May 30, 2024

Dodge City schools to offer ESOL Endorsement incentives

Dodge City, KS( The number of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsed teachers in the district is declining. At the March 28 USD 443 Board of Education meeting, members heard why and what the district plans to do about it.

“Many of our ESOL endorsed teachers have retired or moved,” Director of ESL/Migrant Dr. Robert Vinton said. “We are proposing an ESOL incentive plan to encourage teachers to earn that endorsement.”

According to Vinton, 45 percent of secondary teachers in the district have an ESOL endorsement. At the elementary level, that number is 46 percent. Those numbers directly affect state funding.

“The implication of that filters down to student impact because without that funding, we’re not able to bring to the students the services they need,” he said. “It impacts funding, professional development, salaries, and resources and materials. It causes an inability to support district initiatives and offer support for instructional programs.”

The district is proposing paying the expenses for 25 teachers who take part in a cohort through Fort Hays State University.

“After contacting Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State, and Newman University, Fort Hays was selected,” Vinton said.

According to Dr. Fred Dierksen, Superintendent of Schools, Fort Hays best met the criteria the district desired.

“Of teachers surveyed, 88 percent said incentives would encourage them to pursue an ESOL endorsement,” Vinton said.

The incentives include full tuition and cost of books, mileage, licensure expense, cost of the Praxis, Praxis workshop expense, and then a mid-completion stipend of $500 and a completion stipend of $1000 annually.

The total expense for a 25-teacher cohort would be approximately $20,000 for the first year. However, the revenue generated by those same teachers would be almost $800,000. The district could offer more than one cohort at a time, if enough teachers were interested.

“These numbers look almost too good to be true,” board member Jeff Hiers said.

Vinton said there is a tremendous potential for growth in this area in terms of revenue.

“But the goal is to provide a curriculum to a group of students who need it the most,” Dierksen said.

Board President Lisa Killion asked if the district did anything for teachers who are already endorsed. Vinton said they received the $1000 bonus every year, as well.
The board approved the concept of the ESOL incentive program. The idea must now be negotiated through Dodge City National Education Association.