Webinars, and publishes a quarterly newsletter, as well as government reports. Its Web site contains more than 20,000 resource items for practitioners and parents, and NCELA staff monitor daily phone and e-mail inquiries. In December, Dr. Levy says NCELA will unveil a new, more interactive Web site that will allow state department of education officials to share and discuss English language learning information online.
“The clearinghouse is the premier resource on ELL education in the country,” says Dr. Levy. “People look to us as leaders in this subject.”
NCELA principal investigator Joel Gómez, Graduate School of Education and Human Development interim associate dean for research, has headed the clearinghouse since it was awarded to GW in 1988.
“In many states such as Texas and New Mexico and in many school districts like Arlington County, Va., ELLs make up the majority of students,” says Dr. Gómez. “The number of ELLs is growing so we need to prepare general education personnel to work with them. We also need to help state education departments with assessments so we can properly evaluate student language and academic competency and make sure students are doing better every year.”
To work with states on ELL assessments and standards, NCELA has teamed up with edCount LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides direct technical assistance and professional development services to education agencies and organizations. NCELA also partners with Barrera Associates Inc., a consulting firm with 19 years of experience in Latino, migrant, and bilingual education.
“We want English language learners to graduate from high school, go to college, and get good jobs,” says Dr. Levy. “We’ve seen from government research that school districts that excel in helping ELLs achieve high academic and language standards graduate more ELLs from high school.”