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College awarded grants to address local issues

The college recently received two grants, totaling more than $500,000, from the Millbrook-based Dyson Foundation.

One grant will be used to fund scholarships for local students in the Secondary Education Department. The other will be used to create a new English as a Second Language (ESL) program within the college's Language Immersion Institute (LII).

The $254,000 awarded to the Secondary Education Department is designed to help alleviate the teacher shortage in math and science within high-needs districts throughout the Mid-Hudson region.

Secondary education students who transfer to New Paltz from community colleges in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties are eligible for the scholarships. Over the course of the next three years, the Dyson Foundation will award grants of up to $6,000 to each of six students per year for two years. In addition to scholarships, recipients will receive $2,000 for living expenses during the semester they spend student teaching.

"We are delighted to have this support," said Robert Michael, dean of the Schoolof Education. "We look forward to working with the students receiving the extra support from the Dyson Foundation."

The first scholarships awarded under the new grant are available to students enrolling at New Paltz in fall 2007.

The Dyson Foundation has also awarded the Language Immersion Institute a threeyear grant, totaling $225,000.

The funds will be used to implement an innovative new English Immersion program. Speaking Proficiency in English for Adults and Kids (SPEAK): An English Immersion Program for the Whole Family will offer intensive English instruction to children and adults for whom existing ESL programs are not readily accessible.

Focusing on verbal communication in English, SPEAK will use a life skills approach to developing language proficiency. The institute will collaborate with the Mid-Hudson Migrant Education Outreach Program to identify and place program participants.

"The Dyson grant will finally allow us to address the need for an English immersion program in the Mid Hudson Valley," said Aileen Hanel, program coordinator for the Language Immersion Institute. "The new program will make ESL instruction available to migrant and immigrant families for whom traditional programs are not feasible because of busy work schedules, class costs or transportation and childcare needs."

The recent grant awards are the latest in a series of collaborative efforts between the college and the Dyson Foundation, which was established in 1957 by Charles H. and Margaret M. Dyson.

A grant supporting a national conference on First Amendment issues was awarded in 2000. In 2002, the foundation funded scholarships over a five-year period for Dutchess Community College graduates attending New Paltz.

For more information, call x2975.