September 20, 1999
MEDIA CONTACT: Cassie McVeety, 360/546-9601,
STORY SOURCE: Sherry Vaughan, 360/546-9662,
        VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Washington State University at Vancouver will lead four collaborative projects with regional partners to improve teacher education. Major grants totaling $1,855,000 will be announced at a campus reception Sept. 22 from 4-6 p.m. in the Student Services Building.
        The first project, supported by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, supports the Bilingual/ESL Teacher Advancement Program (BETAP). The program addresses the critical shortage of bilingual/ESL education teachers in southwest Washington by providing funds to recruit, train and support bilingual paraprofessionals and secondary students to become certified in K-8 education with endorsements in bilingual and/or ESL education.
        "This program is designed to provide financial support for individuals currently working in the schools to continue working part-time while they pursue their education," notes WSU Vancouver Associate Professor Gisela Ernst-Slavit, the principal investigator of the project. "The program allows us to collaborate with Clark and Lower Columbia Colleges, the ESD 112 and five local school districts. We will offer financial assistance to 35 students to pursue their education at the community college level, then on to WSU Vancouver to earn their bachelor's degree in education. We have begun taking applications for the scholarships this fall and will start interested students this winter." Ernst-Slavit can be reached at 360/546-9659.
        The second project, funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, is for the Performance Enhancement for African American Students in Sciences (PEASS). This program involves systemic research aimed at investigating the root causes of the underachievement of African American students in science. The principal investigator is WSU Vancouver Assistant Professor Obed Norman, who will conduct this research in partnership with the Portland public schools. Norman can be reached at 360/546-9665.
        The third project is funded by a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the technology infrastructure for pre-service teachers and faculty in WSU Vancouver's Masters in Teaching degree program. Through a consortium with the Vancouver School District, Hewlett Packard and WSU's Center for Teaching and Learning, the Technology Education Matters: Plan for Learning and Teaching with Educational Technology Project (TEMPLATE) will guide the development and innovation of teacher preparation programs through innovative use of technology. WSU Vancouver Assistant Professors Davit Slavit and Rick Sawyer are the principal investigators and can be reached at 360/546-9653 and 360/546-9658, respectively.
        The fourth project for teacher training is funded by an $80,000 grant from Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The mission of this project is to develop beginning teachers capable of addressing the challenges of performance-based teaching. WSU Vancouver faculty and area veteran teachers will team up to provide teacher interns with the experience they need to improve the professionalism of their school communities. WSU Vancouver Assistant Professor Armando Laguardia is the principal investigator of the project and can be reached at 360/546-9670.
        WSU Vancouver's education program offers a master's in teaching degree for new teachers, a master's in education degree for existing teachers, and with the BETAP grant will begin to offer a bachelor's degree in education in fall 2001. Certificates and endorsements in a variety of areas are also available.
        WSU Vancouver is celebrating its 10th year within the WSU system, and provides junior-, senior- and graduate-level courses leading to 13 bachelor's and seven master's degrees. The campus is located on 351 acres seven miles north of the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area.

Note to Editors: Photo opportunity at award ceremony, 4 p.m.Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Student Services Building.


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