Para Pathway

What We Do

We help speed the process for people who want to teach by removing financial and other barriers to getting certified and working.

Program Vision

  • Create new pathways into teaching by removing financial and other barriers to becoming an educator
  • Speed up the process to become an educator while maintaining the rigor and quality
  • Respond to the need for more teachers and a more diverse pipeline that mirrors the student population
  • Invest in our communities by offering opportunities to Paraprofessionals who already work in our schools and support our students
  • Is a true collaboration between PFT and SDP from the inception to supporting participants

Eligibility Criteria & How to Apply

  • School District of Philadelphia employee appointed in a paraprofessional role (PFT Paraprofessional Bargaining Unit)
  • No disciplinary action within the past eighteen (18) months
  • An excellent record of attendance and punctuality during the last three (3) years (defined as no more than 18 occurrences of personal illness, excluding one extended period of illness and/or COVID-19 Directed Quarantine Leave)
  • Meets the eligibility requirements of, is accepted into, and agrees to the terms of one of our partner programs
  • Participants commit to working/teaching in the District for at least two years after the program

Think you’re eligible? Start your application by completing this eligibility screening form

Not a current District Paraprofessional? Apply here!
Special Education Assistant
Bilingual Counseling Assistant

Note: Other roles are available!

Current Offerings

  • Don’t have 60 college credits? Click here to check out Community College of Philadelphia’s free/reduced cost programs (no need to complete the para pathway eligibility form)
  • Complete your Bachelor’s Degree: Eligible employees with at least 60 College Credits can apply to College Unbound’s program to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Change (40 slots available)
  • Become Certified in Elementary PK-4: Eligible employees with a Bachelor’s degree and GPA below 3.0 can apply to LaSalle University’s program to obtain Elementary PK-4 and 5th-6th grade teacher certification (15 slots available)
  • Join the SDP Teacher Residency in SY24-25: Eligible employees with a Bachelor’s degree and GPA above 3.0 can apply to the District’s Teacher Residency Partners to obtain middle and high school teacher certification in Elementary PK-4, English, Math, Science, Spanish and Special Education (20 slots available)
  • Complete Student Teaching with Full Pay and Benefits: Eligible employees who are independently enrolled in a teacher certification program can apply to go on educational leave with compensation and benefits to complete their full-time, stage four student teaching. Employees will continue to receive their normal pay and benefits while they are doing their student teaching.

Additional Supports

  • Tuition assistance
  • Credit for prior experience/college credits
  • Wrap-around services to support returning, working adult learners
  • Peer cohort model
  • Praxis/PECT support for those in teacher certification programs

Read about us in the Press!