TRI Awarded Grant to Close Opportunity Gaps for Students who are Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse

TRI Awarded Grant to Close Opportunity Gaps for Students who are Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse

Posted on April 7, 2014

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Advancing the ability of teachers to meet the needs of culturally and/or linguistically diverse students is a key component of Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal.  The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently awarded $200,000 to WOU’s Teaching Research Institute and College of Education, one of nine competitively funded grant awards, to support Project High Five – Culture, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication and Community.  The project is a collaborative endeavor between WOU, Central School District 13J, the Ella Curran Food Bank, and the Oregon Child Development Coalition to develop a strong Professional Development School (PDS) partnership program between Central School District and Western Oregon University based on principles of culturally responsive pedagogy while strengthening and expanding English Language Development (ELD) for English Learners and being actively involved with community partnerships and service to the community.

Project High Five builds upon the work of two prior WOU grant funded endeavors that developed a contextualized, content-based English Language Development (ELD) model.  Over the past 18 months, WOU has worked with teachers and administrators at Central School District to reshape and expand the district’s ELD model according to district needs and research-based practices.  The model “is a research-based approach that keeps the students in their home classrooms and anchors the learning of English to content that is already part of the students’ academic day” explained Dr. Maria Dantas-Whitney, the Project Director, “this model offers an opportunity for students to receive ELD‐focused instruction that integrates the presentation of topics or tasks from subject matter.”  The Oregon Department of Education named the contextualized ELD model an “Equity Promising Practice”.

“Becoming culturally responsive requires strong links between schools, families and communities to increase student success by removing barriers that block educational achievement. Project High Five will strengthen the trust, understandings and commitment between Central School District and Western Oregon University resulting in improved outcomes for K-12 students, pre-service and in-service teachers and increased community collaborations,” commented Dr. Chloe Hughes, Project Co-Director. 

A unique aspect of Project High Five is the rigorous program evaluation included within the project.  “We want to be able to collect enough meaningful data that we can clearly demonstrate the impact of this innovative model,” stated Dr. Christina Reagle, Project Evaluator.  “We hope to be able to document how this type of project contributes to Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal.”


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