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Recruiting Special Education Teachers Takes New Form at UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte - Cato College of EducationAACTE member institution University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) Cato College of Education is working to address the shortage of special education teachers through a new recruitment initiative.  Its department of special education and child development received a grant to produce a video to recruit future special educators to the university. Led by Christopher O’Brien, associate professor and special education undergraduate program director, the production features faculty, students, and alumni of the special education teacher preparation program.

The special education program at UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education prepares teacher candidates to

WKU Announces $1 Million Grant to Boost Number of Special Education Professionals

This article originally appeared in Bowling Green Daily News and is reprinted with permission.

A federal grant award topping $1 million to Western Kentucky University will help address a shortage of special education professionals seen regionally and across Kentucky.

“The shortages are felt nationally, but definitely in an acute manner in our rural communities,” said WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Dean Corinne Murphy, whose college is heading up the effort called Project PREP, or Preparing Rural Educators and Professionals for Students with High-Intensity Needs.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education said there’s a shortage and a lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the country.

Spotlight on NIC to Reduce Special Education Teacher Shortage

Teacher helping a disabled pupil at the elementary schoolIn an article that originally appeared in Special Ed Connection, author Kara Arundel spotlights AACTE’s collaboration with the CEEDAR Center in launching the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC). As part of the NIC initiative, 10 preparation programs in higher education have been selected to participate in this NIC and implement a range of strategies that will positively impact the special education teacher shortage by the Fall of 2022.

Cleveland State University (CSU) is one of the universities featured in the article, along with its Associate Dean for Faculty and External Affairs Tachelle Banks. AACTE’s Caitlin Wilson commented on how CSU and the nine other institutions will help find solutions to the nationwide teacher shortage. “By better understanding what works in particular context and comparing how it is similar or different  at another university helps us to learn and share with the filed how that particular strategy or promising practice might be adapted depending on local conditions,” said Wilson, the director of program improvement and practice.

Read the full article, “Network of Universities Collaborate to Solve Special Educator Shortages.

Ohio University to Partner With ESSCO to Create New Special Education Teacher Training Program

This article originally appeared on the Ohio University Ohio News website and is reprinted with permission.

Ohio University received the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant that will allow OHIO to partner with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO) to improve the quality of OHIO’s special education teacher preparation program, which will improve the academic achievement of K-12 students.

The grant will span over five years, totaling more than $4.1 million to help accomplish this goal. It also provides opportunities for adult learners, supporting OHIO’s Strategic Framework and the initiative to catalyze strategic enrollment for lifelong learning.

“This partnership with ESCCO allows Ohio University to serve Ohio in preparing the next generation of teachers to work with all learners,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of the Patton College of Education. “Our vision statement is ‘The Patton College—Where Learning Has No Limits!’ This partnership for teacher quality will allow us to fulfill that vision and commitment.”

AACTE Convenes First Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC

Teacher helping a disabled pupil at the elementary school

Faculty from 10 of AACTE’s member institutions convened in Washington, DC on November 22-23 for the first in-person meeting of the Networked Improvement Community (NIC) focused on reducing the shortage of the special education teachers. During the 2-day convening, nearly 40 NIC members came together to share and discuss the work happening at their institutions and their goals for recruiting more teacher candidates into their special education programs in the next 6 months.

Following the NIC model of the Carnegie Foundation’s for Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the institutions set individual targets connected to the network’s collective aim statement and driver diagram, which serves as the NIC’s working theory of action. Over the summer, faculty from each institution were invited to participate in a book club lead by AACTE staff: Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. This book serves as a foundational text for the NIC members in understanding improvement science and how to apply it to their work at their institutions.

U of A and University of Oklahoma Teaming up to Establish Razorback-Sooner Scholars Program

This article originally appeared on the University Of Arkansas website and is reprinted with permission.

Across the country, there’s a critical need for teachers who know how to use evidence-based practices to improve the adult outcomes of students with disabilities.

The University of Arkansas and University of Oklahoma have partnered to help meet that need with a unique program called Razorback-Sooner Scholars: Leaders for Transition.

Leaders for Transition will provide a unique, funded doctoral experience for 10 students at the two universities who want to be special education assistant professors interested in transition services for youth with disabilities and their families.

Recently, the universities were awarded a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to fund the program.

Department of Education Seeks Your Comments on “Attracting, Preparing and Retaining” Effective Special Educators

Attract, Prepare and Retain Effective Personnel graphicThe Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has developed an initiative called “Attract, Prepare and Retain Effective Personnel.” They have requested feedback from the field.  Specifically, the invitation states:

“We invite you to share your thoughts on how we can best support States in their work to Attract, Prepare, and Retain Effective Personnel. Sharing your challenges and successes can make a difference for others facing similar challenges.” 

The deadline for submitting comments is September 30, 2019.  Learn more.

The Push to Get More Teachers of Color in Special Education Classrooms

Teacher of color working with two students

The excerpt below is taken from an article originally published in Ed Week and is reprinted with permission.

It’s a constant struggle for school districts across the country to find qualified special education teachers. An extra challenge: finding special educators of color to help meet the needs of a student population that can be disproportionately nonwhite.

Just over 82 percent of special education teachers in public schools are white, according to 2011-12 federal data, the most recent available. Meanwhile, only about half of students receiving special education services are white, according to 2017-18 data.

Yet teacher diversity matters: Decades of research has shown that students often perform better academically when they are taught by teachers of the same race.

“The special education field is really prime to recruit faculty of color,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez,

Preparing Skilled Special Education Teachers

Crayons

This article and photo originally were originally published in SmartBrief Education and are reprinted with permission.

We all know the numbers are sobering. A 2018 brief from the Council for Exceptional Children showed critical shortages of special education teachers in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one percent of all school districts and 90% of high-poverty school districts report difficulty recruiting highly qualified special education teachers. The exit rate for special education teachers is nearly twice that of general education teachers and enrollment in teacher training programs has declined by 35% over the previous five years.

It seems a dismal picture, but there is light at the end of the tunnel — one that prepares teachers to enter this dynamic field and equips them with tools to help them skillfully and confidently persist in the profession.

Tips From PSU on Navigating an Inclusive Educator Prep Program

Representatives from PSUAs the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.

For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how 

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