Improving Academic Competencies of English Language Learners through Educator Professional Development

Judy Stoehr and Megan Welch

Many of Nebraska’s communities are experiencing increasing numbers of students who are English language learners. This is presenting a new challenge to Nebraska school districts, as these students typically have a more difficult time developing academic English. Their difficulty with the language hinders their ability to read and write, impacting their classroom performance, test scores, and overall success in school.

Rural schools typically have fewer resources than larger districts and must often rely on classroom teachers to meet the unique needs of the ELL students. These teachers must be equipped with cultural competence, as well as specific instructional tools and techniques in order to accelerate and enhance the students’ English language learning.

The goal of this project is to provide educators with information and specific strategies necessary to facilitate literacy skills such as language development and comprehension for English language learners in the classroom. In particular, this will provide school districts without English as a Second Language programs with effective strategies to better engage ELL students in their classrooms.

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