Indiana launches Licensing Assistance Program for English learner teachers

Indiana Department of Education

INDIANA  – The Indiana Department of Education today announced a partnership with the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) to strengthen Indiana’s English learner-teacher pipeline by helping fund coursework leading to full licensure. 

The new partnership called the Indiana Teachers of English Learners Licensure (I-TELL) initiative, will fund tuition, books, and material fees for current educators and bachelor’s degree holders to complete coursework leading to English as a New Language (ENL) licensure. This will empower current educators licensed in other content areas to serve English learners as a teacher of record – the educator primarily responsible for a student’s learning. It will also provide financial support to people who choose to transition into a new career in teaching and want to be a part of serving Indiana’s more than 77,500 English learner students.

Dr. Katie Jenner

“Our COVID-19 academic impact data shows that Indiana’s English learner students experienced substantial academic impacts and have still not returned to pre-pandemic year-over-year academic growth,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “The best way to ensure our students accelerate their learning is to ensure they have quality, well-trained teachers supporting them. Like STEM and special education teachers, we also see a significant need for English learner teachers. Through the new I-TELL initiative, we will provide opportunities for more educators to be trained and certified to teach and positively impact our English learner students.”

An initial list of educator preparation and transition to teaching programs participating in the I-TELL initiative is available here. Additional colleges and universities interested in participating in the I-TELL initiative are also invited to join.

Carey Dahncke

“The number of students in Indiana who don’t speak English as their first language continues to rapidly grow,” said Carey Dahncke, executive director of CELL. “For these students, the need to have access to highly qualified English language teachers is critically important. I-TELL will offer assistance to the many schools across the state who need more of these English learner-licensed teachers.”   

I-TELL is funded through $2 million from Indiana’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding.

The initiative launches as the number of teachers in Indiana holding ENL licensure has grown by 38% from 2019 to 2021, with over 860 more educators now holding this permit statewide than in 2019. In addition to ENL licensure, many other educators are also qualified to serve English learners across Indiana by meeting previously-available alternative rubric requirements

Eligible individuals can learn more and apply for assistance by visiting