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News Release

University of Alaska Southeast

The School of Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) received a $3M federal professional development grant, Project LEAF (Literacy Equity for Alaskan Families), through the Office of English Language Acquisition. Lisa Richardson, Ph.D., associate professor of education at University of Alaska Southeast, who coordinates the Reading Specialist M.Ed. program, is collaborating with Dr. Cathy Coulter and Dr. John-Shields of UAA to design and teach courses for this graduate certificate program. “I am so thrilled to be working in collaboration with my colleagues at UAA to design this robust and essential professional learning opportunity to support teachers across the state. We have worked to align indigenous epistemologies, effective literacy and language acquisition practices, and to create courses that allow teachers to immediately put into practice what they are learning,” said Dr. Richardson, “Our first courses this summer made it clear that we are working and learning with passionate educators in Alaska, and I can’t wait to see how this work continues as candidates move through the program.”

This grant aims to improve the effectiveness of teachers to meet the needs of students who are English language learners in the state of Alaska. The first cohort of teachers includes those who are working in more urban districts, as well as those who are working with a wide range of indigenous students across the state. The coursework throughout the program is designed to support teachers in meeting the needs of their students’ unique and varied identities and literacy and language practices. The initial 18 credit hours of the graduate certificate program are aligned with the first 18 credit hours of the M.Ed. in Reading through the University of Alaska Southeast’s Reading Specialist program so that candidates can continue on beyond the graduate certificate in ESL to pursue their Reading Specialist endorsement and M.Ed. if they choose.

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Learn more about degree programs offered through the University of Alaska Southeast School of Education at or speak to an education advisor at 907-796-6076.

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