Contact: Jeff Hale, 277-2915
Laurie Mellas-Ramirez, 277-5915


September 12, 2001


The University of New Mexico College of Education (UNM-COE) has been awarded a grant expected to total more than $1 million over five years to improve bilingual education in northwestern New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Education Title VII/Office of Bilingual Education recently awarded the first year installment of $211,986 to the COE and UNM-Gallup Branch where the "Training for Teachers" project will be offered on-site.

Each year of the grant period, UNM will recruit and serve 40 teachers who wish to complete a two-year master's degree program in teaching with both Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and English as Second Language (ESL) emphases.

Gallup and main campus COE faculty will design the graduate program, which will place emphasis on sensitivity to language and culture. Seasoned educators and professional development specialists will be recruited as mentors.

The grant will fund tuition and book stipends.

UNM will also develop LEP summer institutes open to the graduate students and other area teachers. The COE Gallup-based program, in operation for nine years, has graduated more than 300 students, 44 percent of those Native American. The Title VII grant will place special emphasis on recruiting and retaining minority graduates, including Hispanics, Navajos and Zunis.

"With a dire teacher shortage in the Gallup area, we are extremely pleased to receive this grant to improve quality and retention of teachers," said Dr. Pat Stall, COE program manager for UNM-Gallup. "The money awarded will not only help teachers to pursue valuable professional development and graduate work toward the status of Master Teacher, it will ultimately benefit the children."

Teachers who complete the program will be asked to share knowledge and new strategies with colleagues via workshops, study groups and mentorship. At the project's end, many UNM education faculty will have been trained to use and model LEP strategies in their courses.

COE Dean Dr. Viola E. Florez said the new Title VII grant exemplifies years of outstanding work by UNM faculty and staff in the areas of Bilingual Education and teacher preparation at the main and branch campuses. "Special mention must be made of the unique contributions of Dr. Pat Stall, who coordinates the College's programs in Gallup. Under Pat's direction, this grant will provide critical assistance to future New Mexico educators in the very high need areas of LEP and ESL," Florez said. "Lastly -- and not insignificantly -- this grant further demonstrates the COE's commitment to the preparation of quality educators across New Mexico; statewide outreach/assistance is one of the hallmarks of our College's mission."

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