Project CRUISE is a collaborative effort of the Mobile County Public School System and the College of Education at the University of South Alabama. The project will recruit, develop, and retain special education teachers for the district's high-need schools. Thirty new participants will be recruited each year, with special attention paid to attracting mid-career changers, especially current paraprofessionals with college degrees who are assisting special education teachers. Paraprofessionals who need additional college credits also will be targeted. Once recruited, candidates will participate in an alternative master's degree program designed by school administrators and professors from the University of South Alabama's colleges of education and arts and sciences. Project CRUISE will enable participants to complete their degree and certification requirements in 42 semester hours (which is equivalent to about two years) of coursework, field experience, and student teaching. Once hired as beginning teachers, participants will be matched with specially trained veteran teachers and mentored throughout the first year.