Professional Development

ED Opens Competition for ELL Professional Development Grants

The United States Department of Education is taking on professional development of teachers and others working with English language learners (ELL). The federal agency recently unveiled a multi-million dollar competitive grant program specifically for colleges and universities to team up with their states or districts to provide professional development activities intended to improve instructional practices in ELL.

Professional development may include preservice or in-service activities for educators of English learners, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals or others educators working with these students.

The department expects to issue 53 awards ranging from $350,000 to $550,000 per year for up to five years. The institutions of higher education will work as the fiscal agents for the funding, though the application process requires those schools to obtain a memo of understanding from the local education agencies they intend to work with on their training programs.

This isn't the first competitive program addressing the English learner segment. Since 2008 the department has awarded an estimated $328 million in National Professional Development Program grants to help educators working with students learning the English language.

"These grants are a smart investment in biliteracy, family and community engagement and expanding professional development for educators working to meet the needs of English learner students," said John King, acting secretary of education, in a prepared statement. "With this funding, we continue to deliver on our promise of equity, excellence and opportunity in supporting educators, students and families across the country."

The deadline for submitting applications is February 19, 2016. The program is hosted at

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.