Dordt College News

Dordt earns five-year re-approval of teacher aide program

August 31, 2012

In August, the paraprofessional–or teacher aide–program at Dordt was re-approved for certification by the Iowa Department of Education, maintaining Dordt’s status as the only teacher education program in Iowa to offer certification for paraeducators.

Although Iowa does not require a two-year degree for paraeducator certification, it is required for national paraeducator certification, under the highly qualified teacher legislation. And Iowa seems to be moving in that direction, says Dennis Vander Plaats, professor and director of teacher education. “We know that the bar for teachers and paraeducators will continue to be raised, and approval of our paraeducator program positions us to meet upcoming changes and challenges in Pre-K through 12 schools.”

The letter of approval from the Iowa Department of Education noted that “Dordt College has in place a very structured practicum experience that all paraeducator candidates complete. They have created an observation tool based on program competencies that will provide very useful data to inform future decision making.” 

This fall, the college will expand its program options for paraeducators to include these five: Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Paraeducator Generalist Certificate, Early Childhood, Special Needs, Career and Transitional Programs, and English as a Second Language. To learn more about the education options at Dordt College, visit

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