College of Education: Part of Indiana’s $2M funding initiative to support teachers of English Language Learners

Purdue University is one of ten Indiana universities offering a completely online add-on license to prepare teachers – for free – to provide effective language, literacy, and content-area instruction for students classified as English Language Learners (ELLs).

Indiana will spend $2 million on the new initiative to boost the number of teachers licensed to help ELLs as the number of students increases across the state. Purdue’s nationally ranked online ELL program is Indiana’s oldest and largest.

“Bilingual students enrich our school communities,” said Trish Morita-Mullaney, associate professor of Literacy & Language in the College’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “Learning how they are developing their languages is an essential part of transforming yourself as an educator.”

Washington Irving Elementary 3rd grade class with teacher Juan Barboza.
Juan Barboza teaches in both English and Spanish to a small group of bilingual students at Washington Irving Elementary in the Dual Language Bilingual Education program in Hammond, IN. Barboza is participating in Purdue’s Project PILAR (Parental Inclusion in Language and Research), funded by the USDOE, and is currently taking coursework to receive his ENL License as well as a Dual Language Bilingual Education Graduate Certificate.

The state initiative, called the Indiana Teachers of English Learners Licensure (I-TELL) initiative, funds tuition, books and material fees for current educators and bachelor’s degree holders to complete coursework leading to English as a New Language licensure.

I-TELL is an initiative committed to helping more educators across Indiana earn English as a New Language (ENL) licensure and serve as Teachers of Record for English learners across the state, through a partnership between the Indiana Department of Education and other higher education institutions across Indiana.

  • Current educators can receive financial support for tuition, books, and material fees to complete licensure coursework.
  • Bachelor’s degree holders can receive financial support while completing a transition to teaching program focused on ENL licensure.
  • Individuals who have completed an ENL preparation program can receive test preparation assistance if they have not obtained a passing score.

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said there has been a 50 percent increase in English learner students in Indiana since 2016.

“So we have over 77,000 English learner students in the state of Indiana, which means we have a great need for teachers and make sure we’re providing the most quality education for our teachers,” she said.

Jenner said these licenses will give English learner students increased attention and quality of learning.

Besides Purdue, nine other Indiana universities are offering the license completely online. The program is funded through $2 million from Indiana’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding.

More information about the Purdue ENL Licensure program:

Purdue’s application deadline for the Fall 2023 online ENL Licensure program is March 31, 2023. Apply here For application questions or help, contact Anne García, 765-494-2214,

Source: WFYI Indiana to fund $2 million program to support English learner teachers (Nov. 28, 2022)