Mary Stone, PLUS Program Coordinator | Office: 414-229-4371 | Email: [email protected]

MILWAUKEE (April 19, 2018) — A nationwide teacher shortage is leading many school districts to think outside the box when it comes to staffing schools and classrooms. A new program in Milwaukee Public Schools is helping current paraprofessionals become certified teachers while they continue to work.

Paraprofessionals exploring this new Professional Licensure with Undergraduate Support (PLUS) program are attending a luncheon on Friday, April 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will be in Room 280 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Boulevard.

PLUS is helping motivated classroom assistants prepare to lead their own classrooms. It’s a collaborative program involving the partners of M3 (pronounced “M-cubed”) – MPS, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Participants must be nominated by their principals based on their work in schools. They take courses at MATC and UWM and remain on the job for all student teaching.

PLUS was developed by Judith Winn, an associate professor in UWM’s School of Education; Adria Maddaleni, operations manager, MPS Office of School Administrators; and Jennifer Mikulay, associate dean, MATC School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“We thought there was an untapped group in MPS of paraprofessionals who don’t have college degrees,” Winn said, “people who have the skills and the desire, but haven’t been able to go back to college and get a degree.”

The initial program is set up for special education teachers. “We’re seeing a group of nontraditional students who are already skilled and very passionate about working in special education,” said Mary Stone, PLUS program coordinator. Organizers hope the program will expand to recruit and prepare teachers for other areas, such as bilingual education.

Friday, April 20, 2018, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union, Room 280, 2200 E. Kenwood Boulevard

* Media will have the opportunity to shadow staff in their current classrooms.

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