News at WilmU

From Paraprofessional to Licensed Teacher

Lara Crowley and Dr. Stacie Zdrojewski
Lara Crowley and Dr. Stacie Zdrojewski

Wilmington University is helping to blaze a new career path for teachers, partnering with the state to provide school paraprofessionals with a specialized program to complete their bachelor’s degrees as licensed educators.

Currently, 7% of positions for teachers in Delaware are vacant. Dr. Stacie Zdrojewski, who chairs Clinical Studies in the College of Education and Liberal Arts, and Lara Crowley, chair of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, enrolled nine students in the Appoquinimink Apprenticeship cohort. The pilot program between Appoquinimink School District and WilmU creates a gateway for paraprofessionals to become certified teachers. 

WilmU has a proven track record in innovation in preparing the teachers of tomorrow, with such programs as the Year-Long Residency, in which students are placed in the classroom with mentor teachers, and The Promise Grant, which provides full scholarships for students of color who plan to become teachers.

The Appoquinimink Apprenticeship goal is for paraprofessionals to complete their undergraduate degrees by the end of the 2024–2025 school year. The Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Department of Labor also are partnering with the initiative.

—Eileen Smith Dallabrida

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