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Washington State University
College of Education

ELL Research

ELL Impact Project

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, this program is designed to address the critical shortage of bilingual and ELL qualified teachers to meet the growing number of English language learners in the state of Washington.

Overview of ELL Impact

While the student population in Washington state is growing more ethnically and linguistically diverse, the teaching force continues to be predominantly monolingual, middle class and white. There is a shortage of teachers who mirror the backgrounds of their students and who are prepared to teach students who are learning English as a second language.

The Equity for Language Learners—Improving Practices and Acquisition of Culturally Responsive Teaching program (ELL IMPACT) program is funded by a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education and led by Dr. Gisela Ernst-Slavit, professor of education at WSU Vancouver. If successful, it will become a nationwide model for improving teacher preparation for our changing demographics.

The program is offered at the WSU Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses and includes four Co-Principal Investigators: Drs. Yuliya Ardasheva, Sarah Newcomer and Judy Morrison (at WSU Tri-Cities) and Dr. Kira Carbonneau (at WSU Pullman). In addition to increasing the number of bilingual and ELL teachers, the program aims to improve parental, family and community engagement in partnering districts, improve English learner biliteracy by using small-group strategies, and evaluate the efficacy of the alternative route program in preparing teacher candidates for licensure and certification.

Current Research

Currently, both Vancouver and Tri-Cities have cohorts of 11 students who are expected to graduate in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, a K-8 teaching certificate and endorsements in English language learners and/or Bilingual Education. These outstanding students, selected by their school administrators, work part- or full-time as instructional assistants in partnering districts. They are experienced educators who know how to support the educational, linguistic and emotional needs of English language learners.

Representative Publications:

  • Ernst-Slavit, G., Newcomer, S.N., Morrison, S.J., Lightner, L.K., Morrison, J.A., Ardasheva, Y., Carbonneau, K.J. (in press). Latina Paraeducators’ Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Adaptation in an Alternative Routes to Teaching Program. Submitted to special issue “An Overlooked Educator Workforce in Schools: Investigating the Career Development of Paraeducators” of the Journal of Career Development guest edited by C. Gist, Y.T. Amos and A. Garcia.
  • Morrison, J., Ardasheva, Y., Newcomer, S., Lightner, L., Ernst-Slavit, G., & Carbonneau, K. (2020). Supporting science learning for English language learners. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 10 (1), 254-274.
  • Newcomer, S. N., Ardasheva, Y., Morrison, J. A., Ernst-Slavit, G., Morrison, S.J., Carbonneau, K., & Lightner, L.K. (2020). “Whoa…Welcome to America!”: Supporting refugee background students’ socioemotional wellbeing, English language development and content area learning. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. Published online: March 31.
  • Ardasheva, Y., Newcomer, S. N., Ernst-Slavit, G., Morrison, S. J., Morrison, J. A., Carbonneau, K. J., & Lightner, L. K. (2019). Decision-making practices of experienced upper-elementary teachers during small group instruction to support English learners. The Elementary School Journal 120(1), 88-108.

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