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Resident Teacher Training Available for Special Education

Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006

WYE MILLS - Chesapeake College´s Resident Teacher Certificate (CC/RTC) Program is expanding this spring to include certification options in special education at the elementary or secondary education level. This program expansion is being made possible with funds from a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) grant.

The CC/RTC program is being offered by Chesapeake College, in partnership with the five-county school systems in its service area – Kent, Queen Anne´s, Caroline, Talbot, and Dorchester – and the Maryland State Department of Education in response to the critical shortage of certified teachers in special education in Maryland schools systems at both the elementary and secondary levels.

The Resident Teacher Certificate Program is an accelerated and alternative route to teacher certification designed to allow a high achieving, motivated professional with a bachelor´s degree or higher to change careers and enter the teaching profession. The program aims to attract recent graduates and mid-career professionals who are seeking formal training and certification in special education and are interested in teaching children with special needs in one of the five-county partner school systems. Each of the local school superintendents identified his/her school system as one experiencing a critical shortage of teachers, particularly in special education.

Persons interested in enrolling in this program must meet MSDE program entry criteria, which includes having (a) a bachelor´s degree or higher, (b) a "B" grade average in a certifiable major or distribution of credits, and (c) qualifying scores on the Praxis I test.

The program consists of intensive and accelerated pre-service training and coursework, in-service coursework, field experience, mentoring and other support services throughout participants´ teaching and learning experiences while enrolled in the program.

Rosemary Thomas, supervisor of Special Education for Caroline County Public Schools and president of the Mid-Shore Special Education Consortium, affirms the critical shortage of certified special education teachers in the local school systems, noting that more talented, committed, and well-prepared special education teachers are needed. Persons with at least a bachelor´s degree in a certifiable major or 30 to 36 credits in any certifiable area are eligible to participate; however, persons with a bachelor´s degree in psychology or a related area might find the special education portion of this program especially attractive to them.

To be eligible for consideration for a Fall 2006 resident teacher assignment with one of the local school systems, participants in the program must have completed all pre-service requirements. The pre-service training during the Spring 2006 semester will consist of ninety (90) hours of professional coursework over two to three months on Fridays and Saturdays covering such topics as human development, planning, classroom management, strategies and models of teaching and school culture. Additionally, participants must complete a three-credit hour reading course requirement appropriate for the age/grade level for which certification is being sought and the appropriate Praxis II content test if applicable. For those in the Special Education track, additional requirements include: the three-credit hour EDU 210: Introduction to Special Education course, and Maryland scores on the Praxis II test (code #0351) "Special Education: Knowledge-Based Core Principles." The two reading and special education courses will be offered during the regular Spring 2006 semester and again during Summer 2006.

In the first year(s) of teaching, participants will be assigned a mentor and will complete the remaining program requirements. The additional MSDE reading requirement will consist of three credits for secondary teachers and nine credits for elementary teachers. All teachers must meet Maryland qualifying score on the Praxis II pedagogy test, if applicable. For a special education endorsement, RTC teachers will complete an additional 135 clock hours: (a) a 45 hour seminar for RTC special education candidates (b) a minimum of two of four 45 hours each courses addressing CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) standards and competencies related to educational assessment and diagnosis, instructional planning and classroom management, curriculum design and adaptations for students with special needs, and methods for teaching at-risk and resilient youth. An additional Praxis II (code #352) test, "Special Education: Application of Core Principles Across Categories," is required.

Though training does not guarantee employment, Chesapeake College´s RTC teachers are viewed favorably in the local school systems and actively recruited. Over the 2 years of the program 93% (27 of 29) of the teachers trained were placed in appropriate assignments in the 5 local school systems with a retention rate of 96 percent (26 of 27).

Dr. Willie Woods, dean for the Division of Arts and Sciences at the Chesapeake College, indicates that the college is working very closely with the five-county school systems and MSDE in offering this program. The enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law, which defines and requires "highly qualified" teachers for all classrooms, intensified the demand for certified special education teachers in Maryland and nationwide. She notes that an assumption of the RTC program is that there is a substantial pool of talented individuals who have chosen other career options but who are capable of and interested in becoming excellent teachers. Eligible participants in the program must be able to work toward teacher certification through the alternative certification process. Successful program completers will meet NCLB standards as "highly qualified" teachers and may be offered positions in participating school systems.

The application deadline for this program is January 27, 2006. For applications and more information, contact the Eastern Shore MSDE representative, Daniel Lessard: – email or call 410-758-2403 ext. 191, or write him at this address: Daniel Lessard MSDE Education Program Specialist, Certification Queen Anne´s County Public Schools 202 Chesterfield Avenue Centreville, MD 21617

For other program information, contact Dr. Willie G. Woods at 410-827-5847 or email .


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