Kingston, R.I. – March 7, 2023 — The Rhode Island Department of Education has awarded $81,429 in Multilingual Learner Success Grants to four local school districts that will partner with the University of Rhode Island’s TESOL/BDL faculty to support high-quality instruction and family engagement to increase educational success and student outcomes for speakers of other languages.
The grant awards were announced by Gov. Dan McKee and state Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green on March 1.
“My administration is laser-focused on making sure all Rhode Island students have access to a high-quality education, and my #RIReady budget makes significant investments to make it happen,” said McKee. “The learning disruption of the pandemic had a severe impact on students that have historically been underserved such as multilingual learners. It is our duty to ensure that these students have the support and resources needed to get ahead – and we’re doing this by investing directly into our school communities with high impact MLL Success Grants and a proposed increase in the MLL categorical funds.”
URI TESOL/BDL faculty members Amy Correia, Laura Hamman-Ortiz, and Rabia Hos will oversee the implementation of two yearlong projects to support the academic success of multilingual learners and educational outcomes. (TESOL/BDL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and/or Bilingual Dual Language Immersion.)
“Multilingual learners, or students learning English as a new language at school, are the fastest growing student subpopulation in Rhode Island and across the country, yet multilingual learners continue to be underserved by our school system. These grants will provide funding to support the implementation of a range of projects aimed at bolstering the success of multilingual learners in Rhode Island schools,” said Hamman-Ortiz.
The URI team will implement the following year-long programs:
Developing MLL Success Teams to Increase MLLs Access to High-Quality Instruction
District Partners: Pawtucket Public Schools, $19,150 and Woonsocket, $24,379
University Partners: Dr. Rabia Hos and Dr. Amy Correia
In partnership with URI faculty, Pawtucket and Woonsocket public schools will incorporate MLL “look-fors,” which are specific indicators of effective teaching and learning that can be observed during a classroom visit, into its classroom walkthrough protocols, conducting observations and leverage data to provide targeted coaching and professional learning on effective instructional practices for multilingual learners.
Enhancing High-Quality Instruction for MLLs in Dual Language Programs through Translanguaging Pedagogy
District partners: Nuestro Mundo and Providence Public School District, $37,899
University partners: Dr. Laura Hamman-Ortiz (URI) and Dr. Sarah Hesson (Rhode Island College)
In partnership with faculty from URI and RIC, teachers in dual language programs at Nuestro Mundo and Providence Public Schools will receive professional learning on translanguaging pedagogy across the 2023-24 school year and will be supported as they engage in structured opportunities for collaborative instructional planning — all designed to enhance students’ biliteracy development.
“Forging a year-long partnership with a district is critical to the success of a professional learning experience,” said Correia. “When a group of educators can discuss research and best practice in a systematic way, we are much more likely to make sustained improvements to local education that can serve as a resource for the rest of the state.”
Eligibility for the grants included local education agencies urging families of multilingual learners to serve on school and district improvement teams or help develop a classroom walk-through system that includes a professional learning and collaborative instruction plan.