Salem State awarded $1.9 million grant to enhance teacher education

June 27, 2012, Salem, Mass.—The National Professional Development Program, under the auspices of the United States Department of Education, awarded Salem State University a five-year grant totaling $1.9 million to increase the numbers of well-prepared and licensed teachers of English learners (ELs). The grant proposes that the university will partner with school districts on the North Shore where significant need is identified in communities with a higher concentration of immigrants and refugees.

This initiative will enable Salem State to develop a baccalaureate program to prepare licensed educators in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects with specialized training in teaching English learners.  Also, a new graduate program will enable licensed teachers in one of the STEM subjects to obtain a graduate certificate by acquiring the necessary background knowledge and experience to effectively teach English learners in those content areas.

According to project director C. Julie Whitlow, professor of English at the university, “a primary goal is to collect and analyze data on project outcomes to improve instructional practices and student outcomes in partner districts.” The project is also expected to enhance Salem State’s ongoing efforts to recruit and prepare more STEM teachers in programs nationally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. For the graduate program, Salem State will look to actively recruit undergraduate STEM majors to become licensed educators with preparation in teaching English learners.

Analysis has shown that there are hundreds of English learners in the communities of Lynn, Salem and Revere, representing over 50 countries of origin and 30 native language backgrounds.  State requirements for English Learners to take and pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests by their first year of school has highlighted the need for teachers to have this type of specialized training.


Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. The university enrolls over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 44 states and 61 nations, and is one of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.