Building on the success of a program that trained teachers to be successful “Achievement Coaches,” the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has announced two new opportunities to expand the initiative.

The department has posted two new competitive grant opportunities to expand the program for a second year; the application deadline is Dec. 9.

Last February, 19 districts were selected to participate in the first year of the program. Outstanding educators were selected as “Achievement Coaches,” and received training in a week-long summer program. Since then, the Achievement Coaches have trained more than 3,500 teachers.

Districts participating included Bergenfield Boro; Caldwell-West Caldwell; Clearview Regional; Hopatcong; Jackson Township; Little Egg Harbor Township; Mantua Township; Maurice River Township; Metuchen; Morris County Vocational Technical; Old Bridge Township; Palisades Park; Passaic City; Princeton; Scotch Plains-Fanwood Regional; and South River. East Brunswick, Elizabeth, and Watchung Hills Regional were involved in content development.

Participants said they have already seen the impact on teachers and students. “The Achievement Coach program challenges teachers to rediscover their passion for learning in ways traditional professional development does not,” said Gabe Tangalo, a high school social studies teacher and Achievement Coach from the Bergenfield School District. “The impact on the students of Bergenfield goes beyond quantifiable data; it is seen in the richer, deeper and more enjoyable learning experiences that our teachers now provide.”

N.J. Education Commissioner David C. Hespe said state education officials are “excited to build upon the terrific momentum of this program to date.”

By expanding the program, he said, the hope is to “help us make these training opportunities even more helpful and accessible to other teachers next year.”

In the second year of the program, $1 million will be available. Some $400,000 will go to teams of  educators who participated in the first year, to continue their work and train a new group of teachers and administrators.  In addition, $600,000 will be allocated for new districts to select Achievement Coaches, who will earn stipends to provide training in the summer and fall of 2016. As many as 100 coaches are expected to be hired in the second grant year.

For more information, and to access the grant opportunities, visit the Achievement Coaches website.