Salem Public Schools Awarded English Learner Education Support Grant of $264,114

Posted on: December 19, 2023
Salem Public Schools Gateway City Grant

Grant will benefit Bentley Academy Innovation School dual language endeavors

SALEM (Dec. 19, 2023) – Salem Public Schools was awarded the Gateway City Grant for High Quality, Intensive English Language Learning Programs from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), André Fonseca, Director of Multilingual Learner Education, announced Monday.

The announcement marked the third straight year SPS was been awarded the grant – worth $264,114 – which will be used to fund the ever-expanding dual language program at the Bentley Academy Innovation School, which includes:

  • Purchasing classroom supplies for its current and upcoming dual language classrooms
  • Enable staff to review and purchase high quality curricular and instructional materials
  • Provide professional learning to staff on dual language education

“We are incredibly excited and grateful to DESE to receive the Gateway Grant for the third year in a row at the Salem Public Schools,” said Mr. Fonseca. “The grant is incredibly competitive, and every year that I apply, I know that being awarded funding is never guaranteed. So to receive these funds for a third year in a row is truly a testament to the great reputation that the Bentley Academy Innovation School students, staff, and Principal Liz Rogers have developed.”

Salem Public Schools was one of 20 school districts statewide to apply for the grant, which was awarded to seven districts. The purpose of the grant has four goals: 

  • Develop and/or implement an alternative bilingual English Language Education (ELE) program for English learners.
  • Create, cultivate and continue a ‘grow your own’ bilingual education hub that would support and encourage statewide initiative and collaboration, improve the bilingual education educator pipeline, share knowledge to accelerate the adoption of proven and recognized programmatic models for English learners, and develop successful models that can be replicated for years to come
  • Develop high quality ESL and/or dual language curriculum or enrich the existing ESL and/or dual language curriculum, or align purchased curricular materials to WIDA Standards, MA Frameworks that prioritizes deeper learning and the linguistic and academic needs of multilingual learners.

The Bentley Academy Innovation School launched its dual language program in 2019 which has been met with great acclaim. In September, kindergarten educator Janet Garcia was one of 26 teachers statewide to earn the Exceptional Latino Educators award by Latinos for Education (along with Collins Middle School Spanish educator Odilia Smith).

Mr. Fonseca and staff were made aware of the awarded grant via a letter from Governor Maura T. Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, lauding Bentley Academy’s “commitment ot creating, expanding and improving language learning programs.”

About Salem Public Schools

Salem Public Schools is an urban public school district in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is a small, diverse city with a proud maritime and immigrant history. Our leaders and our teachers are all passionate about education and understand the urgency of improving student achievement with equity and social-emotional needs as the lens we view all of our work through. We respect and value the racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity of our students and their families, and have a strong commitment to the Salem community. Salem Public Schools staff serve all of our students, regardless of ability or language. Salem Public Schools enrolls approximately 4,000 students across its eleven schools.