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RPS and VCU Announce Dual Certification Program

Richmond Public Schools (RPS) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Education announced a new dual certification program designed to meet the needs of an increasing English Learners (EL) population at RPS.

Offered through Richmond Teacher Residency (RTR), this two-year program provides 15 RPS teachers with the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree in Reading with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, (TESOL) for an endorsement in TESOL and as a Reading Specialist.

“The team at VCU built this program specifically for RPS teachers,” said Tyra Harrison, RPS Manager of Student Supports and Intervention. “It’s imperative that the teachers who serve our EL population are trained in the latest TESOL strategies and know the science of reading so that they can serve in a dual role.”

Over the past decade, RPS has experienced a significant growth in its language diversity. During the 2006-2007 academic year, RPS reported 716 English Learners. Last year, RPS served 2,562 English Learners, more than 3.5 times the 2006-2007 population.

“As our EL population increases, we have to increase the ways that we support our students and teachers,” said Dr. Darlene Currie, RPS Director of Professional Development. “This dual certification program will not only equip teachers with additional tools as a Reading Specialist but it will also provide them with strategies that are specific to supporting students with an EL designation.”

Established in 2011, RTR is a VCU teacher development program that integrates a research-supported approach for effective teaching with real-world classroom experience. The focus of the program is to recruit, prepare and support teachers in order to meet the needs of the school systems they serve.  Each year, program staff and RPS leadership assess the needs of the district and train teachers to fill in those gaps. Past cohorts have trained teachers for secondary, elementary and special education.

“This is further evidence of how VCU and RTR continues to work with our community partners,” said Terry Dozier, Director of Richmond Teacher Residency. “We’re excited by this pilot program with RPS because it will address the needs of the district and has the potential to become the model for how we meet the needs of English Learners in school divisions across the region.”

The program will kick off in May 2019 and is open to current RPS teachers. Interested teachers can reach out to Dr. Darlene Currie for additional information. To apply for the program, click here. Teachers selected by the committee will be notified by April 30, 2019.