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

One thought on “Grant targets teachers working with ESL students

  1. Hello! I think this is wonderful. I am the principal of Benjamin Elementary – Bloomington/Normal, in the Unit 5 school district. We have a large population of students from India in our school. We are in need of a bi-lingual teacher who speaks Telagu. As you can imagine, this is extremely difficult to find. Since the Indian population in McLean County continues to grow, would you be interested in expanding your grant to include assistance for this? This would be a great resource for our community! Thank you for your consideration. You can reach me at (309)275-2750.