Newark Public Schools Partners with Montclair State University to Offer Bilingual Certification Program for Teachers

[Newark, NJ – January 23, 2017] Newark Public Schools (NPS) is partnering with Montclair State University to offer a Bilingual Bicultural Certification Program for its teachers. In response to the high demand for bilingual educators throughout the district, NPS worked with Montclair State University (MSU) to develop a program that enables current teachers who are proficient in a language other than English to obtain the New Jersey State Bilingual/Bicultural Certification (BBC). The first cohort of educators in this program completed their opening semester of course work in December.

“We are so grateful to the team at Montclair State University for helping us successfully develop this bilingual certification program,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of NPS. “We are lucky to have so many talented teachers in our community, and with help from our partners at Montclair State University, we can utilize existing talent in our classrooms more effectively in places where they can have an even greater impact for students.”

The non-degree program is taught by full-time MSU faculty and consists of four courses for a total of 12 credits. The program is offered on-site at Luis Muñoz Marin Elementary School in Newark after school and online. Participants attend class in-person every other week and complete their coursework online at home the other weeks. Course material is accessible on MSU’s online management system.

“In today’s increasingly global society, bilingual education is integral to student achievement,” said Maria Ortiz, principal at Luis Muñoz Marin Elementary School. “We have some of the best and brightest educators and this program makes it convenient for our hardworking educators to become certified in bilingual education by bringing the program right here to Luis Muñoz Marin. The Newark Public Schools and Montclair State University partnership is helping us invest not only in our teachers but in our students to meet the growing demand for bilingual educators in our community. I look forward to seeing this partnership produce results for our students in the classroom.”

The four, three-credit course requirements include:

  • READ 520: Language Acquisition and Bilingualism
  • ECEL 529: Sociocultural Foundations of Teaching Bilingual Learners
  • READ 521: Literacy and the Bilingual Learner
  • ECEL 527: Teaching Content in the Bilingual and Sheltered English classroom

Teachers who participate in the program are being reimbursed for a significant portion of the costs by Newark Public Schools. The district’s goal is for the success of this initial cohort to lead to an on-going and sustainable pathway into bilingual education for many more Newark educators. District leaders look forward to continuing the program in the 2017-18 school year.