Special Education Major Mission Statement
The mission of the Special Education certification program reflects the mission of Education as a whole: to support youth with special needs in reaching their highest potential in social interactions, in artistic endeavors, in spiritual growth, and in academic realms.
Teacher Candidate Learning Outcomes for Special Education PreK-12 Certificate
A. Content mastery across disciplines appropriate to special education settings
B. Effective, creative, reflective, and data-driven pedagogy with a deep understanding of the range of learning and physical disabilities
C. Professionalism in personal, collegial, and institutional settings
D. Respect for the uniqueness of underserved special needs learners and their families across multiple contexts
E. Leadership in advocating for all special needs students and supporting their highest achievement
Phases of the Education Program
Pre-professional phase in education: 0 - 47 credits; students take pre-professional phase courses in education.
Application and acceptance into professional phase: students may take pre-professional phase courses but must declare a track during this phase. A student cannot take professional phase courses unless that student has been accepted into a track.
Professional phase: professional educator program (PEP) or careers in education program (CEP): 60 credits to graduation; students may take pre-professional phase courses and professional phase courses. Students will experience either a senior internship or student teaching in the final semester of study.
All students who intend to pursue the Special Education major will enroll in a sequence of pre-professional courses:
- An English composition course (3 credits)
- A course in either American or British literature (3 credits)
- ED 109 The Educative Process (3 credits)
- EE 111 Infant and Youth Development (3 credits)
- ED 209 Cognition and Learning (3 credits)
- ED 211 Family, School, and Community (3 credits)
- ED 218 Introduction to Exceptionalities (3 credits)
- EE 335 Designing Instruction (3 credits)
- SE 304 Curricula and Strategies for Moderate to Severe (3 credits)
- MA 107 Math for Teachers 1 (3 credits); serves as MOT Mathematics requirement for SE
- MA 108 Math for Teachers 2 (3 credits)
Admission into the Professional Educator Phase for Pennsylvania-Teacher-Certification-Seeking Students
To proceed into professional and advanced methods courses, students intending to major or enter a program in education must meet Pennsylvania state guidelines for future educators. A formal application to the professional educator program must be submitted to the chair of the education department upon completion of professional phase requirements, including completion of the pre-professional course sequence (or with permission of department chair).
Professional Educator Program Requirements for Acceptance:
The professional educator program (PEP) is designed to prepare the education student to achieve teacher certification in Pennsylvania. Students applying to PEP must have satisfied all requirements of the track before entry. Acceptance into PEP will consist of:
- Completed, formal application for PEP (See department office for application form.)
- Completion of a minimum of 48 credits
- Completion of the Basic Skills exam requirement (a pass on ETS Core Exam modules OR PAPA modules OR SAT/ACT exemption documentation OR a combination of the above)
- Transcript(s) from all colleges attended
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 2.8 for conditional admission with the approval of the department chair (note: Students must meet certification GPA requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be recommended for certification at program completion.)
- Pre-professional education course GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Essay that responds to the prompt: “Why do I Want to be an Educator?”
- Recommendation of two faculty members
- Completion of the pre-professional course sequence (or with permission of the department chair)
Professional Educator Phase
Upon acceptance into the Professional Educator Phase, students must take the following advanced coursework:
- ED 313 Literature for Children and Youth (3 credits; Humanities 4)
- EE 314 Literacy for Early Elementary (3 credits)
- EE 315 Social Studies Methods (3 credits)
- EE 336 Science Methods (3 credits)
- EE 346 Mathematics Methods (3 credits)
- ED 364 The Inclusive Classroom (3 credits)
- ED 366 Literacy for Content Learning (3 credits)
- ED 373 Teaching English Learners (3 credits)
- SE 306 Transition (3 credits)
- SE 308 Collaboration and Consultation (3 credits)
- SE 312 Technology in Special Education (3 credits)
- SE 316 Curricula and Strategies for Mild Disabilities (3 credits)
- SE 318 Positive Behavior Management (3 credits)
- SE 323 Assessment and IEP Development (3 credits)
- SE 190 Clinical Field Experience 1 (3 credits)
- SE 290 Clinical Field Experience 2 (3 credits)
- SE 390 Clinical Field Experience 3 (3 credits)
Student Teaching (full-time 14 weeks - 12 credits)
- SE 430 Planning and Preparation (3 credits)
- SE 432 Classroom Management (3 credits)
- SE 434 Instructional Delivery (3 credits)
- SE 436 Professionalism (3 credits)
Experiences in Schools
Candidates in the professional educator program participate in numerous observation and practice-based field experiences beginning in the first year through the student teaching experience. Candidates should be prepared to complete a minimum of 170 clinical field hours before student teaching. Field experiences are conducted in public and nonpublic schools within a 20-mile driving distance of the University’s Center Valley campus. The purpose of the program is to further develop, demonstrate, and assess the competencies of the certification program, thereby preparing the candidate for student teaching and eventual full-time employment as a professional educator. The field program strives to develop sensitivity and culturally responsive attitudes in working with diverse student populations: races, genders, religious beliefs, national origins, and socio-economic backgrounds. All clinical field experiences and student teaching experiences will include field-based reports, evaluation, and feedback by cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and/or peers. See the Field Experiences Guide for Students for additional detail.
Legal Clearances: Requirements for Observation, Field Experiences, and Student Teaching
All students conducting observations or engaged in field experiences must obtain updated legal clearances before engaging in any fieldwork or entering schools. New clearances must be obtained each year before the fall semester. It is the student’s responsibility to provide legal copies to the education office to be kept on file. Required clearances include:
- Act 114 (FBI Fingerprinting)
- Act 34 (PA Criminal History Clearance)
- Act 151 (Child Abuse Clearance)
- PDE-6004 (Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form)
- TB test (negative results required)
- SE students must provide proof of rubella immunization, both initial inoculation and booster.
Information about clearances is available in the education department office. Students wishing to complete field experience requirements in Allentown Diocesan schools must also complete training in the Protecting God’s Children program and Diocesan signature forms. Other requirements may be mandated by the school or school district at their discretion. Please see the education department office for changes in clearance policies.
Select Professional Phase courses may be offered in the evening in an online format depending on enrollment demands.
Comprehensive Assessment Program Portfolio Requirement
All students in education must complete and submit a final semester portfolio. The CAP portfolio will be reviewed and evaluated by a committee of the faculty. Students who receive an unsatisfactory rating will be required to remediate the portfolio. See current CAP portfolio requirements on the Education Program Information Center on Blackboard.
All certification programs include a 14-week full-time student teaching experience for initial certification. To be eligible for student teaching, students must have been accepted into the professional educator program (PEP) and will formally apply for student teaching by October 1 (for spring placement) or March 1 (for fall placement). Students must take and pass all Basic Skills exams or have met the SAT/ACT exception requirement and must have passed the PDE required tests for certification in Pre-K-12 with a satisfactory score. (See the student teaching application for details.) Students who plan to student teach must complete all aspects of the professional sequence and satisfy all major certification requirements before student teaching and practicum experiences. No other coursework is permitted during student teaching. Once candidates have completed all courses within the professional sequence and have been approved to student teach by the major chair, they are ready to student teach. Student teaching for initial certification is offered as four separate courses during the final semester of senior year within a public or nonpublic school. Candidates for certification must enroll in all four courses of student teaching concurrently. Student teaching and practicum field experiences are supervised by program faculty with knowledge and experience in the area of certification and mentored by highly qualified and trained cooperating teachers in the schools.
Students seeking certification who receive a final grade below a C in any domain of the student teaching/practicum course sequence cannot be recommended for certification. Student teachers not performing at a satisfactory level will face termination from student teaching. See the Student Teaching Handbook for conditions and details.
Professionalism and Educator Ethics
All student teaching candidates must present record-free clearances and be determined to be of “good moral character” as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, if a student teaching candidate has shown behaviors in contradiction to the PA Educators Code of Conduct, a full-time faculty committee will meet to determine student teaching eligibility. Due process as defined by the university will be followed.
Education Program Completion Leading to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Teacher Certification
Candidates who successfully complete all the requirements outlined in the degree and/or certification programs of the DeSales University education program will be eligible to receive an Instructional I certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Candidates for certification must also meet and demonstrate mastery for Pennsylvania Department of Education competencies embedded in the courses. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s standards, policies, and procedures for the state approval of certification of professional education for the public schools of Pennsylvania, certification candidates must complete a full-time (14 weeks) student teaching field experience, and achieve at least a satisfactory rating on the PDE 430, Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (refer to Student Teaching Handbook). Candidates must also be of good moral character to be recommended for certification in Pennsylvania. All certification candidates must schedule an exit interview with the director of special education at the end of student teaching. Other requirements for certification may be mandated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at any time.
TIMS (Teacher Information Management System)
All candidates for certification who have completed all program requirements, field requirements, student teaching, and teacher assessment exams will apply for certification online at the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. All information must be entered and required documentation must be submitted either online or in paper. At such time as all information has been correctly entered, candidates will appear on the DeSales University dashboard for approval. You will be notified once the certifying officer at DeSales has recommended and affirmed your application for certification.
Candidates seeking certification in other states should write to the teacher certification office of the state for the details of their agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, application forms, and instructions. Names and addresses of the appropriate officials should be available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.