PULLMAN, Wash. — Teachers who want to help meet Washington’s critical need for educators trained to teach the growing number of language minority students in the state’s K-12 classrooms are encouraged to enroll in a unique on-line preparation program sponsored by Washington State University’s College of Education.

Teachers can complete their Bilingual Education or ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsements through a combination of online distance education courses and a summer institute. WSU’s new program is supported with a three-year, $700,000 U.S. Department of Education grant, said assistant professor Joy Egbert.

The project funds the preparation for two cohorts of 15 teachers each, beginning in the fall of 2002. Tuition will be provided for the teachers selected. Because the courses are offered through the Internet, the teachers will remain in their home communities that can be located anywhere in Washington, she said.

There is a critical need for teachers prepared to teach language minority students in Washington, Egbert added. Language minority, or non-native speakers of English, currently comprise 23 percent of all students in the state, and represent 96 language groups.

Teachers interested in enrolling in the program are urged to contact Egbert by telephone at 509/335-7277 or by e-mail at jegbert@wsu.edu.