Distance Learning

Rossier School of Ed Launches Equity Teacher Certificate Program

University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education has debuted an online course focused on strategies to differentiate instruction for English language learning students in an effort to prepare them for Common Core assessments. The course is one of four that, taken together, comprise the "Equity Educator Certificate Program."

Dubbed "Pedagogical Strategies for English Learners," the course is designed to help teachers "learn how differentiated instruction, scaffolding strategies and creating a language rich learning environment help schools close the achievement gap and ensure that all students — regardless of race or language — achieve their potential and graduate college and career ready," according to a news release.

A collaboration between the school and professional development provider Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS), the 45-hour course was authored by Eugenia Mora-Flores, chair of the Rossier's master of arts in teaching governance committee and professor of clinical education.

As part of the course, teachers will create an academic language bank to deconstruct language and explore its role "in literacy development and academic achievement," according to information released by the school. Teachers will also "demonstrate pedagogical practices to guide English learners to think about content in critical and creative ways and employ multiple strategies for scaffolding thinking and apply knowledge and language about ELs to make informed instructional decisions to enhance learning."

"The racial and language achievement gap is real and the numbers are ugly," said Alvin Crawford, CEO of KDS, in a prepared statement. "Most professional development systems don't have the bandwidth to bring teachers up to speed on equity issues. This first course originating from our new partnership with USC Rossier helps to prepare teachers to positively impact academic growth and the success of all students regardless of their race or language competencies."

"Our steadfast mission to consider every student's academic needs is exemplified through this critical course designed to guide and support teachers of English Learners," said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, in a news release. "Through this trailblazing partnership with KDS, we are advancing learning in urban education so that English Learners around the nation are not neglected in the classroom."

Other courses in the certificate program include "Relational Classroom Management," "Facilitating Learning for Speakers of Non-Standard English" and "Differentiation: What, How and Why?" More information about the Equity Educator Certificate Program is available at rossier.usc.edu.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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