In the fall of 2018, Middletown Schools applied for and received a state education grant funding the new, joint program allowing special education teacher classroom assistants to gain their intervention specialist teaching license. The first participants, left to right, are: Johnna Arrowood, Amanda Elementary; Ayesha Winfrey, Rosa Parks Elementary; Taylor Parsons, Miller Ridge Elementary; Steve Urso, Middletown High School and Dwight Smith, Middletown High School. CONRBUTED

A new Middletown-Miami partnership is allowing an easier path to teaching licenses

In the fall of 2018, Middletown schools applied for and received a state education grant funding the new, joint program allowing special education teacher classroom assistants to gain their intervention specialist teaching license.

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As part of the agreement, Miami offers reduced tuition, Middletown schools provides student teaching placements and tuition reimbursement and the state grant provides Chromebooks and textbooks.

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Upon completion of the program, Middletown schools will employ the graduates as interventional specialists in the district.

Middletown school officials knew the reason many paraprofessionals did not pursue their teaching license was due to the student-teaching portion of the licensure process.

Traditionally, student teachers do not receive a stipend or income to student teach. In the new program, the school district ensures its employees will student teach in their current position, complete with their income and benefits.

“Student teaching stopped me from obtaining a (intervention specialist teaching) license. Like many others, leaving my current position to student teach was not the best option for my family,” said Johnna Arrowood, a school paraprofessional at Amanda Elementary.

“In this program, I will gain a master’s degree as well as my initial teaching certification so I’m pretty excited about that. You can never go wrong in furthering your education.”

Taylor Parsons, school paraprofessional at Miller Ridge Elementary, echoed her colleague in the Miami program.

“I was going to have to take off work for a whole semester to student teach,” Parsons said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity so I can keep my job, still get paid and complete student teaching all at the same time.”

“I hope to gain a lot of knowledge about special education, what the job entails, more about students with special needs and disabilities and to just gain experience while I’m taking classes.”

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