[CUA Office of Public Affairs]                                                                        

Sept. 11, 2001


CUA Partnership Awarded Grant for Training Special Education Assistants


Teaching assistants in Washington, D.C., special education classrooms will have an opportunity to get more formal training with help from a grant recently awarded to Catholic University and its partners in special education.

The $800,000 grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, will fund a new training and certificate program for special education teaching assistants working in District of Columbia Public Schools. Called “ParaMet: the Paraeducator Certificate Program at Metropolitan College,” the program is a cooperative effort undertaken by CUA’s Department of Education and Metropolitan College, along with the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute and the District of Columbia Public Schools. The grant extends over four years.

The program is designed to improve the preparation of educators serving children with disabilities, said Associate Professor Shavaun Wall, chair of CUA’s Department of Education and co-director of the program along with the Kennedy Institute’s Abby Crowley.  “This program will both enable people who might have had barriers to taking college courses and improve education for children with disabilities, ” Professor Wall said.

ParaMet will recruit “paraeducators,” more commonly known as special education teaching assistants, who serve students with disabilities in the D.C. public school system. They will be offered a nine-credit undergraduate certificate through CUA’s Metropolitan College, which ideally will prepare them to seek bachelor’s degrees. Grant money will pay for students’ tuition and a stipend. Classes will be scheduled on weekends and in summertime, allowing students to keep their jobs.

The first students in the program, who will be recruited from D.C. public schools, will begin classes in Spring 2002.  For more information, contact Chris Harrison at 202-319-6976.





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Revised: March 27, 2001

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