NYCDOE Early Childhood & Childhood Paraprofessionals Invited to Take Coursework (free tuition/6 credits) as “Bridge” Program to Special Education Graduate Degree and Teaching! APPLY NOW!

The City University of New York Para “Bridge” Program in Special Education


Lehman College offers a year-long, 2-course, NYCDOE-sponsored Para “Bridge” Program to support Childhood and Early Childhood school paraprofessionals currently employed by the NYC DOE beginning in the Fall of 2019.

As a participant, you will:

  • – Study children’s needs and development from culturally and linguistically perspective with a focus on disabilities.
  • – Learn, apply, and reflect on instructional and assessment strategies for supporting students with special needs.
  • – Be able to transfer the 6 credits to complete a graduate program leading to certification in either Childhood or Early Childhood Education Special Education stand alone or with a bilingual extension. Candidates may have an opportunity to enter a rigorous graduate program if they successfully complete the 6-credit sequence and meet other admission requirements.

Benefits of the Para Bridge Program:

  • – Free tuition and fees for 6-credit sequence*
  • – Personalized Advisement- Each candidate will receive regular, personalized advisement from a Graduate Program advisor/mentor to ensure s/he meets program requirements and support for Lehman College School of Education Graduate School application process.
  • – Preparation to Teach Special Populations of Learners- The program is designed to support teachers who teach children with special needs.

 *Note: Tuition and fees will be paid by CUNY, however, textbooks for courses are not covered.

Program will include:

  • – Fall 2019 
    • EDS 702 The Young Child with Special Needs Additional – Early Childhood
    • EDS 707 – The Childhood Student with Disabilities – Childhood
  • – Spring 2020 – TBD
  • – Workshops TBD

Documents needed to apply as a non matriculated graduate student:

  • – Bachelor’s Degree
  • – GPA 2.75 or higher
  • – Unofficial transcripts [from all institutions of higher ed you have attended in the USA and outside the USA].
  1. The fastest way:  order an e-transcript and have it sent to:
  2. The next fastest way:  order sealed, official paper transcripts and have them sent to YOU.  Bring them in to Shuster 158 ASAP — and UNOPENED (or they’ll no longer be official).
  3. Transcripts earned abroad MUST be BOTH translated AND evaluated by ONE of the companies approved by Admissions BEFORE the candidate can apply.
  4. Candidates who earned a B.A. from another country must also submit TOEFL scores.

  • – Proof of US CITIZENSHIP or legal immigration status AND NYS RESIDENCE for at least 12 months prior to the first day of class (e.g., a lease or deed dating back to August of last year if you plan to register for the fall.)
  • – Proof of NAME CHANGE if your name changed since any of the transcripts was issued.
  • – If you were born after 1957, evidence of having had the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Meningitis vaccines (you can waive the latter only).   See requirements and medical forms here:

  • – If you attended high school in another country, you need to take the TOEFL Exam.

Your application fee is waived per the agreement between the DOE and CUNY.

First step:

Contact Professor Anne Marie Marshall at (Childhood Education) or Professor Cecilia Espinosa at (Early Childhood Education).

Let us know via email of your interest in becoming a childhood or an early childhood non-matriculated graduate student in the ParaBridge Program (special education) and include the following information:

  • – First and last name
  • – Your undergraduate major and GPA (reminder, it must be at least 2.75)
  • – Current place of work and grade level
  • – Which program are you interested in apply to?
    • Childhood Special Education
    • Early Childhood Special Education

Second step: 

If you qualify you will receive an email from Dr. Marshall and Dr. Espinosa letting you know you have been accepted.

Third step:

You will receive an email asking you to bring Lehman College/CUNY SHUSTER Hall – Room 158 the application documents. Your contact person in the Office of Graduate Admissions is Ms. Lourdes Sanchez. You can contact her at Lourdes Sanchez ( 

Fourth step:  To Apply

  • – To create an account for ApplyYourself by clicking the link in the following:
  • – Once you are registered with ApplyYourself, then click “Begin Application Here” and choose:
    • – Application Type: Non Degree
    • – Applying For: Para Bridge Program
    • – For Term: Fall
    • – For Year: 2019
  • – Submit all the documents stated above.
  • – You are not required to pay the application fee. The system will prompt you to pay but simply ignore the prompt.

Please note: Applicants that have applied for a previous semester (degree-seeking, non-degree, or readmit) and wish to submit a new application, must create a new USERNAME and PASSWORD and use a new e-mail address in order to apply.

Application deadline: August 16, 2019