Campus: CSU Northridge -- November 9, 2001

CSUN Education Professor Receives $740,000 Grant to TAP into the Special Skills of Bilingual Teachers

Cal State Northridge has received $742,515 from the U.S. Department of Education to train bilingual teachers in the Los Angeles area.

"Los Angeles TAP (Teachers and Personnel) 2001: Bilingual Teacher Education Project" will educate 40 bilingual teachers fluent in Armenian, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Cambodian over the course of three years.

"Due to the recent demographic changes, public schools in California need more bilingual teachers," said Clara Park, a CSUN education professor and coordinator of the project.

Citing the 2000 California Language Census Report, Park said, "Los Angeles County alone has 39.8% of the state of California's total limited English proficient (LEP) population, which is 41% of the total county population.

"To provide effective instruction for these limited English proficient students, schools and school districts need to hire more bilingual teachers; and there is a great shortage of well-qualified bilingual teachers," she said.

Park was given the grant by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs in October. She has already begun recruiting bilingual participants, working closely with the local school districts, including Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank. The actual TAP coursework will begin in spring 2002.

Park is recruiting from a pool of bilingual teacher's aides as well as CSUN seniors who are fluent in one or more of the specified languages and interested in a teaching career.

Undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA participating in the project will be eligible for scholarships toward tuition and books until they complete the CSUN credential program.

Bilingual teacher trainees will not only enhance their bilingual skills and cultural sensitivity, Park said, they will also become competent in the use of instructional technology.

The project's training includes CSUN's credential coursework, and additional support and preparation for the California Basic Educational Skill Test (CBEST) and Reading Instruction Competency Assessment (RICA).

In addition, trainees will receive continuous, timely individual advisement and be paired with mentors who are teachers or administrators at local schools.

"As one of the best and largest teacher education institutions in the state, CSUN is fortunate to receive the federal grant to educate a fine cadre of future bilingual teachers," Park said.

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