Teachers pursuing degrees at Mason

Alexandra Ware poses with the book she is reading for her degree in Social Foundations. She will complete her degree in July. (Photo by Eric Clinton)

Alexandra Ware poses with the book she is reading for her degree in Social Foundations. She will complete her degree in July. (Photo by Eric Clinton)

Eric Clinton

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Alexandra Ware poses with the book she is reading for her degree in Social Foundations. She will complete her degree in July. (Photo by Eric Clinton)

Alexandra Ware poses with the book she is reading for her degree in Social Foundations. She will complete her degree in July. (Photo by Eric Clinton)

Sometimes, FCCPS teachers become the students. Many teachers go back to school to get higher education, and a program from the UVA/VT center helps many of those teachers. From becoming an special education teacher to recertifying their teaching license, many teachers benefit from this program.

FCCPS pays for one class per semester upon acceptance. It is a first come, first serve program with limited slots. Teachers are required to turn their waivers for the program by driving to the Central Office the same day to have a chance to get in.

The program has plenty of successes. Ms. Alexandra Ware, who teaches Individualized classes and Job/Life Skills at George Mason, uses the program. Ware has used the program to get more classes in Social Foundations, her masters, which focuses on education policy.

Mr. Andrew Hosier, a case manager at GM, has completed program. He completed classes on administration, which makes him eligible to test for certification in administration.

Ms. Sally Larisch, a Spanish teacher, used the classes to become a Education Specialist in Reading, which she used to help students in the ESOL program.

However, many teachers currently face the frustration of not being able to use this program.

Mr. Ryan Larcamp, a paraprofessional who helps at the Educational Support Room (ESR), is studying to become a licensed special education teacher. After facing rejection from the program, Larcamp has to pay out of his own pocket as a result.

Mr. Sorto, who works as a paraprofessional throughout George Mason, is also forced to pay out of his own pocket for his classes.

There are also some who want to use the program in the future. Ms. Brandy Arrendondo, who was hired past the deadline date for the program, has expressed interest in using the classes.

While the program has churned out many successes, many teachers at GM find themselves burdened with financial constraints. This spring, there is no more money for any more teachers to take classes. However, it is clear that this is an unique and important program.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, [and] most schools do not do it,” said Ware.