Pinellas County Schools (Florida)

Paraprofessionals to Classroom Teachers

Pinellas County Schools currently has several paraprofessionals in the classroom working under a teacher as support that hold an associate degree. The district is interested in working with St. Petersburg College to enroll these paraprofessionals in a “Paraprofessional to Professional Bachelor Degrees” program so they can graduate and work as a classroom teacher in the same district where they currently hold a position. We are looking to focus on positions that bridge the gap, such as minorities and Exceptional Student Education.

There is a teacher shortage across the nation and to address this problem within the Pinellas County School district, paraprofessionals who hold an associate degree will enter into a cohort with a local college that allow them to work full time and take classes part-time in effort to graduate with a bachelor's degree within a three year time frame. The idea of "growing your own" allows two significant issues to be resolved: fulfill the teacher shortage and enhance the educational and economic opportunity for paraprofessionals within the county.