Sunday, October 30, 2016


  The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Eastern Michigan University a grant to increase the number of ESL-credentialed teachers in Michigan and study effective professional development for teachers of English learners. The WRITELL grant will recruit teachers and paraprofessionals who currently work with English learners who wish to pursue an undergraduate minor, endorsement, or Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Teachers will be eligible for a scholarship of approximately 40% of their academic program in these areas. They will be involved in a research study of professional development that will examine the effectiveness of strategies for improving opinion writing with English learners, as well as pursuing their program of study. The initiative intends to enroll 300 teachers over the program period. The partnering agency is the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and will recruit teachers from Washtenaw and Livingston counties initially and expand to other counties as needed. All teachers in the region are invited to apply. The grant is renewable for up to five years, with total funding of over 2.6 million dollars. 

WRITELL is a collaboration between the Department of World Languages and the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. Dr. Zuzana Tomas is the principal investigator and Dr. William Tucker the Assistant Principal Investigator. Sarah Lorenz, Director of Professional Development at EMWP, is the Project Director. Kim Pavlock, EMWP Family Literacy Programming Director, will oversee family writing series at ten partnering schools each year. A community outreach coordinator and two instructional coaches will be hired to assist with program implementation. EMU preservice teachers will be involved with service learning/tutoring in after-school and community programs in Ypsilanti, funded by the grant. EMU’s Dr. Shawn Quilter will conduct the program evaluation, which is a quasi-experimental design. The National Writing Project’s national office at the University of California, Berkeley, has been commissioned to conduct the assessment of student writing. 

K-12 teachers and paraprofessionals of all subjects who are/will be working with two or more English learners are eligible to apply, and should anticipate involvement for 2-3 years, or possibly longer, depending on their chosen pace of program completion. Cohorts will begin in January 2017, August 2017, August 2018, August 2019, and August 2020 (final year will be a condensed program). For more information or to apply as a participant, contact Sarah Lorenz, Project Director, at

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