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BRATTLEBORO — The U.S. Department of State has recognized School for International Training with the English Language Fellow Top Producing Institution Award, which celebrates SIT's position as the institution that has prepared the largest number of TESOL professionals to become Fellows.

SIT received the award at the English Language Fellow Program's 50th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 5, in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sophia Howlett, president of SIT, attended the celebration to receive the award.

"We are so proud to receive this award and to have so many MA TESOL alumni who are using what they learned at SIT to improve English language education around the world," Howlett said. "The passion and dedication of our students, alumni, and faculty are what have made SIT a leader in TESOL for more than 50 years."

SIT launched its MA in TESOL program in 1969. Since 2006, the year the State Department says it began keeping track, 57 SIT alumni have received the Fellowships, which send U.S. TESOL educators abroad to assist U.S. embassies in delivering quality English language programs.

SIT ranked first among seven top sending institutions that received State Department awards at the ceremony. Others were the University of Colorado Boulder; University of Oregon; Columbia University; Middlebury Institute of International Studies; University of Washington; and San Francisco State University.

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SIT TESOL program chair Dr. Leslie Turpin said the award "is a testament to the collective commitment of our students and faculty to making the world a better place through their deep love of learning and teaching."

"SIT is honored to have its MA TESOL program recognized by the U.S. Department of State with this prestigious award," Turpin said. "I am proud of the achievements of our alumni and grateful to the many TESOL faculty members over the past 50 years who have devoted their careers to creating a program that supports students to develop a teaching practice grounded in intercultural competence, self-awareness, reflection on and learning from experience."

Among those faculty is Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman, SIT professor emerita and an international leader in the field of TESOL education. "I am pleased, but not at all surprised, that the U.S. State Department has honored SIT for being a top English Language Fellows-producing institution," said Larsen-Freeman. "As I travel, I have encountered many Fellows, and I have witnessed their professionalism and their dedication to the students they serve. These qualities are also evident in SIT alumni, who, in addition to their excellent teaching, adaptability, and intercultural competence, have learned how to learn from experience."

Among 200 English Language Fellows named for 2019-20 is SIT alumna Loren Lee Chiesi, who will spend 10 months at the English Language Proficiency Center in Myanmar to oversee a teacher training program.