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New Initiative Provides Local Paraprofessionals and School Staff with Needed Support and Funding to Earn Teaching Certification
NEWARK, NJ – Gateway U, a nonprofit committed to reimagining the college experience by providing support mechanisms to ensure more Newarkers are supplied with a high-quality higher education, announced today the launch of the Teacher Pathway Program, providing more local degree-seeking school staff with the opportunity to become eligible for full-time teaching positions. Specifically, the program will address critical barriers to becoming a licensed teacher by providing access to an accelerated and affordable bachelor’s degree, along with ongoing mentorship to ensure certification. Local paraprofessionals and degree-seeking school staff interested in participating may email email@example.com to apply for the program. The first available cohort for the initiative will begin in October.
Thanks to efforts by Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz and Senator Renee Burgess, needed funding for the Teacher Pathway Program was provided in the FY24 State Budget. Additional funding for the initiative was provided by the New Jersey Children’s Foundation, Community Foundation of New Jersey, and Panasonic Foundation. These funds will support one-on-one coaching, provide exam preparation resources, and cover certification fees for participants in need.
“Gateway U’s new Teacher Pathway Program will ensure that Newark will be able to recruit and hire teachers locally, providing teaching jobs to current local school staff, and creating more classrooms with educators who are deeply connected and committed to the city,” stated Gateway U Executive Director Saymah Nah. “As a Newark native who has been part of this community for a long time, our commitment at Gateway U is to lift our city – by investing in the people who know it best and love it most. This important initiative is part of a series of transformative plans Gateway U will be developing within Newark. We are so thankful to champions like Senators Teresa Ruiz and Renee Burgess and our foundation partners, who have been instrumental in helping us develop and fund common sense ideas that will have a long-lasting impact for future generations.”
“For good reason, it is tough to become a teacher in New Jersey, but that process and the cost should never exclude good, passionate, and local candidates from fulfilling their dream to serve our children and families, ” stated DeAndre Gray, a teacher at Newark’s Achieve Community Charter School. “Having gone through the training and certification firsthand, I know the challenges and saw great candidates here in Newark fall through the cracks. These are challenging times, especially in the area of public education. We not only need teachers in New Jersey, but we need great teachers who understand and are committed to Newark. I am grateful to Gateway U’s commitment to Newark and specifically helping local paraprofessionals and degree-seeking school staff who want to continue serving Newark as certified teachers. This is a great collaborative effort that will make an immediate impact on our schools.”
As schools in Newark begin to open their doors this month for a new school year, Newark joins a list of communities throughout the state and across the country facing a significant teacher shortage. Currently, Newark schools are struggling to recruit and retain a workforce of diverse, highly-effective teachers who reflect the diversity of the students they teach. Meanwhile, aspiring educators face structural barriers that keep them out of certified teaching roles despite spending years in the classroom. Gateway U will work with local schools and organizations to address gaps in the teacher preparation pipeline and build a more equitable educator workforce. Through the program, Gateway U will provide asynchronous college courses and academic support to school staff who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. Students will be supported in achieving their degrees and completing teaching certification requirements, including the Praxis exam. Gateway U will offer ongoing, one-on-one counseling throughout the process, including at its in-person student center in downtown Newark.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, Gateway U also released a new video that will be disseminated through the city through social media, which provides a better understanding of the recently created organization and its mission.
ABOUT GATEWAY U
Gateway U partners with Southern New Hampshire University, a private, accredited non-profit college with the largest online college program in the country. SNHU’s flexibility allows students to earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at their own pace so they can continue to work full-time or care for their loved ones. In addition, SNHU’s career-focused, project-based curriculum is designed to help students earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two to three years. Gateway U supports enrolled students through their SNHU degree journey by providing personalized academic and career coaching and other support services.
Gateway U also offers an affordable experience that allows students to earn a degree for no more than $7,000 per year with no hidden costs. Students receive a high-quality, real-world learning experience that prepares them for a meaningful career in the future. Gateway U is currently offering three unique SNHU degree programs in the following areas:
Bachelor of Arts in Management
Associate of Arts in General Studies
Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management
Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management
Bachelor of Arts in Communications
Enrollment is ongoing, and the next term begins in January. To learn more, visit: https://www.gatewayunewark.org/.