Grand View University Wins Multi-Million Dollar Education Grant

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Grand View University is getting some major funding for a program that's in high demand. The college is receiving a five-year, 2.75 million-dollar grant for their English Language Learners program.

It's for teachers who work with non-native English-speaking students.

After failing to win the grant in 2016 this year Grand View University struck pay dirt.

“There were 269 applications and only 42 were awarded and Grand View was one of them” said Dr. Roslyn Billy.

Billy is Grand View's ELL specialist. She says the program, which will teach 485 teachers from several districts, will make them better at what they do.

“I think it will have a significant impact because they will be able to reach a learning population that struggles with academic language and academic content. That will help them be more effective and be more engaging, and encourage ELL learners to become more advocates towards their learning” said Billy.

The grant is great for the present but it's almost better for the future, as projections show it's only going to get more diverse in the classroom.

“You're attracting a lot more foreign workers to your bigger industries. Those foreign workers typically bring families with them. That's where we come in” said Pablo Ortega.

Ortega is the leader for the ell efforts in the Des Moines school district. He says having more ELL teachers will have a wide-ranging effect.

“I would even venture to say when you have kids who come from poverty they are also language learners. So, to be able to have more and more teachers endorsed in ELL, in ELL background, it's going to be helpful for kids not only learning English as a second language but also for kids who perhaps don't have access to that academic language at home” said Ortega.

Dean of graduate programs, Patricia Williams, says the grant shows grand view is remaining on the cutting edge of education programs.