The College of Education has received more than $1.39 million to help Chicago-area paraprofessionals make the transition to certified teacher with bilingual and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) approvals.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement announced the award of the five-year grant for Transitioning Paraprofessionals into Teachers of English Learners (TPTEL).

The program aims to increase the number of skilled teachers who work with Latino students learning English. It involves a partnership between Illinois State and four Chicago-area school districts, including Waukegan School District 60, North Chicago District 187, Round Lake School District 116, and Zion School District 6.

“There is a shortage of qualified teachers for English language learners,” Dean Deborah Curtis said. “The TPTEL partnership will help address this gap.”

ISU will receive more than $257,000 in the first year to begin the recruitment and training of 51 paraprofessionals currently serving English-language learners as teachers’ aides or support staff in schools.

For additional information on the TPTEL, contact Maria Zamudio at (309) 438-3105 or, or Pauline Clardy at (309) 438-5882 or