Regis College and the Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) have partnered to develop a bachelor's degree completion program in education for paraprofessionals within the Lawrence school district. The goal is for paraprofessionals to obtain their teaching license and be hired to fill open teacher positions within the district.

Building off of Regis’ successful bachelor's completion program with the Boston Public Schools, Lawrence collaborated with Regis to develop an innovative licensure option in which their paraprofessionals would be licensed in the areas of early childhood, elementary, and secondary English. The licensure program will provide LPS staff with career advancement opportunities while enhancing public education in Lawrence.

“This collaboration highlights the strong alliance between Regis and Lawrence and is a win-win for the school system,” said Regis President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN. “LPS will fill open teacher positions, and current paraprofessionals are able to combine previous credits and work experience with Regis’ licensure program to become licensed teachers.”

Students can take advantage of funding for tuition through a grant written by LPS Assistant Superintendent Maricel Goris, combined with funding from the Massachusetts Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program. The first cohort of 13 LPS students were selected by the superintendent, principals, and administrators, and began courses at Regis in May. Selection criteria was based on work history, commitment to students and families, and ability and willingness to remain in LPS.

“Our paraprofessionals are among our greatest assets as a district, and we are very excited to partner with Regis in supporting the goals of those who wish to become licensed teachers,” said LPS Superintendent Cynthia Paris. “This opportunity is great news for our staff, students and community.”

LPS students are currently enrolled in literacy development with special needs and MTEL prep for communication and literacy courses. In the next session, students will take sheltered English immersion and classroom management.