Focus # 3: English Language Learning
Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Project
There are 18,532 bilingual students, 12,658 English Language Learners and 41 languages currently being spoken. This "majority minority" creates the need for a large number of bilingual teachers and there is a continuous shortage of these teachers. This student subgroup has been identified as one of the most at risk within the district. Poor performance and drop- out rates are much higher than average.
The objective of the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline project is to, simply put, grow our own, by providing funding for tuition and teacher certification for paraprofessionals already working in the Oklahoma City Public Schools District. This will have an immediate impact on the English Language Learning students in the District. As the paraprofessionals receive their training, they will develop skills that make them even more valuable in the classroom setting. The program is designed to benefit the English Language Learning students, but a valuable ancillary benefit is hand up the paraprofessionals receives for themselves and their families as they further their own careers.
The program will take place through partnerships with local community colleges and universities (Specifically, Oklahoma City Community College, OSU-OKC, University of Central Oklahoma and University of Oklahoma). The paraprofessionals began course work in Spring 2016 and are held accountable for maintaining a 3.0 GPA throughout the course of their degree completion. Some of the participants will be ready for teacher certification within two years, while others will take four years to complete. The District will hire them as teachers once their certification is complete and they are required to stay in the District for a minimum of three years or will be responsible for tuition payback to The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Other measurable items include tracking English Language Learning students’ performance in Core subjects, but especially in reading. Graduation rates among this subgroup are another measure that will be tracked.