FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward College has partnered with Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) for the launch of the Para-to-Teacher program.
The program will provide an opportunity for education paraprofessionals already working in high-need or underserved schools to earn a bachelor’s degree through the Broward College Teacher Education Program (TEP).
The collaboration will help alleviate ongoing shortages in critical areas such as Exceptional Student Education (ESE), mathematics and science by increasing the availability of highly qualified teachers.
Participants will be required to complete field experience and student teaching in their current schools with the goal of becoming certified educators.
“Education paraprofessionals are a key population because they already are working in schools and want to be in this high-demand field. However, many face difficulties in completing field requirements because of work commitments or financial difficulties,” said Dr. Jeffrey Nasse, dean of Education at Broward College. “Thanks to the college’s supportive academic environment and our strong relationship with Broward County Public Schools, paraprofessionals with two-year degrees will have the opportunity to become fully-certified teachers.”
The program will begin with a cohort of 20 to 25 students from 32 schools identified as high-need or underserved. The high poverty and high percentage of students who are on free or reduced lunch identify high-need schools.
It also will include evening courses with participants fulfilling field experience at their current schools and will train current teachers as clinical education supervisors. BCPS will cover the cost of tuition and fees for eligible paraprofessionals as part of the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant.
“The Department of Coaching and Induction (for) Broward County Public Schools is excited about this opportunity to partner with Broward College on developing our Para-to-Teacher degree program,” said Angela Brown, director of the Coaching and Induction Department for the BCPS Office of School Performance and Accountability. “This is an excellent opportunity for our educational support specialists to begin their journey of becoming a teacher in Broward County Public Schools.”
The Para-to-Teacher program launched with a pre-admission orientation on Tuesday, July 11 at the Broward College A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie, Fla.
Robert W. Runcie, BCPS superintendent, and Dr. Avis Proctor, North Campus president and vice president of academic affairs, were on hand for the occasion.
The Teacher Education Program at Broward College offers students the opportunity to receive their bachelor’s degree in ESE, middle school or high school mathematics, middle school science or secondary biology.
Students are taught by experienced K12 instructors that implement the most up-to-date and inventive learning strategies.
Classes are available at each of the three main campuses, as well as options for students interested in blended or fully online programs.
Each semester, students in the TEP also acquire in-field experience inside K-12 classrooms in Broward County. In recent years, 100 percent of students who graduate from TEP secure employment within the next major term.