McCormack Speaks

Alumnus David Nieto Receives $5M Grants to Enhance Educational Equity


Alumnus David Nieto, PhD and colleague Sandra Butvilofsky, PhD have earned two competitive National Professional Development grants from the U.S. Department of Education, totaling over $5 million. Issued by the Office of English Language Acquisition, the grants will be housed at the University of Colorado Boulder’s BUENO Center Center for Multicultural Education where Nieto is the executive director.

The first grant is a collaborative project between the BUENO Center and the School of Education to develop and implement a Master of Arts and English as a Second Language certification program for 60 teachers and a leadership academy for school and district administrators.

Led by Nieto as the principal investigator and project director, this five-year project will also include a research study on the effectiveness of the What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards and recommendations. The project also seeks to improve student outcomes by enhancing parent and family engagement activities in the Adams 12 Five Star district, an accredited Performance District in north-central Colorado.

With three courses offered in Spanish and most courses held in a dual language/bilingual school in Denver, the second project at the BUENO Center is a teacher training grant to provide 50 dual/bilingual teachers with a Master of Arts degree in educational equity and cultural diversity. Like the first grant, this one also involves an efficacy study and a parent/community engagement component.

For both professional development projects, teachers will enroll in spring 2018 classes.

Nieto, who earned an MA in applied linguistics and a PhD in public policy at UMass Boston, is excited by the potential impacts of these projects. “The grants will promote student achievement, foster educational excellence, and ensure equal access for English learners,” he said.

Dean David W. Cash is proud of Nieto’s accomplishment. “Dr. David Nieto embodies the principles of the McCormack Graduate School–a values-driven commitment to innovation, equity, and research that makes a difference. His passion to solve educational challenges that will benefit underserved communities is admirable.”

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