Home / World News / Training program helps to get teachers into urban classrooms in Aurora and Denver – The Denver Post

Training program helps to get teachers into urban classrooms in Aurora and Denver – The Denver Post

A pipeline created by the University of Northern Colorado to get teachers into urban schools in the Denver-metro area led Andy Washington to the kindergarten class at Elkhart Elementary in Aurora this fall.

There, Washington has found her niche as a paid paraprofessional at a school she attended in fourth and fifth grades. Washington plans to get her teaching certificate and return to Elkhart as a full-time teacher.

“I don’t know, I just love kindergartners,” he said. “They ask the neatest questions about things; they just have such a unique outlook.”

Washington is among 140 would-be teachers enrolled at UNC’s Center for Urban Education, an 18-year-old program based at the Lowry campus in Denver. It is one of more than 40 alternative teacher-preparation programs approved by Colorado officials and the only one in the state that requires students to spend a few hours a day in a classroom.

Center for Urban Education students spend mornings working as paid paraprofessionals in about 130 metro-area schools, their tasks and responsibilities increasing as they gain experience. Afternoons are spent in courses at the Lowry campus. By the third year of their four-year track, the students are developing plans for behavioral class management and creating lesson plans.

This trial-by-fire method means the program’s graduates are well-equipped to handle just about any classroom situation, even in the first years on the job, center director Rosanne Fulton said. Graduating students leave UNC with a solid background leading coursework in physical education, art, music, health, math, literacy, social studies and science. They also have experience teaching English to students who primarily speak another language, Fulton said.

Paraprofessional Stephanie Richards a student from ...

Joe Amon, The Denver Post

Paraprofessional Stephanie Richards, a student from the University of Northern Colorado’s Urban Education Program, helps 4th grade students with reading during the last few minutes of one of her classes at Elkhart Elementary school in Aurora, Nov. 15, 2017.

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