Superintendent’s update from 2/4

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has announced that the Amherst Public School District has been awarded an FY2022 Alternative English Learner Education Programs grant in the amount of $543,125.00.  For this competitive grant program, the application submitted by the district addresses each of DESE’s four goals for the program:

  • Goal 1: Develop and/or implement an alternative bilingual ELE program for English learners;    
  • Goal 2: Create (and cultivate) or continue a “grow your own” bilingual education hub that would support and encourage statewide initiative and collaboration, improve the Bilingual Education educator pipeline, share knowledge to accelerate the adoption of proven and recognized programmatic models for English learners, and develop successful models that can be replicated for years to come;
  • Goal 3: Establish or improve multilingual libraries that provide effective, balanced, and substantial collections for as many ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups of students in the community as possible; and
  • Goal 4: Develop and Implement High School Academies that would challenge high school English learners (grades 9–12) to improve academic achievement with an emphasis on English language learning skills.

For goal one, the Caminantes bilingual program housed at Fort River School will provide a month-long summer program during July that will provide instructional support and arts integration activities for Caminantes students.  Additionally, grant funds will be used to purchase Caminantes materials and supplies, as well as books in Spanish, that will support the expansion of the program into third grade. Funds will also support teacher-led professional development opportunities and the opportunity for Caminantes teachers to attend the Massachusetts Association of Bilingual Educators (MABE) conference.

Continuing collaboration with UMass, the Holyoke Public Schools, and the Springfield Public Schools to support our regional bilingual hub to expand opportunities for teacher training and collaboration teacher collaboration will be supported as part of goal two of the grant.  The Amherst Public Schools will continue to offer the Seal of Biliteracy Program and to expand programming and access for heritage languages, including activities such as parent-child book clubs.

Goal three will allow the Amherst Schools to purchase multilingual materials to expand our libraries at all grade levels.  Access to such resources will also allow the district to expand opportunities for engagement of our multilingual families.
Funds that support goal four will be used to develop and implement a new project-based spring and summer program for English Learner (EL) high school students. Through the ELL High School Academy program, EL students at ARHS will enhance their English language acquisition and build their leadership capacity by designing programming that they will then offer to younger students in the summer.  

We are excited and grateful for the opportunity these grant funds will provide us to enhance and expand our existing programming and partnerships, as well as to implement an exciting new program that will support our EL students at all grade levels. 

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