1 (updated 3/23/13) St. Cloud State University Department of Special Education School of Education UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK Mission The Department of Special Education is dedicated to the preparation of educators who establish effective teaching and learning environments for individuals with disabilities in state, national, and global communities. Introduction Special Education offers an undergraduate major that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Education and prepares candidates to teach in a variety of educational settings. The department is currently submitting applications to the Minnesota Board of Teaching for a new undergraduate major that leads to a Minnesota license as a teacher of students with mild- moderate disabilities. This license is the Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) license, which has been approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching for teacher candidates who are student teaching during the fall 2013 semester. If a student is pursuing an elementary or secondary teaching license and wishes to also pursue special education teacher licensure, it is recommended that the student obtain a Special Education Minor (19 credits) and complete the remainder of the licensure requirements at the graduate level. It is the student's responsibility to obtain information about special education licensure and endorsement programs of interest, and with the adviser's guidance plan a program that meets all requirements. Please note that there may be some discrepancies between the Undergraduate Handbook and the SCSU Undergraduate Bulletin. The student should refer to the online special education handbook for the most recent information. Students will also be notified of any significant changes via the student listserve and bulletin board postings on the second floor of the College of Education.
2 2 General Education Requirements Special education majors must complete the 41- credit general education component required for all undergraduate students. It is recommended that the student begin taking courses needed for admission to Special Education Major and Teacher Education as soon as possible. Students should check with the Advising Center to ensure that they are taking courses in the most efficient and effective manner possible. For a description of general education course requirements, the student should see SCSU s Undergraduate Bulletin. These courses include the following requirements for the Liberal Education requirements in the 10 goal areas: Goal 4: MATH 201 (prerequisite for MATH 301; take MATH 301 the following semester)* Goal 5: SPED 203 and HURL 497; no other Goal 5 courses required *Math Placement test or ACT math score required Students must have ACT math score of 23 or Accuplacer scores of either 70/Elementary Algebra or 50/College- Level Math to register for MATH 201. Students may be required to take MATH 070 and/or MATH 072 if they do not meet placement criteria (See website information: Please note that the special education degree map is available online on the Special Education website (see Student Resources). The degree map outlines the special education major in a four- year sequence. The general education courses shown in the degree template are examples these may change based upon the candidate s interests. Advising Information No decisions can be made at the department level without a recommendation from the adviser. Records and Registration (AS- 118) will assign an adviser subsequent to declaration of the major. However, it is strongly recommended that students meet with a special education adviser as soon as possible after declaring a major. The adviser will assist students in planning and scheduling their program of study and will be available to address other program issues. Advising materials are available in the Department of Special Education office and online. After completing a Planning Worksheet, with an adviser, the program plan will be filed in the student's folder in the SPED Department office. Once the student's program planning sheet is filed, students may obtain their initial [registration] access code from the SPED Department office. Students do not need an access code to register once they have been admitted to the Major. Once the adviser has approved the Planning Worksheet, students can transfer this information to the Application to the Major form as courses are completed (available from the adviser or from the Department of Special Education office, EB- A211). Students will submit the Application to the Major form at the same time that they submit the
3 3 application to Junior Block. The Application to Major form is required not only for admission to the Major, but also for admission to Teacher Education and Student Teaching. The adviser will sign the application and submit it to the Department of Special Education office, where it is reviewed and signed by the SPED Department Chair. Advisers will sign only those program forms with complete and appropriate information. Graduation Requirements A minimum of 120 semester credits is required for graduation. The freshman and first- semester sophomore courses in special education consist primarily of general education coursework and special education prerequisite courses. During the remaining semesters, the required major courses and fieldwork experiences are completed. Students will enroll in three blocks of study following complete of prerequisite coursework: Junior Block (16 cr.), Senior Block (15 cr.), and Student Teaching (16 cr.) The Junior Block consists of 12 course credits (SPED 405, SPED 415, SPED 418, SPED 445, and 4 credits of general education field experiences- - one in an elementary setting (SPED 338) and one in a secondary setting (SPED 339). Coursework and field experiences must be taken concurrently. Successful completion of Junior Block is required for admission to Senior Block. The Senior Block consists of 13 course credits (SPED 411, SPED 416, SPED 419, and SPED 440) and 2 credits of special education field experience (SPED 455). In order to participate in two student teaching experiences during the final semester of study, students must have successfully completed Senior Block and have completed all required coursework in the special education major. The Student Teaching Block is the culminating semester of study for the special education major, which consists of a licensure- specific methods course and Senior Seminar (weekly or biweekly group discussions of student teaching activities) taken in conjunction with two half- semester special education student teaching placements (see Undergraduate Program Sequence in Faculty Resources). Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination All students must register for and take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination (MTLE) as soon as possible so that they are able to register for 300- and 400- level education courses. MTLE registration materials are available in the Office of Clinical Experiences office (EB- B120) and on their website:
4 4 Students must pass the Reading, Writing, and Mathematics sections of the MTLE Basic Skills tests in order to be eligible for Junior Block courses. If students fail only the Writing portion of the test, they may take SPED 306 Academic Writing Skills to move forward with the program and be admitted to Junior Block. Students must pass all sections of all required MTLE tests in order to be recommended for Minnesota teacher licensure. The MTLE website ( has general preparation information for the Basic Skills tests. The site provides tutorials and practice questions for each subject area. In addition, they provide a practice exam to become familiar with the operations of computer- based testing. Sample tests and enhanced study guides are available (for a fee) at this website that will help students prepare for the Basic Skills tests. Additional material is available that represents the Basic Skills requirements in other states. These materials can be helpful in preparing for exams, but should be reviewed carefully. California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST): Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE): Michigan State Teachers Certification Exam (MTTC): Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators (CEOE): Another website that provides helpful material for preparing for the Elementary Pedagogy test and the Special Education Core Skills test: What are the MTLE tests? All candidates applying for first- time Minnesota teaching licensure must complete: 1. Basic Skills The Basic Skills examination includes three subtests: Reading, Writing and Mathematics. Examinees may take one, two or all three subtests at one test appointment. However, it is advisable to take one at a time. It is also advisable to access the sample questions and practice tests, which are available at the MTLE website and in the MTLE/Praxis Center in the Education Building (EB- B113- C). All Basic Skills examinations are computer based tests. It is recommended that students NOT take all three tests during one examination period.
5 5 Reading Writing Mathematics Subtest Format Approximately 48 multiple- choice questions Approximately 33 multiple- choice questions and two Approximately 50 multiple- choice questions written assignments Time Allowed Up to 1 hour Up to 1 hour and 30 Up to 1 hour and 15 Reference Materials Available During Subtest None minutes Written assignment directions minutes Formulas/Constants page Cost $25.00* $25.00* $25.00* *There is also an annual registration fee of $50.00, paid once per program year, September 1 - August 31, regardless of the number of tests taken during that year. 2. Pedagogy All initial licenses require passing a pedagogy test, aligned to the license field sought. Note: Each pedagogy test consists of two subtests. SPED licensure candidates can choose to take either the Elementary OR Secondary Pedagogy tests. Typically, we recommend the Elementary Pedagogy tests. These tests are typically taken after Senior Block. Elementary 1 60 minutes $35 Elementary 2 60 minutes $35 Secondary 1 60 minutes $35 Secondary 2 60 minutes $35 3. Special Education Core Skills (NOT licensure- specific tests, just Core Skills) First- time special education licensure candidates must pass a test of content knowledge, which consists of two subtests: Special Education Core Skills 1 60 minutes $35 Special Education Core Skills 2 60 minutes $35
6 6 Application to Junior Block In order to be admitted to Junior Block, students must have taken and passed the MTLE Basic Skills tests in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Students who do not pass the Writing portion may proceed to Junior Block if they take SPED 306 Academic Writing Skills. Students must pass all three subtests to be recommended for Minnesota teacher licensure. Admission to Junior Block also requires successful completion of the following courses (attaining a grade of C or higher, not C- ): CEEP 262 IM 422 (During transition to new program, students will be allowed to take this later.) MATH 201 MATH 301 (take semester after prerequisite MATH 301) SPED 200 (field experience required outside class time) SPED 203 (Goal 5) (field experience required outside class time) SPED 204 (1 credit) SPED 420 (MTLE required; passing score not required) SPED 421 (MTLE required; passing score not required) SPED 431 (MTLE required; passing score not required) Students must also meet additional criteria: 1. Cumulative GPA of Professional liability insurance (Specific information will be explained during the Junior Block orientation and the first day of Junior Block; forms are available in the Clinical Experiences Office). Insurance coverage is valid for 1 year and is also required for Student Teaching. 3. Completion of aforementioned required courses with a grade of "C" or higher. 4. Successful completion and documentation of specific Board of Teaching Standards, which are to be included in SPED Student Teaching Portfolio. 5. The candidate can have no unresolved professional concerns documentation on file.
7 7 Students must apply to Junior Block in the Special Education office by March 1 or October 1 of the semester prior to the semester they wish to begin Junior Block. Forms are available in the SPED office several weeks prior to the application due date. At the same time, students must submit their application to the Major (paper applications are currently being used; conversion to electronic format pending). In addition, students must submit a Student Teaching application to the Office of Clinical Experiences (EB- B120; ; Students will also submit a resume and autobiography to the Office of Clinical Experiences. Application to Senior Block Students must also meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for Senior Block: 1. Cumulative GPA of Completion of Junior Block courses with a grade of "C" or higher. 3. Completion of Junior Block field experience(s) with a "Satisfactory" rating. 4. Completion of CEEP 361 and IM 422 with a grade of "C" or higher. 5. The candidate can have no unresolved professional concerns documentation in his or her departmental file. Students must apply to Senior Block by March 1 or October 1 of the semester prior to the semester they wish to begin Senior Block. Forms may be obtained from and returned to the Department of Special Education office, EB- A211. Application to Student Teaching Students must file an application to student teach in the Office of Clinical Experiences (EB- B120) one year prior to the anticipated student teaching semester. At this time, students will be asked to submit a resume and an autobiography. Students must also file an application in the SPED Department office by March 1 or October 1 of the previous semester. Additional criteria include: 1. Cumulative GPA of Successful completion of Senior Block courses with a grade of "C" or higher. 3. Successful completion of Senior Block with a rating of "Satisfactory." 4. Completion of all coursework in the major- including HLTH 301 and HURL with a grade of "C" or higher. 5. The candidate can have no unresolved professional concerns documentation in his or her departmental file.
8 8 Pre- Student Teaching Requirements Note: All students must take the MTLE in order to take 300- and 400- level special education courses. SPED 200 Introduction to Education (field experience required outside class time) CEEP 262 Human Growth and Development (Goal 5) CEEP 361 Introduction to Educational Psychology HLTH 301 Health Issues and Strategies HURL 497 Human Relations for Teachers I HURL 498 Human Relations for Teachers II *IM 422 Media, Materials, and Methods of Instruction MATH 301 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II TOTAL: 2 cr. 1 cr. 2 cr. 20 cr. *IM 422 requires a competency test, which is an assessment of the technology skills and knowledge needed to succeed in IM 422. This requirement can also be met by taking IM 260 (see also Degree Map). To register for the test, please visit the Information Media website at: Undergraduate Special Education Core SPED 203 Special Education Foundations (Goal 5) (field experience required outside class time) SPED 204 SPED Program Development and E- Folio SPED 420 Charac. Physical, Health, and Develop. Disabilities SPED 421 Charac. Learning and Behavioral Disorders SPED 431 Collaboration Skills/Transition Planning Diverse Settings 1 cr. TOTAL: 1 Criminal Background Check (CBC) Advisory This course of study requires successful passing of school district criminal background checks for all field experiences and student teaching. If students have any convictions, they may be unable to complete this program of study. The same CBC- based issues might prevent students from attaining licensure and/or employment. If students have questions about whether a criminal background check might prevent a placement, they should contact their adviser or the Office of Clinical Experiences ( ).
9 9 Junior Block Fall Semester: March 1 Application Deadline (previous semester) Spring Semester: October 1 Application Deadline (previous semester) Note: Prerequisites for the Junior Block include successful completion (attaining a grade of C or better) of SPED 200, CEEP 262, IM 422, MATH 201, MATH 301, SPED 203, SPED 204, SPED 420, SPED 421, SPED 431. Junior Block Core Courses SPED 405 Behavior Theories and Practices in Special Education SPED 415 Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs SPED 418 General Education Literacy Instruction for SPED SPED 445 Social/Natural Sciences for Special Educators SPED 338 General Education Field Experience I SPED 339 General Education Field Experience II TOTAL: 2 cr. 2 cr. 19 cr. Junior Block Field Experiences Special education teacher candidates in Junior Block will participate in two 60- hour field experiences in either an elementary, middle, or high school general education classroom. Field experiences are scheduled during the last part of the semester and adhere to the following schedule: 4 weeks, 3 hours per day: First general education field experience 1- week break 4 weeks, 3 hours per day: Second general education field experience Senior Block Fall Semester: March 1 Application Deadline (previous semester) Spring Semester: October 1 Application Deadline (previous semester) Note: In order for students to be admitted to the Special Education Major, they must successfully complete Junior Block and have a GPA of 2.75 or higher in courses taken at SCSU. Senior Block Core Courses (first 10 weeks and finals week) SPED 411 Special Education Procedural Safeguards SPED 416 Individualized Assessment in Special Education SPED 419 Literacy for Special Educators SPED 455 Special Education Field Experience SPED 440 Teaching English Learners with Special Needs TOTAL: 4 cr. 2 cr. 3 cr 15 cr
10 10 Senior Block Field Experiences Special education teacher candidates in Senior Block will participate in field experiences in an elementary, middle, or high school special education classroom for 5 weeks, Monday through Thursday, on an all- day basis. Candidates will participate in three full- day Friday field experiences in English Learner/SPED settings during this same 5- week period. Field experiences are scheduled following 10 weeks of coursework; no courses are scheduled during the field experience, although course projects will be implemented during that time. 10 weeks: Senior Block courses 5 weeks: Senior Block field experiences o Special education: Monday- Thursday o EL/SPED: Three Fridays Finals week: Senior Block courses Effective spring 2013, students will continue in their Senior Block field experience setting for the first 6 weeks of their student teaching experience. Although not yet possible, in the future it is hoped that an international field experience option can be made available during the last 5-6 weeks of the Senior Block field experience. Of course, these students would require a new placement for the first 6 weeks of the student teaching experience. Student Teaching: Effective fall 2013 Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) SPED 490 Senior Seminar (1 cr.) SPED 452 Advanced Methods and Interventions for Students with Mild- Moderate Disabilities () SPED 456 Student Teaching in Mild- Moderate Disabilities: Elementary (6 cr.) SPED 457 Student Teaching in Mild- Moderate Disabilities: Secondary (6 cr.) Student Teaching Procedures In addition to the electronic portfolio documentation required in each SPED undergraduate course, students will be required to participate in the Minnesota Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA). The TPA is being piloted with special education majors during the fall 2013 academic year and will be required for all special education majors effective spring Additional information will be provided regarding this program requirement. Information meetings sponsored by the Office of Clinical Experiences will be held at the beginning of each semester. The dates and locations will be posted on the bulletin board outside the Special Education office and outside faculty offices. Essential information regarding student teaching will be shared at these meetings, so it is mandatory that students attend. Effective the fall 2013 semester, the student teaching assignment consists of one 6- week placement (in the Senior Block setting or alternate site setting) and one 10- week placement. Both placements will be in settings that provide services for students with mild- moderate
11 11 disabilities in autism spectrum disorders, developmental/cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, and emotional/behavioral disorders. Students will be in the field Monday- Friday and will meet weekly or biweekly on- or off- campus for a 1- credit Senior Seminar. A 3- credit Methods class will be held at the SCSU campus six Saturdays each semester. Students will also be expected to attend meetings on campus for professional development, orientation, and planning. Student teachers will be expected to follow the calendar of the school district in which they are placed. Due to the full- time commitment required during student teaching, outside employment and additional coursework (other than the concurrent methods course) is not recommended. Students will register for a 16- credit "block" during the student teaching semester (12 credits: Student Teaching, 3- credit Methods course, and 1- credit Senior Seminar). Because Minnesota special education licenses are K- 12, both a secondary and an elementary placement will be arranged. Additionally, an attempt is made to provide all students with at least one placement that maximizes opportunities to teach students of diverse cultural backgrounds. The requirements of the coursework and student teaching are integrated and are reflected in the student teaching experience. Students will be expected to attend scheduled mentor groups.
12 12 Student Teaching Placement The Office of Clinical Experiences is responsible for making student placements. Students are not allowed to obtain their own student teaching site. In addition, students are not allowed to student teach in a district where they worked, where they attended school, or where their children attend school. All students must adhere to the established placement policy. However, the following exceptions may be considered with appropriate documentation. The first group of exceptions includes those students with special problems*: 1. Medical reasons- Students who have medical reasons for being in a particular center must present evidence from a physician that placement in another center would unduly interfere with medical treatment. 2. Disabilities- Students who have disabling conditions that preclude their placement in another center or in instances where the problems of the students would be exacerbated by placement in an alternative center are eligible for preferential placement. 3. Dependents- Students who are providing care for dependent individuals in their family where the absence of the student would create considerable hardship for the dependent may also be eligible for preferential placement. The fact that there are dependents living in the household such as aged parents, children, spouse, or other relatives is not sufficient reason for preferential placement. The student must demonstrate her/his absence would have an adverse effect upon the care and treatment of those dependents. *Students must indicate their need for special placement consideration at the time they submit their student teaching application in the Department of Special Education office. Student teaching is governed by Office of Clinical Experiences policies as well as those put forward by the Special Education Department. The OCE website can be found at the following address: Alternate Site Student Teaching Placement Student teachers may submit an application to student teach in an alternate site during the first 6 weeks of the student teaching semester. This would include another area of Minnesota, another state, or another country through the Alternate Site Student Teaching process. Students should read specific information regarding Alternate Site policy and procedures prior to submitting the application.
13 13 Once the selections have been made and students have been notified, students have an opportunity to appeal the results of the placement procedure. An Appeals Committee consisting of three Department of Special Education faculty members will consider any particular student appeal. Any further questions regarding this placement process should be directed to the department office. MTLE Licensure Requirement In order to be recommended for Minnesota teacher licensure, teacher candidates must pass pedagogy and content area tests, in addition to the MTLE Basic Skills Tests. It is recommended that special education teacher candidates take the Elementary Education Pedagogy test, although they may choose to take the Secondary Education Pedagogy test. Special Education teacher candidates must take the Special Education Core Skills test, which consists of two subtests. Information regarding MTLE requirements may be obtained from the Office of Clinical Experiences or the MTLE website: Special Education Undergraduate Minor (19 cr.) An application form must be completed in order for students to be admitted to the 19- credit special education minor. Forms are available in the office of the Department of Special Education (EB- A211). The remaining credits required for full licensure may be obtained at the graduate level and can be included as part of a Master's degree program. SPED 203 Special Education Foundations SPED 405 Behavior Theories and Practices in Special Education *SPED 419 Literacy Instruction for Students with Special Needs *Prerequisite: SPED 418 or ED 408 SPED 421 Characteristics of Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders 4 cr. Select two SPED Electives from the following list (SPED 203 is a prerequisite for all elective courses) SPED 411 Special Education Procedural Safeguards SPED 415 Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs SPED 418 General Education Literacy Instruction for Special Educators SPED 420 Characteristics of Students w/ Physical, Health, Developmental Disabilities SPED 431 Collaboration Skills and Transition Planning in Diverse Settings SPED 445 Social/Natural Sciences for Special Educators
14 14 Bachelor of Elective Studies Degree The Bachelor of Elective Studies (BES) degree may be a desirable option for nontraditional students who have taken a significant number of college credits but not enough to declare a major in a particular field. In order to graduate with a BES degree, students must complete the General Education requirements and earn a minimum of 120 semester credits. Students are admitted to the BES degree program in the Office of Continuing Studies, where application forms may be obtained (320) Information about the BES is available at the following address: Students with Disabilities If a student discloses any type of disability, he or she may require accommodations. A planning conference with the student, adviser, and representative from Student Disability Services (320) can be arranged at the student's request. Student Appeals In an attempt to ensure fair treatment of all students, the department has developed a process of decision- making. Students should discuss any problems and/or solutions with their adviser. In the event that a student believes that appropriate consideration has not been rendered, or if the adviser is not able to make a decision unilaterally, he or she may choose to submit a letter of appeal to the Appeals Committee. This committee consists of at least three faculty members who will consider each appeal individually based upon the concerns presented in the appeal letter. If the appeal is denied, the student may then appeal to the Associate Dean of the College of Education. Professional Concerns Process The Department of Special Education has developed a Professional Concerns process to assist in the evaluation and assessment of special education majors who are having difficulty negotiating their undergraduate program. Information regarding the Professional Concerns Process is available in the Department of Special Education office (EB A- 211) or from the student's adviser. When a professional concern has been filed, the candidate must document that the problem has been resolved in order to be eligible for the next phase of the program (Jr. Block, Sr. Block, Student Teaching). Forms for documenting that professional concerns have been addressed are available in the Department of Special Education office (EB A- 211). Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) The goal of the Council for Exceptional Children is to improve educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities. At the University level, SCEC ( works to broaden educational experiences for future educators. SCEC sponsors a variety of activities including speakers, peer advising, social events, and community experiences. Active participation in SCEC is considered an important part of the professional growth and development of future educators.
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