POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – More than 35 paraprofessionals working in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 are set to receive full-tuition scholarships awarded by the Idaho State University College of Education to earn a college degree and teacher certification through the Paraprofessional to Certified Teacher (PaCT) program.
The PaCT program was created in partnership with the school district and the College of Education as a way to provide a flexible, online pathway for working paraprofessionals to earn their college degree and become certified elementary education or special education teachers.
Paraprofessionals, who assist teachers and support students’ learning in the classroom, bring with them essential school-based knowledge and experience which position them well to become certified teachers. However, like many working students, paraprofessionals often lack the financial support or the flexibility to attend college full-time and in-person to complete a college degree.
To provide a helping hand and empower those wanting to earn a degree and enter the teaching profession, the College of Education set aside more than one million dollars in scholarship funding. This funding will be used to support the education of active SD25 paraprofessionals who participated in the Spring 2022 orientation meetings and are joining the PaCT program in the Fall 2022 semester. Based on the success of this pilot project, the College of Education will explore expanding this opportunity to more paraprofessionals in SD 25 and beyond.
“Earning a college degree opens doors and changes the lives of students and their families for the better,” College of Education Dean Jean McGivney-Burelle said. “We are excited to partner with SD 25 and support our local paraprofessionals who have already demonstrated their commitment to helping students and the community.”