News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

January 18, 2010 — Vol. 26 No. 3

Department of Educational Foundations receives more than $133,000 in scholarship grant funding

The Department of Educational Foundations in the College of Education at Idaho State University recently was awarded more than $133,000 in scholarship grant funding for academic year 2009 – 2010.

Those funds will benefit ISU College of Education undergraduate teacher education students seeking to work in Idaho school districts as bilingual education, English, English as a Second Language (ESL), English Language Learners (ELL), and Native America teachers.

Since 2002 the state of Idaho has awarded over $900,000 in funding to ISU for this grant.

The scholarship program, part of the Idaho State Board of Education’s Grow Your Own (GYO) Scholarship Program, seeks to increase the availability of highly qualified teachers, and especially in high-need areas of Idaho.

The emphasis of the program is on assisting para-educators in Idaho to obtain an associate and/or baccalaureate degree with a Bilingual or ESL endorsement. Another goal of the program is to assist Native American para-educators to obtain an associate and/or baccalaureate in early childhood, elementary or secondary teacher education.

The scholarship program also serves as catalysis for undergraduate action research on the diverse needs of the ELL student population in southeast Idaho.

“A growing need in both Bilingual and ESL programs is the publication of teacher action research. The ESL teacher’s voice is grossly underrepresented in refereed research journals,” said Alex Rosborough, ISU assistant professor of ESL.

GYO scholars, though the classes and experiences they have in the ISU Teacher Education Program, are learning the skills necessary to become classroom-based action researchers.

Twenty-six students currently are participating in the scholarship program as members of ISU College of Education undergraduate programs in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. In Twin Falls the ISU College of Education collaborates with the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) to transition their GYO graduates into our baccalaureate programs.

“In exchange for their scholarships, GYO students work in ESL classrooms in the local region,” said Beverly Ray, chair of the ISU Department of Education Foundations and ISU interim principal investigator (director) for the scholarship program.

“During the fall semester,” continued Ray, “GYO scholars volunteered time in eight school districts in southern and southeastern Idaho. Through these efforts GYO scholars are able to strengthen the connections between what they are learning in COE classrooms and what they are able to do in their classroom placements.”

She noted that GYO scholars can completely alter the dynamics of a classroom.

“Frequently they are catalysts for learning, the ones who can effectively relate to and motivate /ELL and other learners,” Ray said.

Alea Peters, a GYO scholar in the Twin Falls Teacher Education program, sees the benefit of the program for her future success.

“I hope to personally make this scholarship less of a ‘donation’ and more of an ‘investment’ because my education will help me be able to teach numerous ELL students, which will in turn help their families and help society as a whole,” Peters said.

In reflecting on her experiences as a GYO scholar, Peters also noted, “I really want to teach ESL. I am looking forward to continuing my education so that I can become more knowledgeable about how to meet my students’ diverse needs.”

Once graduated, many GYO scholars remain in Idaho where they work in Idaho school districts as highly qualified teachers who also serve as mentors and role models to underserved and minority students.

The scholarship program is seeking applicants for fall 2010 with the screening of applicants occurring in April 2010.

For more information about this program, contact Alex Rosborough at (208) 282-4392 or e-mail rosbales@isu.edu.