Dr. Cournoyer Collaborates with Deval Patrick and Malden Public Schools to Create Reach for the Stars Academy

Reach for the Stars AcademyDr. Amy Cournoyer, a lecturer of language education in the School of Education (SED), collaborated with the superintendent and assistant superintendent of Malden Public Schools to plan and implement the Summer 2014 Boston University/Malden Reach for the Stars Academy, funded by the Gateways for English Language Learners’ (ELLs) Enrichment Academy Initiative for the second straight year. After recognizing the critical importance of closing the disproportionate achievement gap for this population, SED, led by Dr. Cournoyer and the Malden School District partnered in the design and implementation of a five-week program for the academy.

The overarching mission of the academy is to equip ELLs in Malden with the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will help navigate them to success. The academy was created in conjunction with Governor Deval Patrick’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda: ELL Enrichment Academy Grant, which aims to close the persistent achievement and attainment gaps that disproportionately affect students in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities by supporting summer programs tailored to meet the specific language and needs of secondary ELLs. Designed to help accelerate student’s English language and literacy skills, the academy will also work to expand content skills in core subjects, improve overall confidence, motivation and engagement in school while promoting critical thinking and increasing college and career readiness.

Enabled by the state-funded initiative, SED and the Malden Public School District were able to forge new pathways in educational partnerships and implement a transformational educational experience for ELLs in a multilingual, multicultural, urban school district. School reports from the district indicate that the number of ELLs has increased in recent years, as over 44 percent of students report speaking a language other than English at home.

Highlights from the academy included a visit by Governor Patrick on July 15, in addition to several guest speakers such as Mayor Diossa, Rhode Island’s youngest and first Latino mayor, Cameroonian-born NFL player Moise Fokou, and hip-hop icon Pras Michel of the Fugees.

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