IDEA Grant

WVC Adult Basic Skills receives $95,000 I-DEA Grant

Media Contact: Aaron Parrott, adult basic skills director, 509.682.6795, or Libby Siebens, community relations executive director, 509.682.6436 (Mon. – Thurs.)

Wenatchee Valley College Adult Basic Skills is the recipient of a $95,435, two-year Integrated Digital English Acceleration (I-DEA) grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the I-DEA project, English language learners will learn English quickly and in practical ways that can be applied to job and life skills. WVC will implement the I-DEA project in 2014-15.

"I-DEA represents an exciting new opportunity to offer meaningful, accelerated learning to beginning English language learners in our community," said Aaron Parrott, WVC Adult Basic Skills Director. "The key to I-DEA's success will be our partnerships with trusted community partners."

The grant will serve students who are in the beginning levels of English as a second language; those students will be grouped into a year-long cohort that will receive a variety of community, classroom and technology experience in order to learn practical language and life skills. The goal is to move students from basic ESL to intermediate or advanced ESL levels in one year, using the following strategies:

  • Students will participate in 30 week-long courses that blend English language instruction with practical skills, such as navigating the community, information literacy, professional communication, job exploration and interview skills.
  • Students will also participate in integrated learning and "flipped" classrooms, in which students learn basic words and ideas online, outside of the classroom, and then apply and practice those terms and skills in the classroom. Through integrated learning, I-DEA teaches English in tandem with job and life skills.
  • Students will have daily access to laptop computers provided by funding from the grant. The laptops will be assigned to students for the duration of the program.

Learners will also begin the transition to the I-BEST program, which uses team teaching to combine college readiness classes with job training. I-DEA was designed to connect students to I-BEST and other college programs that lead to certificates, degrees and family-wage jobs. WVC currently offers ten I-BEST programs: seven Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program certificates, early childhood education initial and short certificates, and a certified nursing assistant course.

WVC will partner with SkillSource, which will provide a coach to teach students about technology. The college is also partnering with WorkSource Wenatchee to identify English language learners who would benefit from the I-DEA project.

WVC Adult Basic Skills will receive $54,200 in the first year of the grant and about $41,235 in the second year.

The I-DEA project is in a pilot phase, with nine other community and technical colleges around the state offering the project, and ten more schools, including WVC, prepared to offer the program in 2014-15. According to data from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, outcomes from the first quarter of instruction show student learning gains that are 9 to 10 percent higher than the gains of English language learners in traditional programs, such as the college's current ESL model.

# # #

Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our website,