A partnership between the Riverview School and Stonehill College in Easton will bring a new graduate degree opportunity to the Upper Cape.

Slated to begin next fall, the college will be using the Riverview School as a satellite campus for a master’s of education program that centers on inclusive education. Students who complete the program will obtain state licensure in special education in either preschool through 8th grade or grades 5 through 12.

While the program will enable this licensure, the program focuses on inclusivity of all kinds, including race, gender and sexual identity, and ethnicity.

The program is designed to allow working professionals the ability to further their education and is going to be offered one weekend each month, with the ability to complete the degree within 18 months.

The partnership began in part because the dean of the May School of Arts and Sciences at the college, Peter Ubertaccio, is a Sandwich resident who has connections to staff at Riverview.

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, director of graduate education at Stonehill, said the educational missions of both institutions are aligned.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring our progressive master’s degree program to Cape Cod, where we see enormous potential,” she said.

Dr. Keefe said the two institutions began talking about this partnership last January and were able to pull the project together despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Riverview Assistant Head of School and Director of Student Life Deanna White said the partnership is an opportunity to give the larger Cape Cod community access to higher education, including its own staff.

“We have such an amazing staff,” she said. “This expands their career options.”

She said the school often finds that staff who work in the dormitories or with students in a non-educator capacity often go back to school to become teachers.

When it comes to getting that certification without leaving Cape Cod, she said, the options are limited and people often do not have the time or money to travel.

Ms. White said Riverview is providing an incentive to staff—both current and prospective—to enter the program. The school is going to cover the full tuition for up to six students.

Additionally, the school offers tuition reimbursement to staff who are looking to further their education.

“We really do stress and try to support professional development,” Ms. White said.

While Riverview is promoting the program to its staff, the program is open to anyone who is interested. Dr. Keefe said a prospective student also does not have to have a background in education.

For students who are not members of the Riverview staff, the cost will be $2,500 for each three-credit class.

Ms. White said anyone looking to enter the program, Riverview staff or not, will be required to apply through Stonehill College.

“We’ve found them to be such amazing partners,” she said of the college.

Dr. Keefe said Riverview is a natural fit for campus expansion and she was excited to jump on the opportunity for the partnership.

“After hearing their needs, I proposed the idea that we would have an off-campus program hosted on the site of Riverview,” she said. “They’re interested in attracting really high-quality staff and also providing opportunities and access to graduate studies for their current staff that they want to retain. It also creates opportunity for the community and greater Cape Cod.”

Stonehill Dean of Graduate Admissions Melissa Ratliff said the school is looking to have a class of about 12 to 15 students to start the course. Several people have already started the application process, she said, noting some of them are staff at the Riverview School.

“A number of individuals have reached out and started the process, which was really exciting,” she said.

Ms. Ratliff said the school began offering graduate programs formally just three years ago and has been working to meet the needs of the school community, as well as the communities in the surrounding areas.

“Education was definitely an area where we felt like we wanted to do some expansion,” she said. “The addition of Elizabeth Stringer Keefe allowed that to flourish.”

Dr. Keefe said the fact the program has already begun to receive applications is a sign it is doing the right thing.

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