Alternate Route

Make the Leap from Parapro to Teacher

The Alternate Route program at WSU Tri-Cities recognizes the expertise that paraprofessionals bring with them from the classroom and works with them to apply those skills in the university.

As a PESB-approved residency teacher preparation program, the WSU Tri-Cities teacher certification program and district partners has developed a new alternate route to teaching certification for paraeducators currently in the districts (Route 1) with an emphasis on “grow your own teacher” strategies in order to address district staffing needs.

The program provides support for paraeducators to receive credit for prior learning and work experiences, enroll in university courses, and receive an Elementary Education BA degree and K-8 endorsement and either a Special Education or ELL/Bilingual Education add-on endorsement. The first cohort will graduate in spring 2018.

We partner with the Grandview School District, Kennewick School District, Pasco School District, Prosser School District, Richland School District, Sunnyside School District, and Walla Walla School District to develop a program based on district needs.

The application for the 2017 cohort is now available. Due to weather cancellations, the deadline to apply to the program has been moved to February 15, 2017. We encourage students to apply for admission to WSU, complete the FAFSA, and complete the WSU scholarship application by Jan. 31 if possible for best financial aid consideration. Applicants should register to take the WEST-B exam as soon as possible.

Each participant receives specialized advising and support from the grant coordinator. Beyond planning classes, you will learn about navigating campus policies and procedures, learn about mentoring in your school work site, and preparing for exams such as the NES and West-E.

photo of Lindsay Lightner
Lindsay LightnerCoordinator, Alternate Route Teacher CertificationFloyd 207M509-372-7366

Alternate route teacher candidates who are eligible for funding through our new US Department of Education grant, ELL-IMPACT, may receive partial tuition support and reimbursement for some books and academic supplies. This funding is available to students earning English language learners (ELL) or bilingual education endorsements only.

The Washington State Alternate Route Block Grant (ARBG) is not available to new applicants for the 2017-18 school year. However, the alternate route program at WSU Tri-Cities is still recruiting and teacher candidates may take part as they have in the past.

All students are highly encouraged to apply for WSU scholarships and complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA).

As condition of the grant program, candidates are required to teach for two years in a Washington K-12 public school, in a high-need endorsement area, in exchange for each year of funding received from PESB.

Our school district partners work with candidates to find mutually beneficial placements. The Career Development Office offers workshops on how to develop a job search strategy, write a compelling résumé and cover letter, and sharpen interview skills – all of which will help students land a job in today’s competitive market.

See how you can become career-ready with a major in Elementary Education.

You will take courses from a range of faculty members in elementary education and in  your specialization area. All faculty are dedicated to integrating your work-based experiences with your university courses.

Feel free to contact a lead faculty member if you have specific questions about your current coursework.

Judy Morrison
Judy MorrisonCollege of Education, Associate Professor Teaching & LearningFloyd 207U509-372-7176
Eric Johnson
Eric JohnsonAssociate ProfessorFloyd 207W509-372-7304
Sara Sorensen Petersen
Sara PetersenCollege of Education, Clinical Assistant Professor, Special EducationFloyd 207K509-372-7395
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