Jul 20, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
Fitchburg State University 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Initial Licensure Program Concentration, M.Ed


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This program prepares graduates to work with students with severe disabilities at all levels (ages 3 - 22).

Program Chair


Jescah Apamo-Gannon, Ph.D.

MEd—Special Education


Graduate Committee

Lyndsey Benharris, PhD, Co-chair

Danette Day, EdD

Robert Shapiro, PhD, BCBA-D

Annette Sullivan, EdD

Program Description

The Education Department has developed a variety of innovative master’s programs to meet special education teacher candidate and PreK-12 district needs.

The MEd in Special Education programs are designed to prepare candidates for careers in teaching students with disabilities. The degree offers students preparation in one of four program areas:

  • Teacher of students with moderate disabilities: PreK-8 or 5-12 (Initial Licensure)
  • Teacher of students with severe disabilities, all levels: (Initial Licensure)
  • Reading Specialist (Initial Licensure), CAGS degree, M.Ed Initial Licensure and Non-licensure concentrations and Initial Licensure Certificate
  • Guided Studies (Professional Licensure, Individualized Concentration, and Individualized Concentration/Dyslexia Specialist)

Admissions Standards and Criteria

To apply for enrollment in a Master of Education in Special Education Program leading to initial licensure, a student must submit documents as outlined in the Graduate Admission section, as well as:

  • Applicants to graduate initial licensure teacher preparation programs must successfully complete the literacy and communication subtests of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and submit passing scores as part of their application.
  • In addition, students must successfully pass the appropriate content exam(s) of the MTEL prior to the practicum experience as follows:
    • Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8)—Foundations of Reading Test; General Curriculum Multi-subject and Math subtests
    • Moderate Disabilities (5-12)—Foundations of Reading Test; General Curriculum Multi-subject and Math subtests or a content specific test (e.g. English, History, Math)
    • Severe Disabilities (All)—General Curriculum Multi-subject and Math subtests
    • Reading Specialist (All)—Reading Specialist

For the most current information regarding licensure requirements for teacher preparation programs, contact the Educator Licensure Office at (978) 665-3239

  • Personal Statement

Students must complete an essay of no more than one page in response to one of the following questions/statement:

  1. Tell about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
  2. What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
  3. Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping role.
  • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
  • What did you do in that particular situation?
  • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
  • How do you feel about the situation now?
  • What would you change, if anything?

 

Program Requirements

Students interested in the master’s program may be required to take prerequisite courses depending on their previous course work and/or teaching certificate(s).

Prerequisite courses may include:

Course in Child Psychology or Human Growth and Development (any level)

Be sure to check with your advisor to determine appropriate prerequisite courses.

Special Education Learning Outcomes For All Programs


All Teacher Candidates will meet the following Professional Standards for Teachers:

  • Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an on-going basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.
  • Teaching All Students standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency.
  • Family and Community Engagement standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.
  • Professional Culture standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice.

Teacher candidates from Fitchburg State University will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following subject-matter knowledge standards:

  • Support the integration of standards for literacy across the content areas as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework. 
  • Apply basic principles and concepts for digital literacy and computer science in Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, and Computing Systems as outlined in the 2016 Digital Literacy Computer Science Framework. 
  • Apply the theories of cognitive, social, emotional, language, and physical development from childhood through adolescence.
  • Understand the characteristics and instructional implications of moderately and severely disabling conditions. 
  • Apply special education policies and procedures.
  • Support English learners through English learner education instruction. 

In addition to the standards above, each program has specific subject-matter knowledge standards that teacher candidates must meet.

Program Learning Outcomes


All Teacher Candidates will meet the following Professional Standards for Teachers:

  • Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an on-going basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.
  • Teaching All Students standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency.
  • Family and Community Engagement standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.
  • Professional Culture standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice.
  • Teacher candidates from Fitchburg State University will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following subject-matter knowledge standards:

  • Support the integration of standards for literacy across the content areas as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework. 
  • Apply basic principles and concepts for digital literacy and computer science in Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, and Computing Systems as outlined in the 2016 Digital Literacy Computer Science Framework. 
  • Apply the theories of cognitive, social, emotional, language, and physical development from childhood through adolescence.
  • Understand the characteristics and instructional implications of moderately and severely disabling conditions. 
  • Apply special education policies and procedures.
  • Support English learners through English learner education instruction. 
  • Teachers of Students with Severe Disabilities should demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

  • Definitions, etiologies, and characteristics of severely disabling conditions.
  • Theories, concepts, and methods of assessing physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development in children and adolescents.
  • Theories of language development and the effects of disabilities on learning.
  • Preparation, implementation, and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
  • How to design or modify curriculum, instructional materials, and classroom environments for students with severe disabilities.
  • Ways to prepare and maintain students with severe disabilities for general education classrooms. For example, use of behavioral management principles.
  • Knowledge of services provided by other agencies.
  • Knowledge of appropriate vocational or alternative school programs, or work-study and community- based opportunities and alternative high school programs and how to refer students to them.
  • Federal and state laws pertaining to special education.
  • Techniques for developing skills designed to facilitate placement in least-restrictive environments.
  • Instruction on the appropriate use of augmentative and alternative communication and other assistive technologies.
  • Source and operation of orthotic devices, medical technologies, and computer-moderated prosthetic devices.
  • Reading
    • Reading theory, research, and practice.
    • Knowledge of the significant theories, practices, and programs for developing reading skills and reading comprehension.
    • Phonemic awareness and phonics: principles, knowledge, and instructional practices.
    • Diagnosis and assessment of reading skills using standardized, criterion-referenced, and informal assessment instruments.
    • Development of a listening, speaking, and reading vocabulary.
    • Theories on the relationships between beginning writing and reading.
    • Theories of first and second language acquisition and development.
  • In addition to the standards above, each program has specific subject-matter knowledge standards that teacher candidates must meet.

Program of Study


Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities: Initial Licensure Program


Required Courses


Total for Degree: 42 Credits


 Note: Students who have completed the Initial Licensure Program for Teachers of Students with Severe Disabilities who would like information on adding a license in Moderate Disabilities should contact Dr. Anne Howard.

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course


Prior to completion of the program of study, initial licensure candidates are required to take the Fitchburg State University ESE-approved SEI course, if needed, in order to be endorsed for licensure.  Please note that SEI endorsement occurs following the completion of the program, not before. Please note that the DESE requires that the SEI course include at least 30 contact hours face-to-face to meet their requirements.

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