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PARAPROFESSIONALS' UPDATE: Para Pathway Applications Now Open

Para Update

August 15, 2023

Dear PFT Paraprofessionals,

Applications are now re-opened for the Paraprofessional Career Development program, and I am thrilled!

As you know, the PFT--in direct response to YOUR proposals and collaboration--worked to prioritize and WIN a terrific paraprofessional career development program in our contract. It is one of the top programs in the nation and offers NO COST tuition as a result of our negotiations. I urge you to read the profile of this great program right here, featuring PFT Staff Representative LeShawna Coleman and PFT Co-Building Representative Gemayel Keyes. I am SO proud to report that Gemayel is beginning his first full year as a classroom teacher after successfully completing the program last year. He will continue to do amazing work for the students at Spruance Elementary School, now as a special education teacher.

Take advantage of this wonderful program! All the details are below, including important information sessions. Using your PhilaSD email address, express your interest by filling out this form:

I am so grateful to all of you for the work you do each day, and I am looking forward to seeing many of you join this terrific program.

In Solidarity, 

p.s. Because this program is an official SDP-PFT program, you should register for all info sessions and application materials using your PhilaSD email address.


Current Opportunities for Full Tuition Assistance

The School District of Philadelphia is offering eligible employees in appointed paraprofessional roles (according to the PFT Paraprofessional Bargaining Unit) NEW opportunities to join the Paraprofessional Career Development Program, also known as Para Pathway!)


Current Opportunities (August 2023) for FULL Tuition Assistance: 

  1. 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)

  2. 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) 

  3. 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) 

  4. 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.


Please complete this form ( to express interest and confirm your eligibility for this program and note:

  1. Select responses that accurately define your current employment or academic status (E.g., If you do not see your exact job title, please do not select one that looks similar). 

  2. If you are close to having 60 credits, but do not actually have 60 full credits, do not select that you have 60 full credits. 

  3. If you do not have a fully conferred Bachelor's degree, please do not select that you currently have a bachelor's degree (unless you will have one by August 1st, 2023) 


Interested in learning more about these opportunities? 

  1. Look over this informational document

  2. Join TSS Office Hours to talk with Keera Stanton, Project Manager, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2pm via Zoom: 

  3. Join us for an optional info session about the para pathway program and meet with our partners on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 from 4:30-6pm by registering here



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).



Thank you for your service!

The Office of Talent & Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

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