(November 6, 2006) Through an Illinois State University project called Teachers for All Children, Chicago-area school districts with large immigrant communities are finding bilingual teachers to fill a growing need. The program provides teacher education programs to bilingual paraprofessionals already working in high-need school districts. Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Transition to Teaching grant, the program draws participants from communities such as Waukegan, Round Lake, North Chicago and Zion.

The program is unique because courses are taught by instructors from Illinois State University on evenings and weekends in the local community at the University Center of Lake County in Waukegan. Eligible participants hold an associate degree prior to admission into the program. The grant-funded program is offered free of charge to participants if they commit to teaching in a high-need district for three years after they complete the program.

Additional news coverage of the impact of this program on alleviating the shortage of bilingual teachers in the Waukegan area is available in the archives of the Lake County News-Sun. “Homegrown talent” was written by Ryan Pagelow and published in the August 31, 2006 issue.

For more information on the Illinois State University Transition to Teaching program, please contact George Torres.