Mary Stone, PLUS program coordinator with Guadalupe Rodriguez, PLUS student.
Students, faculty and administrators involved in the PLUS program gathered at UWM for a reception Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the Denemark Lounge.
PLUS, which stands for Professional Licensure with Undergraduate Support, is a collaborative program involving the M3 (M-cubed) partners – MPS, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College. The goal of the program is to help motivated classroom helpers prepare to become licensed teachers, leading their own classrooms.
Once nominated and accepted, the PLUS students are able to complete their pre-professional courses at MATC, moving to UWM for the professional coursework and to earn special education teacher certification. They will be able to continue working as paraprofessionals, doing their student teaching on-the-job, by gradually assuming more planning and teaching responsibilities.
The paraprofessionals will be mentored by the program and by a strong, lead teacher in their school.
A new group has just started in the program, and members of the previous cohort will be entering the School of Education this spring.
Aspiring teachers receive some financial support for tuition through a U.S. Department of Education grant to help provide a pipeline of prepared teachers experienced in culturally relevant practices.
The initial program is set up for special education teachers, but the hope is that it will eventually be expanded to recruit and prepare teachers for other areas like bilingual education. According to Mary Stone, program coordinator, “The special education paraprofessionals are so excited about this. What we’re seeing is a group of nontraditional students who are already skilled and very passionate about working in special education.”
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