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15 St. Croix Educators Receive Master's Degree with ESL Concentration

Nine of the 15 St. Croix educators who received a Master's degree in Education from the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico, attended the university's June 14 graduation in San Juan. From left to right (back row): Jamelia Thurland, Marancienne Marcellin, Dena Graham, Isidro Rodriguez, Brenda Resto, Elisaura Ramirez. (Front row): Chaselle McConnell, Maria Perez-Turner, and Zulma Torres.


Fifteen St. Croix educators recently earned a Master’s of Education degree with a concentration in English as a Second Language (ESL) from the University of Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

The educators comprised the St. Croix English as a Second Language (ESL) Program (SACEP) Cohort through a grant awarded to the Virgin Islands Department of Education that affords teachers the opportunity to attain an advanced degree in education.

Nine of the 15 teachers attended the June 14 ceremony, held at Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico Pedro Rosello in San Juan, where they were lauded by university officials and other graduates.

Chaselle McConnell, a Spanish teacher at St. Croix Educational Complex High School, was one of the graduates.

“We are forever grateful to the Department of Education of the Virgin Islands for granting us the amazing opportunity of attaining a Master’s Degree in Education,” she said. “The graduation was an incredible and unforgettable event.”

For McConnell, the experience was twice as memorable.

“My mom and I both graduated from the program together,” she said. McConnell’s mother, Zulma Torres, is an ESL teacher at Central High School.

Some of the courses educators were required to complete in the intensive three-year program, which began in 2015 and concluded in July 2017, included “Language, Cognition, and ESL/Curriculum Development”; “The Use of Computers in ESL Curriculum and Instruction”; and “The Teaching of Writing: Theory and Practice”, among others. Professors from the University of Turabo and the University of the Virgin Islands instructed the teachers each month at the St. Croix Curriculum Center.

As for how she plans to use her newly attained master’s degree, McConnell said she will continue teaching high school Spanish, but finds the ESL strategies she’s learned to be beneficial in helping her students learn the foreign language.

St. Croix’s SACEP Cohort Class of 2018, includes:

Nydia Ascencio

Dena Graham

Marlen Jimenez

Anika Johnson

Marancienne Marcellin

Chaselle McConnell

Maria Perez-Turner

Elisaura Ramirez

Brenda Resto

Isidro Rodriguez Cotto

Tisha Samuel

Susan Thompson

Zulma Torres

Jamelia Thurland

Cynthia Wallace


Mother and daughter Zulma Torres and Chaselle McConnell received Master's degree in Education with a concentration in English as a Second Language.


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St. Thomas

1834 Kongens Gade, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 340-774-0100

Curriculum Center:
Mon – Fri:  8AM – 5PM


St. Croix

2133 Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, VI 00820
Phone: 340-773-1095

Curriculum Center:
Mon – Fri:  8AM – 5PM