HCCS Bilingual Education Program prepares future teachers

To meet the growing need for qualified teachers who can educate Spanish language-dependent students in the Houston area, the Houston Community College System has instituted the HCCS Bilingual Education Careers Program in a collaboration with the University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Independent School District, and Spring Branch Independent School District. This program will increase the number of adults preparing for bilingual and ESL education careers to serve local community needs, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

The Bilingual Education Careers Program (BEC) is funded in part by a three-year U.S. Department of Education grant for $615,346 and will begin educating future teachers in the 2001-2002 academic school year. BEC will develop a coordinated curriculum between HCCS and the UH bilingual education programs and teach elementary school teachers in both HISD and SBISD to better understand the needs of English-deficient and minority students.

The BEC will also focus on helping teacher aides and paraprofessionals already working at these two school districts to complete their college degrees. In its initial stages, the program will recruit and enroll 30 under-represented education paraprofessionals each year and guide them toward becoming fully certified bilingual and ESL classroom educators.