LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A fast-track program through UNLV is working to fill teacher vacancies in Nevada ahead of the next school year.

It’s called the Paraprofessionals Pathways Project, and its open to school aids, bus drivers, and other teacher support staff.

Since the program started around four years ago, it’s seen 160 graduates. All but six of those graduates have stayed in Nevada, which UNLV’s Communications, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Kelsey Claus says isn’t required after graduation.

“They’re not motivated to stay here because of an obligation, they’re motivated to stay here because this is their home,” Claus says.

This theory rang true for graduate Jeanette Sanjurjo, who currently teaches fourth grade at Laura Dearing Elementary.

“This is the school that I love being at. I built a relationship with a lot of students, why wouldn’t I want to be here at Dearing?” Sanjurjo says.

The Starlight Awards honored commitment to student success.

She was originally subbing fourth and second grade classes at Laura Dearing when she heard about the program.

“It was nice because if you’re working long term, as a long term sub at a school, you don’t have to worry about those classes that are smack in the middle of the day. Like as you’re working how can you do that? It’s so hard,” Sanjurjo says.

She says she did her online classes after work, and met the group over the weekend.

Her hard work paid off, because in one year she earned her Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching License, for no cost.

“I think it’s the kids. They’re just, I want to make a positive impact in their lives, in our community, I was born and raised here, I’m a product of Clark County School district,” Sanjurjo says.

Sanjurjo chose fourth grade, but depending on the program graduates choose, they can teach any subject in pre-K through 8th grade classes, and special education all the way through high school.

Claus says they just opened applications for their next cohort. For more information, click here.


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