top of page

Grants for Educators

Porto Charities has launched two initiatives to empower teachers in the Diocese of Arlington who complete graduate courses to instruct students with intellectual and developmental disabilities: The Special Education Scholarship Program and the Tuition-free Intro to Special Education at GMU. Learn more about these initiatives below.

Porto Charities' mission is
that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve to reach their full
potential by receiving an enriching Catholic education.

These initiatives are a meaningful step toward achieving our vision.


Special Education Scholarship Program

Program Highlights:


The scholarship program offers financial assistance to teachers pursuing advanced education in special education by obtaining a Special Education Certificate or a master’s degree in special education.


Teachers must submit a completed application to Porto Charities and be approved for the program before they start their course work. Teachers who enroll in a certificate program must complete their course work within 18 months. Teachers who enroll in a master’s program must complete their course work within 36 months. 

Grant Awards

Subject to available funding, tuition reimbursement for the Special Education Certificate Program will be a maximum of 50% of tuition paid by the participant not to exceed $ 5,000. Tuition reimbursement for a master’s program will be a maximum of 50% of the tuition paid by the participant not to exceed $ 10,000.

Reimbursement Process

Scholarships will be awarded to teachers after they provide confirmation (proof of payment and copy of their official transcript) to Porto Charities that they have satisfactorily completed all of their course work.

There are several universities in the metro area that offer graduate programs in special education. Below are a few options to obtain your Special Education Certificate or master's degree.


George Mason University

A variety of options are available at George Mason for students to learn more about working with individuals with disabilities, including undergraduate and graduate programs, teacher licensure and non-licensure options, and online and on-campus options.

Marymount University

Marymount University’s master’s in Special Education degree is designed for those dedicated to teaching children and teens with diverse learning abilities in a K–12 classroom setting. Marymount also offers a Special Education Graduate Certificate. For more information about this Certificate, please contact Marymount directly.

Mu_vertical logo_072_cmyk.jpg

Notre Dame PIE Program

The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) is an 18-credit hour program for educators employed in Catholic schools/(arch)dioceses. The program offers a licensure track for eligible teachers who wish to pursue additional licensure in Mild Intervention upon program completion.

Online Application and Deadlines


Applicants must be employed by and in good standing with an accredited Catholic elementary or high school recognized by the Diocese of Arlington.


The application window for Fall 2024 enrollment is open until 7/31/24. The application window for Spring 2025 enrollment will be from 10/1/24 to 11/15/24. All applications must be received by Porto Charities on or before the last day of the enrollment period (7/31/24 or 11/15/24).


While participation in this program does not guarantee a job/teaching position, awardees who accept scholarship funds to complete a certification program must agree to continue to work for the Diocese of Arlington for a minimum of twelve after they have completed their course work, or twenty four months after completing their master's degree.

Tuition-Free Intro to Special Education at GMU

Porto Charities recognizes that not everyone is in a position to pursue a graduate degree in special education but may want to learn more as a first step. For those teachers, administrators, pastors and others who work with people with intellectual disabilities, that next step could be tuition-free enrollment in George Mason University’s introduction to special education course. 

In collaboration with George Mason University, Porto Charities will financially underwrite a graduate program titled “Introduction to Special Education.” The program will begin in September 2024, and will be available tuition-free to 25 diocesan employees. This three credit graduate level course provides an overview of the foundations, laws, and types of disabilities recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) and will be delivered in a fully asynchronous online format. Participants will receive three graduate level credits.


If you would like to be one of the 25 educators to participate in this course, please sign up below to receive more information regarding enrollment.

Below you may also download the course syllabus. Please note that while the content in this course syllabus is the same that will be covered under the course sponsored by Porto Charities, the timeline will be different. The syllabus below is based on the course being taught in 6 weeks over the Summer, while the course for Diocesan educators will be asynchronously taught in 13 weeks starting in the Fall.


For questions please contact our Education Committee Chair, Carmen Chiappetta at

bottom of page