Scholarship program launched for diocesan teachers to earn special education certificate at Marymount

Scholarship program launched for diocesan teachers to earn special education certificate at Marymount

Marymount University’s School of Education and the nonprofit Porto Charities have collaborated to launch a new scholarship program designed to support special education teachers and educators employed by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.

Porto Charities, which aims to increase educational and employment opportunities available to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through grants and advocacy programs supporting the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, will provide financial assistance for educators pursuing a special education certificate at Marymount. The scholarship program, which offers 50 percent tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 for a certificate and 50 percent tuition reimbursement up to $10,000 for those who wish to pursue further education with a M.Ed. in Special Education, seeks to equip educators employed by Diocese of Arlington Catholic Schools with the skills needed to support students with disabilities effectively.

Marymount’s certificate program is fully online, allowing working professionals the flexibility to enhance their skills through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous classes. As they prepare to better support all students in reaching their full potential, participants will engage with experts, collaborate with local and international educators and receive support from dedicated Marymount professors.

“Students with disabilities possess unique needs. As such, they need educators who are prepared to meet those needs,” explained Dr. Nicci Dowd, assistant professor of special education at Marymount. “Our special education curriculum is designed to cultivate educators who are not only dedicated and knowledgeable but empathetic. We equip our educators to see the potential in every student so that they are prepared to tailor their approaches and transform challenges into opportunities for growth. Our program empowers future educators to learn with purpose so they can live with purpose!”

“Porto Charities is excited to launch our scholarship initiative and provide opportunities for diocesan educators to gain the skills and knowledge they need to better serve students with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” added Leo Alonso, CEO of Porto Charities. “We are grateful for Marymount’s shared commitment to inclusive Catholic education and are pleased that educators in the Diocese of Arlington have Marymount as one of their options for earning special education certification.”

To qualify for scholarships, teachers must be employed by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. The certificate program consists of five comprehensive courses:

  • Special Education: Foundation and Characteristics of the Exceptional Learner
  • Psycho-Educational Assessment and Instructional Programming
  • Diagnostic and Corrective Literacy Instruction
  • Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education Settings
  • Instructional Implementation of the Individualized Educational Program

The application window for the Fall 2024 semester is open until July 31, while Spring 2025 applications will be accepted from October 1 to November 15. For more information, contact Dr. Dowd at or Kathryn Doherty at