Return to Headlines

NC State ESL Licensure Program Serves CHCCS Teachers

In recent years, CHCCS has joined in partnerships with North Carolina State University and Elon University to provide add-on licensure programs for current teachers in three priority areas: Gifted Education at Elon, and English as a Second Language and Exceptional Children at NC State. On March 4, the CHCCS School Board voted to fund a second cohort for the ESL program, which will begin in June 2021. A virtual information session will be co-hosted by CHCCS and NC State on April 12 from 4:30-5:30.

An evolving priority for CHCCS is to strengthen teacher capacity to equip them to better meet the needs of diverse learners, and the number of English learner students continues to grow in the district and across the state. The NC State ESL program offers a year-long course of study, four online graduate level classes taught by nationally-recognized scholars. The core competencies include linguistics and perspectives on English as a new language. The program includes a supervised internship to enable the teachers to apply the coursework with their English Learner students.

The first cohort program launched in January 2019, with 22 teachers completing their certifications in spring 2020. The second cohort will enroll up to 25 CHCCS teachers. CHCCS covers the cost of the program, so teachers can add the license at no personal cost.

Tina Mansfield is the Math and Science Specialist at Morris Grove Elementary School, and she graduated with the first ESL cohort. She said, “The NC State ESL certification program helped me to be more intentional about identifying and building upon the many strengths English Learners bring to the classroom. The information was relevant for K-12 classrooms across subject areas. If you are seeking ways to more effectively scaffold learning for English Learners, you will find this program valuable. It was also a great way to build connections with colleagues across the district.”

Veronica de Bartolo teaches fifth grade in the dual-language program at Carrboro Elementary School. “Ranging from phonetic to linguistic analysis and more, the ESL certification program helped me continue my professional development in acquiring skills and experience to meet the language needs of my DL classrooms,” she said. “It allowed me to identify the language skills that students bring to the school and see them as resources to be utilized and developed. This is an excellent opportunity for any DL teacher so as to have the tools to cater for the needs of our ELLs and help them thrive in their language development.”

“I found that the ESL add-on cohort with NC State really enriched my understanding of the English language,” said Molly Brooks, French teacher at East Chapel Hill High School. “It opened my eyes to the many challenges that an English language learner faces as they are trying to acquire English proficiency and gave me tools to help these students navigate their new and exciting world. While the coursework is very challenging and does require some time management skills, it provided a very in-depth learning experience to help teachers effectively support and teach English Language learners. As a French teacher, I have a lot of knowledge about French language acquisition. It was fascinating to learn so much about how difficult learning (and teaching!) English is. I would highly recommend the program.”