JET Kickoff in Worcester - A Model for Success

The JET kickoff event in Worcester was hosted by the Worcester State University’s (WSU) Education Department. The purpose of this kickoff was three-fold: to confirm the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation grant and admission status of the JET participants; to provide a good understanding of the JET program, including a review of both program and participant commitments; and to strengthen the network among participants and encourage the building of a cohort.

Raynold Lewis, Associate Dean of Education, and Sue Fan Foo, Department Chair, were the first to greet the 17 strong inaugural JET Participants. Cheryl Delsignor from the Worcester Public Schools superintendent's office was there to welcome the participants and to introduce the JET mentorship program to the participants.

We were fortunate to have staff from the financial aid, advising, and course registration offices there to provide vital information to help JET participants navigate the various university services. They encouraged the JET participants to visit their offices, letting them know that they are there to support their student success. Each participant received a Resource Sheet for Worcester JET Paraprofessionals, a directory of key school district and university staff and offices.

One very important highlight of this event was the announcement by Professor Foo that WSU Education department would help support the JET participants MTEL tutoring and test taking costs. Wow!!

Team building activities are a sure-fire way to start the bonding and cohort building relationship among the participants. ‘The warm wind blows’ is an interactive icebreaking activity we used to introduce the participants to each other and for them to learn what they have in common besides the goal of becoming a licensed teacher. We could tell by the laughter and sharing that this was time well spent for helping the JET participants to get to know each other. All this is leading to peer support among the participants as they become their own sources of support.

The Kickoff has this outstanding ability of empowering our new JET participants and actively engaging them in taking ownership of their journey to becoming a licensed teacher. The partnership between university, school district and JET is a model for success.

We are excited to welcome to Worcester paraprofessionals to JET!

Angela Irving