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Project Updates

Project News

For detailed project updates, please visit the PETALLs newsletter page for more information.


SEI Professional Development Workshops

This winter and spring the PETALLs project provided three professional development (PD) workshop series to 77 teachers in the Lawrence Public Schools to achieve two major goals:

  1. To sustain and extend effective instructional strategies teachers learned in the RETELL course; and
  2. To build capacity to continue this work within the Lawrence Public Schools (LPS). Each PD offering was designed by Lawrence teachers in collaboration with the CED at UMass Lowell.

The PD manuals were then vetted by experts in content-based ESL. Teachers who completed one of the workshop series received 15 PDPs in SEI from the CED and a stipend from the LPS.

The PD series included:

  • Teaching Science to English Learners within an Inclusion Model
  • Extending SEI Strategies for Algebra and Geometry
  • Teaching SLIFE: Unlocking the Potential


MATSOL Academy

In July of 2016, 22 teachers completed the MATSOL, ESL Academy Test Preparation for Licensure, which was funded by the PETALLs grant.

Kathy Murphy, a lead facilitator from MATSOL, conducted the Academy, which enhanced participants’ knowledge and skills as well as better prepared them for success the first time they complete the ESL MTEL.

Completers reported that they would recommend the training to other educators. They found it especially helpful to practice answering open response questions that are on the test. One participant wrote, "examining strong open response answers and writing our own was very beneficial.” As of November, 2016, seven participants have passed the ESL MTEL test. Others reported they will be taking the test in the near future.

Plans are underway to hold another MATSOL Academy in the spring of 2017. It will be open to teachers who have participated in the ESL certificate program or any teacher who has had substantial coursework in ELs.

Winter / Spring 2016

I Learn America, Film Screening and Workshop

Eighty-seven participants from the Lawrence Public Schools, UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College and the Merrimack Valley community attended the film screening of I Learn America, which featured the experiences of five newly arrived immigrants that took place on February 16th from 5-8pm at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in Lowell, MA.

Film directors held an interactive workshop the following day (2/17) to help both teachers and prospective teachers understand how to create a welcoming learning environment as well as meeting the needs of immigrant learners in their classrooms. All attendees received certificates of attendance for each event.

SEI Professional Development Workshops Fall 2015 / Spring 2016

Four SEI Professional Development (PD) workshop series (each awarding 15 PDPs towards re-licensure) were offered during the 2015-16 school year. These PD offering extended the skills and knowledge that teachers gained in the RETELL SEI course. The PD was developed by Lawrence Public School faculty who had completed ESL certificates in collaboration with the LPS ESL Director and Facilitator and with faculty from UMass Lowell. Each PD offering was vetted by experts in the field. The workshops addressed science and math in the SEI classroom.

“Teaching Science to English Language Learners within and Inclusion Model”

Fall 2015 at the Frost Middle School, Lawrence, MA

Linda Gormley-Bonanno and Nicole Finneran, seventh grade science and special education teachers who work closely in an inclusion classroom, designed and facilitated the professional development workshop series. Ten teachers completed sessions that provided them with the skills and strategies to more effectively teach vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and listening within the science content area. The course exposed the teachers to current research with a focus on English Language Learners (ELLs) and science. The instructors broke down strategies, provided samples, and guided participants in implementing the strategies in order to best fit the needs of the individual learners in their classroom. Each completer was awarded a certificate for 15 PDP’s from UMass Lowell.

“Teaching English Language Learners in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom”

Spring 2016 at the Oliver Partnership School, Lawrence, MA

Christine Hill and Kristin Ando designed and facilitated this professional development workshop series. Fifty teachers completed sessions that examined the elementary math environment and class norms to encourage language development within the mathematics class. The concept of academic vocabulary as it relates to language development in the elementary math class was explored. Participants practiced strategies for developing academic conversations in mathematics classrooms. Each completer was awarded a certificate for 15 PDP’s from UMass Lowell.

ParaTELL 3.0“Collaborating to Improve Instruction for English Learners”

Spring 2016 at the Frost Elementary/Middle School in Lawrence, MA

Linda Gormley- Bonnano and Nicole Finneran facilitated a workshop series that paired SEI teachers with paraprofessionals. The groups collaboratively planned classroom instruction for ELs, including lesson objectives and the academic supports necessary to help them meet these objectives. Ten teachers and eight paraprofessionals received a certificate for 15 PDPs from UMass Lowell upon completion of this workshop.

ESL Certificate Completers Spring 2016

A total of 19 in-service and pre-service teachers have completed the University of Massachusetts Lowell 12-credit ESL certificate program. These teachers completed their practicums and have received graduate certificates from UML’s Graduate School of Education.

Summer / Fall 2015

Twenty seven in-service and pre-service teachers participated in the final required courses for the ESL certificate before the practicum. The two courses, Second Language Acquisition & Assessment and Teaching Reading & Writing in English to the Bilingual Student included a combination of face-to-face and online meetings.

Spring 2015


Lawrence Public Schools and UMass faculty presented at the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 2015 International Convention in Toronto, Canada, on March 25-28, 2015. The presentations were well attended by participants from the U.S. and Canada. Three topics were presented:

  • Leadership that Improves Educational Outcomes for ELs: A Systemic Approach
  • Integrating Academic Scaffolds for SIFE in ESL and Content Classrooms
  • Improving Performance of Paraprofessionals of ELs: What Really Matters?


ParaTELL offered in Spring 2015. Teachers and paraprofessionals completed this PD together.

For detailed project updates, please visit PETALLs newsletter page for more information.


ESL Certificate Completers Spring 2014

Six LPS teachers and six pre-service teachers have completed the University of Massachusetts Lowell 12-credit ESL certificate program. These teachers completed their practicums and will receive graduate certificates from the Graduate School of Education.

ParaTELL 2.0 Completers Spring 2014

Sixty-two LPS paraprofessionals completed the ParaTELL 2.0 professional development workshop series this spring. All completers received a certificate, stipend and 15 professional development points (PDPs).

New LPS Cohort For ESL Certificate Starts Fall 2014

  • 12-Credit Graduate Certificate from UMass Lowell
  • On-site courses at the Lawrence High School Campus
  • Two teachers from the Lawrence Family Development Charter School and 3 teachers from the Woburn Public Schools have joined this cohort.

For more information, please check the LPS In-service teachers webpage.

ParaTELL 2.0 Fall 2014

A cohort of paraprofessionals from the Community Day Arlington Elementary School are enrolled in ParaTELL 2.0 this fall.

For more information on ParaTELL 2.0, please check: LPS Paraprofessionals webpage.