David Johnson and Lia Plakans

Photo by Mei-Ling Shaw Williams
Associate professors with the University of Iowa College of Education David Cassels Johnson and Lia Plakans.

| April 27, 2017

Teachers in training and those in practice will soon be able to teach English language learner students in more impactful ways thanks to a new $2.2 million federal grant.

Associate professors Lia Plakans and David Cassels Johnson recently earned the funding from the U.S. Department of Education for their Advocacy, Capacity, and Collaboration for English Learners in Iowa initiative (ACCEL).

“Teachers know that they want to help these students,” says Plakans.

The project includes leading-edge professional development for pre- and in-service teachers, which takes a holistic approach to showing teachers how to engage with students who are English learners. This will be done through increasing teacher capacity, effectiveness, advocacy, and leadership in both content area instruction and home language/dual language support, as well as family and community engagement.

What this means is in-service teachers will be doing ongoing professional development in a number of Iowa school districts thanks to ACCEL. In the college’s Teacher Education Program, the grant will support students obtaining their licensure in elementary or secondary education. Plakans and Johnson will also collaborate with the Linda R. Baker Teacher Leader Center on an English Language Learners certificate for teachers in training.

Read more from the 2017 Alumni Magazine.