Salem Public Schools Multilingual Learner Department Awarded $22,000 DESE Grant 189

Posted on: January 29, 2024
Salem Public Schools receives DESE Grant 189

DESE Grant to fund placement, professional development, Seal of Biliteracy exams

SALEM (Jan. 29, 2024) – The Multilingual Learner Education Department at Salem Public Schools was awarded the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Grant 189 for proficiency-based outcomes in languages other than English, MLL Director André Fonseca announced recently.

The grant, worth $22,000, is the second major award the MLL department has received this year. In December, it was awarded the Gateway City Grant for High Quality Intensive English Language Learning Programs for the third straight year from DESE, worth $264,114.

“We are incredibly excited and grateful to DESE to receive Grant 189,” said Mr. Fonseca. “This grant will support our World Languages program, which is housed within our Multilingual Learner Department, to ensure effective professional development for our staff and excellent instructional practices for our students.”

The grant will be used to fund three areas of MLL Education at SPS:

  • Optimal placement: The grant will fund language placement exams for every student in grades 7-12, ensuring they will be enrolled in the optimal language course for their linguistic level.
  • Professional development: The grant will provide additional professional development to SPS World Language educators from Dr. Nicole Sherf, a professor of World Languages and Cultures at Salem State University. Dr. Sherf guides SPS educators on incorporating curriculum and practices that best align with the standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
  • Seal of Biliteracy: The grant will provide Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy testing for all Salem High School juniors and seniors. The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation, thus elevating the importance of multilingualism and multiculturalism within the district. Testing for the Seal of Biliteracy Award takes place Mar. 11-13 at SHS.

Additionally, the benefits of the grant align perfectly with the four core priorities of the District’s Strategic Plan: 

  • To elevate learning by offering and encouraging students to study languages other than their native one.
  • To empower educators with additional professional development in world languages through Dr. Sherf.
  • To center belonging by empowering students to be proficient in other languages, all of which strengthens the District’s foundation. 

“In a multicultural district such as Salem, this grant supports the celebration of the varied and strong multilingualism of our students,” Dr. Sherf said.

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.