Midd State News

In the News: Barriers Removed to Help Teaching Assistants Get Licensed

Posted on: May 15, 2019
Ayesha Winfrey, paraprofessional at Rosa Parks Elementary

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*IN CASE YOU MISSED IT*

Tonisha Johnson from Spectrum News 1 visited Rosa Parks Elementary and sat down with Debbie Houser, MCSD Human Resource Director, Ayesha Winfrey, paraprofessional at Rosa Parks Elementary, and Jason Abbitt, Miami University Professor. The topic of conversation was on Ohio’s Teacher Pipeline Through Partnership program between Miami University and Middletown City Schools.

Our district is providing a pathway for our paraprofessionals (special education teacher classroom assistants) working in the district to gain their Intervention Specialist teaching license. Talk about breaking down barriers and ensuring everyone has an exceptional learning experience, including our own staff.

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Barriers Removed to Help Teaching Assistants Get Licensed
By Tonisha Johnson
May 15, 2019

“Special Education Teaching Assistants in one Ohio school district won't have to wait much longer to get their teaching license…..

“That's because Miami University and the Middletown City School District have teamed up to help them get their license through a new program.

  • $20,000 state education grant covers student chrome books and textbooks

  • Miami University gives students 50 percent off of their tuition

  • Students receive tuition reimbursements from the Middletown City School District

“More than 25 Special Education Teaching Assistants are a part of the Special Education Online Hybrid….Five come from the Middletown City School District...

“Program participant Ayesha Winfrey always wanted to go back to school to get her Master’s degree, but she didn’t know how she would be able to do that…

“‘How am I gonna do that? I have kids at home, how am I gonna pay to do that? And I can’t get paid and student teach….’ said Winfrey…

But in the Fall of 2018, things changed....She got word that all of the things standing in her way, would no longer be a challenge…

“The partnership between Miami University and the [Middletown School] district gives paraprofessionals like Winfrey the chance to earn their initial teaching license, an intervention specialist teaching license, and a Special Education Master's Degree…

“In just one semester, Miami University Professor Jason Abbitt says he's already seeing the impact its making…

“‘It’s a sense of relief that I’m seeing that one some of those barriers have been eliminated. To both the district and Miami have sort of gathered around these students to say we want this to succeed...’

“Middletown City School Human Resource Director Debbie Houser says the partnership gives Middletown natives like Winfrey a chance to stay in district while addressing many challenges teachers couldn't fix on their own…

“‘We had paraprofessionals that wanted to become special education teachers but there were quite a few barriers in their way to actually get that license’…

“The partnership lets staff keep their full-time job, while taking one or two online classes at a time for the first year...And then they can swap places with the teacher they currently work with to do their student teaching…They still get paid their regular salary…

“In addition, they get a 50% discount on their tuition, tuition reimbursement from the school district on the other 50% owed, and loan forgiveness for any loans they take out…

“It's the first time the Middletown City School District has done something like this, but teaching assistants like Ayesha Winfrey are grateful…

“Since she knows the kids and continues to work with them, she says it's easier for her to take what's she's learning in class and apply it real time…

“‘I know the behaviors I’m going to see. I know what the struggles are between the kids and what they need...I can take what I learn and actually do it in the classroom…it’s great when I can come back to school and like I know what we’re talking about here. I know about this IEP’…

“While this is helping people like Winfrey, district officials believe it will help them in the near future to fill address the shortage of special education teachers…The current group of classroom assistants will start their student teaching in the latter part of 2020, knowing that when they finish they'll have their own classroom…

“Miami University is hoping that other districts throughout will connect with the program as well.”

RelatedMiddletown Sending Paraprofessionals to College

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