Oregon schools serve rising numbers of Hispanic and Latino youth, but communities face a shortage of bilingual teachers. Kathryn Ciechanowski, assistant professor in the OSU College of Education, is addressing that problem with school districts in the Willamette Valley and Lincoln County.
Ciechanowski, whose mother is from Peru, grew up in a bilingual California household. In 2006, she capped her University of Michigan Ph.D. in language and literacy with a first–place award in the National Association of Bilingual Education’s dissertation competition.
In Corvallis, Ciechanowski is making plans with Oscar Moreno–Gilson, principal of the Lincoln School, and with OSU’s Minority Education Office, to increase the numbers of bilingual/bicultural teachers and to support the district’s dual immersion programs. The goal is increased proficiency in English and Spanish. "First–graders don’t come home speaking another language after the first day," she says, "but by third grade, they are often speaking more fluently. It’s amazing."
Ciechanowski is also making plans to expand training for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs with schools in Albany, Lincoln County and the Salem–Keizer district.