Education Connections is an initiative of the Center for Applied Linguistics funded by three grants—one from the U.S. Department of Education and two from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each of the three funded projects provides free professional development for teachers regarding improved implementation of sheltered instructional methods to better meet the needs of English learner students in standards-based, mainstream education settings. Project activities involve teachers’ participation in an online community of educators hosted on the University of Oregon’s ObaVerse platform. Within the virtual space, teachers engage in a range of activities, such as browsing practical resources to use in their classrooms; attending webinars with renowned experts in English learner education; completing courses conveying graduate credits; engaging in discussions with other educators in forums; and receipt and distribution of weekly Tuesday’s Tips and Friday’s Fun Facts.
Education Connections’ professional development also incorporates face-to-face sessions with participating teachers around topics such as sheltered instruction, newcomer students, culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional (CLDE) students, and teacher leadership skills. All Education Connections projects and activities fundamentally honor and build on teachers’ pedagogical and content area expertise, with the goal of facilitating teacher collaboration, through both informal interaction, as well as more formal teacher leadership responsibilities.
Learn more about the three Education Connections projects on their individual project pages:
- Promoting Educator Networks: Standards-Based Instruction for Secondary English Learners (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, September 2013 – August 2015)
- Promoting Educator Networks: Standards-Based Instruction for English Learners (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, January 2014 - December 2017)
- Enhanced Education Connections: Supporting Teacher Leaders in Local and Virtual Networks (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, September 2015 - August 2017)
View a video highlighting Education Connections’ work with Fitchburg Public Schools in Massachusetts.