UWM/MPS Special Education Internship

The UWM/MPS Internship Program, started in 1988, provides opportunities for post-baccalaureate special education certification students who have a commitment to teaching in Milwaukee Pubic Schools (MPS) to begin teaching while earning certification. Interns are teachers-of-record in MPS schools with full pay and benefits while earning certification at UWM. They receive the support of MPS mentor teachers and are supervised by UWM instructors. The internship is open to students enrolled in the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence Special Education (MCEA), or the Early Adolescence to Adolescence Special Education (EAA) programs.

Internship Eligibility

Students interested in the internship must:

• Be accepted into one of UWM's special education certification programs (see the Exceptional Education website for program options).
• Meet one of the following criteria:
   > Regular Education Certification at the appropriate level (ECSE, MCEA, or EAA).
   > Special education classroom experience (paraprofessional, substitute, or emergency license teacher) with high recommendations from administrators.
• Apply to the internship.
• Be recommended for an intern placement by the program.
• Meet the hiring requirements for MPS.
• Commitment to apply to MPS once certified and, if hired, teach in the district for at least three years.


Students who do not enter a post-baccalaureate program with certification or special education experience (those in the two-year program) who are interested in the UWM/MPS Internship can apply to be a pre-intern. Pre-interns work as paid paraprofessionals in carefully selected sites, co-teaching with a special education teacher. Upon successful completion of the year-long pre-internship, candidates are recommended for internships in Year Two of the certification program.

What our Graduates Say

Former UWM/MPS internship participants share their opinions of the program. Our Interns have support from mentors in their on-the-job placement. The mentor assists with lesson planning, curriculum, classroom management, Individualized Education Plans (required for every student who receives special education services) and more. The mentors work with Intern teachers for the duration of their time in the certification program.

"My mentor actually sat in with me on an I.E.P that I had to write a behavioral plan for...It was really key having her there with me because I had someone on my side to help guide me a little bit."

- Valerie Merriweather
UWM/MPS Internship Participant

"Just like an athlete wouldn't begin his career without his team or his coach, this program does the same for its students because it doesn't allow them to go in alone."

- Brian Hayes
UWM/MPS Internship Participant

"I was struggling with how to teach and I was struggling with classroom management...she helped me learn how to teach skills in context rather than in isolation."

- Pauline Ngare
UWM/MPS Internship Participant

"Traveling in a cohort was very important because you come along with the same group of students. So there were a lot of last minute emails, late night phone calls. I think teaching involves collaboration and teamwork."

- Jay-Sun Bowman
UWM/MPS Internship Participant

"I was finishing my degree in Education Studies and my advisor Barbara Logan told me that I should be in the cohort because in the cohort I can work full time and get my degree."

- Pam Diaz
UWM/MPS Internship Participant

How to Apply

Application and acceptance into the UWM/MPS Internship Program comes after you have applied and been accepted into one of our post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs. The following steps outline the process for the UWM/MPS Internship and Pre-Internship.

Step 1:
Decide which certification program you are interested in: Early Childhood, Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence or Early Adolescence to Adolescence.

Step 2:
Complete the application process for your program of choice. For more information, see our Post-Baccalaureate Admissions page.

Step 3:
Once you have submitted a complete application you will be contacted by our office for an interview. The interview is a required component of the application process for each of our certification programs.

Step 4:
At the interview you will be asked if you are interested in the UWM/MPS Internship program. If so, and if you are accepted into the certification program you applied to, you will be sent further information regarding applying to the Internship program along with your acceptance letter to the certification program.

Step 5:
After completing the required UWM/MPS Internship application materials you will be informed if you have been accepted into the UWM/MPS Internship. If accepted, you will work with the UWM/MPS Internship Coordinator regarding applying to MPS and securing a placement.

If you have questions regarding the UWM/MPS Internship program do not hesitate to contact us.

Program Staff & Faculty

Exceptional Education
Phone: 414-229-5251
E-mail: exed@uwm.edu

Dr. Judy Winn
UWM/MPS Internship Coordinator/Associate Professor
Department of Exceptional Education
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Phone: 414-229-4109
E-mail: jwinn@uwm.edu

    Availability of internships and pre-internships is determined by MPS each year. For more information, contact Exceptional Education (exed@uwm.edu or 414-229-5251) or Dr. Judy Winn (jwinn@uwm.edu or 414-229-4109)