GSEHD professor earns $2.5 million Department of Education grant

A professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to a University release Wendesday.

Joel Gomez, an associate professor of educational leadership and the director of the Institute for Education Studies, will lead a project helping public school teachers and education administrators in Virginia teach English learners or students who do not have full fluency in English, according to the release.

The program, which was developed by Gomez and Lottie Baker, a visiting assistant professor of curriculum and pedagogy in GSEHD, will focus on teachers in science, math or history, as these are the subjects that students learning English tend to struggle with most. Students who are not fluent in English have a hard time in these subjects because they often use complex sentence structure or passive voice, according to the release.

“One of the major challenging factors today for students is learning the academic language they need for school,” Baker said in the release.

The program will begin with a 12-credit online teaching certificate for working teachers with the Virginia Department of Education choosing participants. The participants will then take part in several in-person “institutes,” which fellow teachers, administrators, principals and school board members can attend, according to the release.

“We really want to build a community to serve these learners,” Baker said in the release. “It can’t be just one teacher in a classroom with the door closed.”

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