Professors Sara Smith, Terry Osborn and Connie Walker-Egea from the University of South Florida (USF) College of Education recently received a grant over $2M for their collaboration entitled: Project Parasol: English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Paraprofessional to Teacher Pipeline. The grant is administered by the National Professional Development Program, specifically the Office of English Language Acquisition.
For the next five years, the team in conjunction with the School District Manatee County (SDMC) will build a career pathway for 60 ESOL Paraprofessionals to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from USF with ESOL and Reading Endorsements, and ultimately secure a teaching position at SDMC. Project Parasol will provide ESOL Paraprofessionals with a viable pathway to postsecondary education with wraparound supports designed to improve success. Project Parasol will increase the number of highly prepared ESOL teachers and the number of bilingual teachers within the school district.
“We are excited to work with our amazing partners in SDMC, including Ms. Debra Estes,
Director of ESOL, Migrant and Dual Language Programs in SDMC,” said Sara Smith, principal
investigator for the project and Assistant Professor of ESOL/Language Education. “We
hope to develop a scalable program that can be replicated in other districts through
the state of Florida and the country.”
Dr. Terry Osborn is a professor in the College of Education and an authority in applied linguistics and critical pedagogy. Dr. Connie Walker-Egea, is an assistant research professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at USF.