Teach Waterloo

Our commitment to a more diverse workforce

Achieving your dreams can take you down different paths. If you're a paraeducator or similar supporting specialist in the Waterloo Community School District (WCSD) working at the K-6 level, Teach Waterloo may be for you.

Teach Waterloo is a University of Northern Iowa and WCSD partnership, supported by the R.J. McElroy Trust, the Waterloo Schools Foundation and John Deere Waterloo Operations. Together, we want to increase the number of minority elementary education teachers to support student success.

Benefit from your current experience, gather the essential skills of teaching in the classroom in coursework taught by UNI and College of Education faculty and apply that knowledge through student teaching. And when you complete your degree and attain licensure -- a new role within WCSD awaits. 

For more information, contact

Robin Dada
Teach Waterloo
613 Schindler Education Center
University of Northern Iowa
(319) 273-7619

Benjamin Smith, Pamela Palmer and Dawn Boone, the first graduates of Teach Waterloo
Benjamin Smith, Pamela Palmer and Dawn Boone, the first graduates of Teach Waterloo

Program Highlights 

  • Teach Waterloo is an opportunity for WCSD support staff members of color (paraprofessionals, behavior intervention specialists, etc.) to earn their BA in elementary education (K-6) through a cohort-based, supportive, convenient, quality program. 
  • Beginning fall 2022,  two pathways build off the required AA or AS degree to lead toward your BA:
    • the online Purple Pathway for Paraeducators, a streamlined program which results in completion of coursework and student teaching in two years, or spring 2023.   
    • the online 2+2 program, which is accepting applications for a new cohort beginning May 2023. 
  • Both programs allow for online education and opportunities for small group interaction online, with some face-to-face options, depending on program. You will combine online courses with the knowledge and skills gained in your classrooms during the week as you work toward your degree. Field experiences and student teaching will occur within the WCSD.
  • You can count on excellent support and advising from WCSD and UNI advising and student success teams.  
  • Curriculum fulfills UNI Teacher Education and Iowa Department of Education’s requirements for recommendation of a teaching license in Iowa.

Read more about Teach Waterloo in this feature story in the COE Premier magazine, and another in the February 2021 UNI Magazine.