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The College of New Rochelle Launches Program to Provide Advanced Education to Teachers of English Language Learners

March 2, 2017

The College of New Rochelle recently launched a new program to address the critical need for advanced education for teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) through graduate-level teacher certificate programs.

The program, called Rigor for the Educational Success of English learners through their Teachers (RESET), has already recruited 52 teachers from Westchester and Rockland school districts with high populations of English language learning students and limited number of skilled faculty to serve them, including Ossining, Peekskill, New Rochelle, and Mount Vernon. The program was made possible through a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“This is a major initiative to meet the growing demand for teachers who are certified to educate English language learners in the region,” said RESET Program Director Dr. Estee Lopez, an instructor in the graduate education program at CNR. “Our goal is to build a greater capacity of skilled educators in the school system. It is an ambitious grant and one that is extraordinarily needed.”

Lopez added that New York at 4 percent has the fourth highest number of ELL students in the country, behind California at 29 percent, Texas with 18 percent, and Florida with 5 percent.

“School districts throughout the country are struggling to meet the growing need for certified teachers of English language learners, a need that is particularly acute in the New York area,” said Dr. David Donnelly, dean of the Graduate School at CNR. “RESET creates pathways for teachers in New York State to advance best practices in educating English language learners and is reflective of The College of New Rochelle’s overall commitment to provide innovative educational programming that is responsive to the changing needs of our region.  We are pleased to take the lead in providing much needed professional development to area educators so that they, in turn, are able to effectively serve these students.”

The program will provide full tuition funding for approximately 50 graduate students annually for the next five years, totaling more than 250 graduate students. The College of New Rochelle is currently partnering with Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (SWBOCES) and several public schools districts in the Greater Hudson Valley region, including New Rochelle, Ossining, Peekskill, Eastchester, Mount Vernon, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Tuckahoe, Yonkers, and Nyack. As CNR continues to build capacity in the program, they have plans to partner with additional area school districts. 

Area school superintendents recognize that the program meets a growing need in their districts. Notes Ossining School District’s Superintendent Ray Sanchez, “I am ever thankful for this opportunity to collaborate with The College of New Rochelle. I know that these courses will help staff ensure excellence for all children.”

Mirla R. Puello, Ossining School District’s Director of ENL (English as a New Language) and Bilingual Programs, added: “The professional collaboration between The College of New Rochelle and our school district demonstrates the optimal standard in raising the level of teacher expertise. We are looking forward to seeing the impact on student achievement.”

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to partner with The College of New Rochelle on this important program that will benefit both our teachers and ultimately our students and aid us in meeting a critical need in the New Rochelle community,” said Brian Osborne, New Rochelle School District Superintendent.

The students receiving this training are also excited about this new program, including Aysha Williams from the New Rochelle School District: “RESET is a great program that allows us as educators to better understand our students,” she said. “I have developed a heightened awareness of my students’ needs through this program.”

Kathleen Lowell of SWBOCES echoed those sentiments: ”The RESET program is greatly needed. Districts struggle to find teachers who have both the credentials and background knowledge to teach and support English-language learners, and the track-records for effective teaching. The CNR RESET program further develops teachers who demonstrate instructional expertise in their classrooms.”

For more information about the RESET program, call 914-654-5412.