County educators take part in ESL Academy

Public educators from across the state recently participated in the English as a Second Language graduate training program. Teachers were trained for 10 hours a day during the 13-day learning session and were required to complete a lengthy project in order to receive graduate hours from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

About 200 teachers attended the program. Saline County representatives included, from Benton, Carmen Phelps, Michelle Taylor, Kim Hathcote, Ally Brown, Amanda Dale and Brynn Stout. Bryant School District teachers were Christy Frost, Mary Uzzell, Suzanne Johnson, Leslie Smith, Tracey Paul, Theresa Boyette and Andrea Willis.

Willis is also a member on the HSU Advisory Board and an ESL teacher.

Jo Gusman of Sacramento, Calif., was the guest speaker during the training. She has been an educator for 40 years and her recent work titled, Common Core State Standards and ELL'S: Equal Access, was presented and defined for the 2014 participants.

Her educational interest has been with brain research and processing for ELL'S.

Dr. Andre Guerrero, Arkansas Department of Education Language Minority spokesman, has been involved with the program for the past 16 years. Guerrero is responsible for making connections with companies such as Tyson in order to financially make the ESL Academy experience happen for teachers.

Guerrero was awarded the Outstanding Service award from Arkansas Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages in the fall of 2013. Guerrero reports each year the different languages spoken within the homes of our students to the ADE.

Applications for participation in the ESL Academy can be submitted each spring through the local school districts or by calling HSU's language proficiency center.