Bilingual Teacher Pathway Program provides important links

For the past 12 years, the Bilingual Teacher Pathway (BTP) program has built and nurtured a partnership with local school districts to develop and hire qualified bilingual teachers to meet the needs of their growing English language learner populations. Districts are able to “grow their own” teachers by recruiting bilingual/bicultural paraprofessionals into the BTP program and provide student teaching placements in their district.

The impact on the community is significant: School districts have access to in-house bilingual educators who often have roots in the community and can serve as effective linguistic and cultural brokers between families and schools.

GSE teacher educators meet with district liaisons throughout the year to provide a supportive place to discuss educational issues experienced in the field. The BTP Consortium meetings are well attended and the discussion among the liaisons provides GSE with insights on emerging issues in schools today. This has a direct impact on how we prioritize efforts to recruit, write grants, and revisit or revise policy, program requirements, and curriculum in order to better prepare top-quality bilingual/bicultural teachers.

Partner school districts

  • Beaverton
  • Canby
  • Centennial
  • David Douglas
  • Forest Grove
  • Gresham-Barlow
  • Hillsboro
  • McMinnville
  • Parkrose
  • Portland Public
  • Reynolds
  • Tigard-Tualatin
  • Salem
  • Sherwood
  • Woodburn

The BTP program profoundly impacts the community by contributing to a diverse teacher pool. In the past ten years the BTP program has graduated approximately 260 bilingual/bicultural teachers who are currently working in our partner school districts and the surrounding community.

Many of our graduates become mentor teachers for BTP student teachers, and thus give back to the program in supportive ways. Whenever we enter a partner school, it is with pride that teachers will identify themselves as BTP graduates.

This past academic year, the PSU Graduate School of Education hired Esperanza De La Vega as the new coordinator for the BTP program. She is also an assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. Dr. De La Vega stepped into this new role with enthusiasm and a genuine passion for bilingual/multicultural education and the preparation of teachers for our increasingly diverse school settings. Here are some of the collaborative community projects she has worked on this year:

Stand for the Children

Dr. De La Vega participated in foundational workshops for the Portland chapter of Stand for the Children, a national organization of advocacy for children’s education. A webinar she led (Best practices for all kids, but especially for English learners) reached out to the Portland metro area and Oregon communities. This webinar was part of a series that drew on expertise from around the state on the education of English language learners.

Chalkboard Project

Dr. De La Vega was interviewed by the Chalkboard Project about the BTP program’s outreach to the linguistically and culturally diverse community. The interview was published in the “Chalk Talk” newsletter for May, 2011 and can be found on their website.

Grant writing

Based on recommendations from BTP Consortium members, and with the support from the dean’s office, the BTP program submitted a grant proposal titled Futures project to to integrate a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) into the current BTP program. The $1.9 million dollar grant, announced in early fall, would be used to develop and implement community outreach projects with a STEM focus.

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