GSC, Fulton County Schools Sign MOU, Develop School-University Partnership

By Karolina Philmon, GSC Marketing Manager

Gordon State College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Fulton County Schools (FCS) and established a School-University Partnership effective fall of 2023 to increase the number of certified teachers for FCS.

"We are fortunate to establish this partnership with Fulton County Schools to provide opportunities for paraprofessionals and our community’s need for certified teachers,” said GSC President, Dr. Kirk A. Nooks. "The strategic partnerships we are nurturing and building with relationships like this one reinforce the pipeline from our education ecosystem. This partnership will also bring about talent whose experience and education will shape the lives of generations to come.”

The School-University Partnership created a pathway for paraprofessionals to complete a Georgia Professional Standards Commission certified in elementary and special education. The partnership will be based on a cohort model of 30 FCS paraprofessionals who will enter GSC’s Parapro-to-Teacher program. FCS shall determine the eligibility of the student cohort entering the program in the fall of each academic year to be completed over a period of five semesters and conducted virtually.

FCS will pay the current rate of the semester’s tuition and fees for the slate of FCS students participating in the program at the start of each semester in accordance with GSC’s deadlines. GSC will provide an information session for FCS students prior to the fall semester’s start and course counseling to those in need to take prerequisite courses. A faculty advisor will be specially assigned by GSC to the FCS cohort.

“We are delighted to partner with Gordon State College. This program will provide several of our hard-working paraprofessionals the opportunity to obtain a degree and teaching certification without leaving their jobs. In addition, their tuition will be paid by Fulton County Schools,” said FCS Chief Human Resources Officer, Dr. Gonzalo La Cava.

All students in the School-University Partnership program will have access to a Chromebook provided by GSC, should there be a need. GSC will also provide the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) content exam tutoring and preparation prior to graduation of the program. Two professional development sessions per semester will be offered under FCS’s request.