College & Community Relations

Aims receives $1.5 million grant to develop ESL-endorsed teachers

Submitted on: 09-15-2011

Aims Community College received a grant from the US Department of Education to support the college's Career Ladder program in Fort Lupton. The grant is for $1.5 million. Career Ladder focuses on developing existing elementary school paraprofessionals into elementary teachers who specialize in teaching English Language Learners. An emphasis will be placed on teaching science and math while developing those students' English skills.

The Career Ladder program at Aims will allow paraprofessionals already employed in education to keep their current jobs while earning an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in teaching English as a Second Language. Graduates are then assisted in transferring to either Metropolitan State College or the University of Northern Colorado to complete their bachelor's degrees in Elementary Education.

The grant awards approximately $300,000 annually to Aims through 2016. It is part of the U.S. Department of Education's National Professional Development program that includes 42 grants totaling $14.8 million to colleges and universities, in collaboration with state and local school districts.  Locally, Aims is partnering with Weld County School District Re-8 in Fort Lupton, Adams County School District 27-J in Brighton and Adams County School District 50 in Westminster.

"Over the past decade, the number of ESL students in our elementary schools has doubled, while the number of teachers with ESL endorsements has dropped," said Career Ladder Program Director Lorenso Aragon. "Our Career Ladder program will address a great need while demonstrating outstanding cooperation among educators at all levels to prepare our future generations to be able to reach their highest potential."

The goal is to develop 60 new ESL-endorsed teachers through the term of the grant.

"With the sharp focus from the U.S. Department of Education on preparing teachers, this could not have been a more meritorious award," said Aims President Marsi Liddell. 

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