National Professional Development Grant with Webster University

Webster University’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program received a National Professional Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In this grant application we have partnered with Parkway Schools, Ritenour Schools, and St. Louis Public Schools. The project title is Increasing Teacher Capacity through Communities of Practice to Serve English Learners. This grant is designed to increase the overall capacity of schools to serve English learners by increasing the number of ELL-certified teachers; strengthening parent, family, and community engagement; and providing teachers with more effective tools and strategies to support English learners.

Current and Future Recruitment
Currently we are recruiting teachers for Cohorts 1 and 2 to begin the week of October 30, 2017 (with a focus on high school teachers) and for Cohorts 3 through 8 begining the next three fall semesters. Please fill out an application if you are interested in participating this year or in a future year. Please note that selection of cohort members will be determined by numerous factors and will not always be based on who applies first.

What are the Project Activities
This grant will cover the tuition for 120 teachers to complete the seven courses required by DESE to receive Missouri ELL Certification and one more graduate-level course that may be used toward an MA in TESL. Teachers accepted into this grant must make a two-year commitment to participate in all grant activities. This will include the following:
  • Attend and successfully complete a series of seven TESL courses (to be offered one night a week at Webster University on either Tuesday or Thursday evenings from 5:00-9:00 PM)
  • Attend and participate in four scheduled Saturday seminars each year (for a total of eight over the two-year period), for which graduate credit will be granted (seminars will be approximately six hours, not including time for lunch break)
  • Participate in required grant and research activities (including group work, classroom observations, blog postings, surveys, etc.)
  • Complete assignments on time to satisfy the requirements of graduate-level course work that meet both Webster University and DESE standards

To be eligible for this grant, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Already have initial K-12 certification for the state of Missouri
  • Be teaching in a classroom where you will have access to English Learners in Parkway, Ritenour, or St. Louis Public Schools
  • Be willing to complete all required grant activities (even if DESE may accept one or more of your previous courses toward Missouri ELL Certification)
  • Have the desire to help English Learners succeed linguistically, socially, and academically in St. Louis area schools

What the Grant will Pay for
For selected participants, this grant will pay for the following:
  • All tuition for seven TESL courses required for Missouri ELL Certification
  • The $50 application fee
  • Most books required for classes (which may be borrowed for the period of the class and then returned after each class)
  • Tuition for pre-requisite courses required by DESE when funding is available

All seven TESL courses and an eighth course for the Saturday seminars may be applied to an MA in TESL at Webster University. Participants with a master's degree in the field of education may qualify for a "sequential master's" upon successful completion of all grant activities. Other participants may complete three more graduate level elective courses to complete an MA in TESL. It may also be possible to transfer graduate courses in education that have not been used for another degree. See the program's website at for more information.
What the Grant will Not Pay for
Selected participants will be responsible for the following:
  • Providing their own transportation to and from grant classes, Saturday seminars, and classroom observations
  • Lunch during the Saturday seminars
  • Paying a graduation fee if you choose to complete the MA in TESL (currently $75)
  • Any additional courses you may wish to take (as electives) to complete an MA in TESL or another program with Webster University

Applying to the Grant
We are currently recruiting for the first two cohorts but we ask you to fill out an application even if you cannot participate this year or are not elligible this year but want to be considered for future years. If you are selected for one of the first two cohorts, classes will begin the week of October 30, 2017 (with a possible orientation the week before) and grant activities for these two cohorts will end May of 2019.
To apply for this grant please go to

Frequently Asked Questions
I work at a district other than Parkway, Ritenour, or St. Louis Public Schools. Can I apply for this grant? This grant is a special partnership with these three districts. Only teachers from these three districts will be considered. You may, however, participate in our Saturday Seminars (check back to this website for more information).

I teacher for a non-public school (charter, parochial, private, etc.) and I know that many grants provide opportunities for non-public teachers to participate. This is not an entitlement grant and this grant requires a rigorous research component, which requires that participating be limited to our three partner districts.

I cannot make a two-year commitment. Can I just take a few classes with this grant? Participation in this grant requires a full two-year commitment. Again, this federal grant has a strong required research component, so only teachers that can make a full two-year commitment will be considered.

I do not work for one of these districts but I would like to pursue my ELL Certification and/or MA in TESL. How can I do this? Please see our website at for information on applying to the program.

For additional information you may contact