English Language Learning Toolkit: Early Vocabulary Intervention Study for Latino Non-English Speaking Students

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2012-02164
Agency Tracking Number: 2012-02164
Amount: $448,041.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.6
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003621
Small Business Information
716 E SIMPSON AVE, Jackson, WY, 83001-9421
DUNS: 831290320
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Margaret Japel
 (307) 413-5473
Business Contact
 Aaron Japel
Title: Director
Phone: (307) 413-3991
Email: aj@babbletree.com
Research Institution
Over the past decade, rural school systems have seen a rapid expansion in the number of Hispanic/Latino students who enter school with limited and non-English speaking abilities, and rural schools are being challenged to accommodate this rapid population growth and the education of students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). There are over 5 million LEP students in the U.S., with more than 300,000 Head Start language learners who enter grade school without the language skills needed for high academic performance. English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Language Learners (ELLs) represent the nation's fastest growing and most educationally challenged group of students in American schools. From the 1997-98 school year to the 2008-09 school year, the number of English Language Learners enrolled in public schools increased by 51%, from 3.5 million to 5.3 million (NCELA, 2012). The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that within the next 40 years, the Hispanic school-age population will exceed the non-Hispanic white school-age public school population (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). This group of English learners consistently enters school ill-prepared and lag behind their Anglo peers, and the achievement gap remains over the course of their schooling. Babble Tree's innovative language development program for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students is intended to transform the way that rural community instructors design and employ English language instructional approaches for ELL students. Phase I results demonstrated significant student achievement gains via Babble Tree's approach over the use of conventional methods. This Early Language Learning Intervention for Non-English Speaking Latino Children is a research- and game-based, continuous assessment, and student participatory approach that enables limited and non-English speaking language learners to acquire English efficiently, naturally and easily. For rural teachers, who may not have ESL certification or extensive experience in working with Spanish speaking parents, Babble Tree's program is designed to include a comprehensive set of tools that will support "beginning to advanced" ESL teachers with specific and detailed instructions on how to implement the student-centered, movement-oriented learning and tactile play. The commercial program components will initially include one year of a Pre-K/K (Stage I/II) curriculum and lessons, an instructor's manual, web-based professional development program, and bilingual parent and home support tools. Babble Tree's early learning program will equip teachers, students and parents with the training, knowledge, and materials they need to more adequately address the nation's fastest growing population of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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