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San José Unified Launches Innovative RISE Program Addresses Shortage of Special Education Teachers

January 16, 2019

San Jose, CA, January 10, 2019 - Beginning in 2019, the San José Unified School District (SJUSD) will partner with the Department of Special Education at San José State University in a first-of-its-kind special education teacher credential program in an effort to address the current shortage of special education teachers felt nationwide. Called “Rise into Special Education (RISE),” the program creates a pathway for current San José Unified general education teachers and instructional associates to earn a special education teaching credential at no cost to the participant.

“We are committed to the success of all of our students as well as our staff.  RISE is an innovative way to support our workforce in meeting their professional goals while simultaneously providing outstanding teachers for our students,” stated Nancy Albarrán, Superintendent for the San José Unified School District.  “The RISE program offers employees who want to advance in their teaching career an opportunity to earn a special education teaching credential free of charge and with significant support.  This allows San José Unified to further strengthen its exceptional workforce, focusing on positions that are often more difficult to fill,” Superintendent Albarrán continued. 

RISE is available to San José Unified Instructional Associates who have a Bachelor’s degree but have not yet earned a credential, as well as fully credentialed general education teachers. Employees who are selected to the program receive free tuition, reimbursement of application and testing fees, free use of a Mac laptop, test preparation support, and ongoing mentorship throughout the program.  The credentialing program takes one to two years to complete, depending on the candidate’s prior coursework, with employees continuing to work full time while attending evening classes. Applications are due February 1, 2019 and the first cohort will begin at San José State University in the summer of 2019.

The program is receiving funding through the Local Solutions to the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Grant awarded last December to San José Unified.  More details on the RISE program can be found at: go.sjusd.org/Credential and the SJSU Department of Special Education’s website at www.sjsu.edu/specialed. More information on job opportunities with San José Unified can be found here:  go.sjusd.org/jobs 

About San José Unified
Serving close to 30,000 students from transitional kindergarten through high school in 41 schools from Downtown San José to the Almaden Valley, San José Unified (SJUSD) is Silicon Valley’s largest and most diverse school system. Currently, San José Unified serves over 3,500 special education students from preschool through postsecondary in a variety of special education programs. SJUSD employs approximately 160 special education teachers and an additional 250 special education Instructional Associates (IAs). 

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