Dec. 10, 2004
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Catholic
University $1.25 million to fund a program that will better prepare teaching
assistants in Washington, D.C., special education classrooms.
The five-year grant will fund the ParaEd Program, a partnership between CUA’s Department of Education, CUA’s Metropolitan College, District of Columbia Public Schools and the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, a provider of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The partnership will create a Metropolitan College
certificate program for special education teaching assistants — called
paraeducators — who seek continuing education to comply with higher standards
set by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Under those new government standards,
paraeducators must have an Associate of Arts degree or at least two years of
education from an institution of higher education.
“This is a wonderful gift that will provide significant support to special educators — at least 65 percent of the funding will be used for scholarships,” says Shavaun Wall, chair of CUA’s education department. She will co-direct the program with the Kennedy Institute’s Abby (Winkler) Crowley, a CUA alumna.
“Paraeducators are often the professionals who work most closely with children with the most serious educational needs,” Crowley added. “Kennedy Institute is happy to once again lend our expertise to this unique training effort.”
Enrollees will come primarily from District of Columbia schools, although Wall expects some private-school paraeducators to apply for the program as well. All participants will be offered classes at evening or weekend times that will allow the teaching assistants to maintain their normal work schedules. An estimated 40 students will be served by the program at CUA.
The paraeducators in this program will be those who work with children who have less common disabilities such as hearing or vision impairment or autism.
The program is a follow-up to “ParaMet: the Paraeducator Certificate Program at Metropolitan College,” an $800,000, four-year initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2001. The ParaMet program, also undertaken with the Kennedy Institute and D.C. public schools, was a similar CUA certification program, offering nine units of college credit to paraeducators.
MEDIA: For more information or to arrange for interviews with the ParaEd program
coordinators, contact Chris Harrison at 202-319-5600.
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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.