Special Education/Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12)

The Master of Arts in Teaching-Special Education program at Mount Holyoke College is a 38-credit program of study leading to licensure in Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12).  We offer a flexible and rigorous program with an innovative curriculum, a strong commitment to social justice and equity, and personalized advising.  Classes are available throughout the year and students taking a full-time course load can complete the program in 12 months, from July to June.  Through practicum experiences in area schools, students will have opportunities to work closely with local special educators and to explore multiple aspects of special education in a range of settings. This program is designed for current teachers and those interested in pursuing a new career path, as most class meetings occur after K-12 school hours.

 

Summer Session: 6 credits

X.SPED-441: Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Learners (2 credits)

This course will address the design and modification of curriculum, instructional materials, and general education classroom environments for students with moderate disabilities.  Students will learn ways to prepare and maintain students with disabilities to succeed in general education classrooms, to monitor academic and behavioral progress, and to make instructional decisions accordingly. Students will experiment with a variety of technological tools for teaching PreK-12 such as applications and web-based tools that for student engagement and progress monitoring.  Coverage will include instruction on assistive technology, including AAC, to support students with disabilities to learn in the least restrictive environment.

 

X.SPED-481: Special Education Law: Transitions, Collaboration, and Applications (2 credits)

This course will review state and federal laws and regulations governing Special Education and their implications, including preparation, implementation and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), knowledge of transition services and services provided by other agencies, strategies for building and maintaining collaborative partnerships with team members, the role of families in advocacy and planning, and cultural variables that influence school culture and accessibility.


X.SPED-426: The Inclusive Classroom (2 credits)

This course surveys the etiology, diagnosis, and remediation of learning differences including dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and autism, as well as other factors that influence a child's readiness to learn. Students present, discuss, question, and exchange ideas that contribute to an overall understanding of special education across settings and age levels. With an emphasis on inclusion in schools, students explore the impact of current policies, assessments, and practices. Students will have the opportunity to examine and practice applying interventions and approaches that support student engagement and prosocial behavior.  The focus is on adapting the learning environment, classroom structures, and teaching approach so that all children, regardless of learning strengths and needs, are supported to reach their potential and achieve meaningful goals.

 

Fall Semester: 16 credits

X.SPED-421: Assistive Technology for Special Education (1 credit)

This course explores provides an introduction to teaching with technology and, more specifically, how assistive technologies can be used by individuals with disabilities, PreK-12, to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Students will have the opportunity to explore a range of devices, applications, software, etc. that enhance access to academic and non-academic learning in schools.  Course assignments will help students develop an understanding of how to assess student assistive technology needs, employ and monitor interventions, and improve teaching through the use of technology. 

 

X.EDUC-461: Developing Literacy in Elementary Classrooms (4 credits)

Through a balanced and integrated approach, students will learn to develop literacy in elementary schools. Class members will learn about emergent literacy, diagnosing language needs, integrating phonics skills in a literature-based program, the teaching of process writing, children's fiction and nonfiction literature, the use of multiple forms of assessment, and the effective use of data to inform instruction. Course evaluation is based on written and oral work done individually and in groups. Requires a pre-practicum.

 

X.EDUC-463: Teaching English Language Learners: Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement for Pre-Service Post-Bac MAT Teachers (4 credits)

This course is designed to support K-12 teachers in designing curriculum, instruction, and assessments for the growing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) assigned to content area classrooms in American Schools.  There is a need for all teachers to develop a critical ability to teach disciplinary literacies to all students, including ELLs, former ELLs, and speakers of non-dominant varieties of English in the context of high stakes school reform.  To achieve this goal, students will: learn about language and literacy development from a sociocultural perspective (including how this perspective contrasts with other views in the field); observe and reflect on the schooling experiences and literacy practices of ELL students; learn about critical language-based pedagogies; and develop a curricular unit that supports students’ academic literacy development as part of content teaching.  This course is designed to be in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s RETELL standards (Rethinking the Teaching of English Language Learners), and students who successfully complete this course will be recommended to the state for SEI endorsement.

 

X.EDUC-470: Developing Math/Science/Technology Instruction and Curriculum (4 credits)

Students will learn about inquiry based math/science curriculum and use of technology in the classroom. They will construct more extensive understandings of math/science instruction by exploring math and science activities with their peers. All students will also develop lessons (for inclusive settings AND substantially separate settings) that implement the PreK-8 Massachusetts Frameworks, incorporating the Common Core State Standards for Massachusetts. Because students take this course while working in PreK-12 classrooms, they will practice implementing knowledge and skills in inclusive and substantially separate settings.  Emphasis will be on learning diverse management and instructional practices, such as the use of manipulatives, problem solving, cooperative learning, and project based learning, all of which support learning for students with and without special needs. Students who are pursuing moderate disabilities licensure at the 5-12 level will complete assignments targeting the use of such strategies and practices at the Middle and High School level.  Through these course assignments, students will become more adept at developing effective approaches to using assessment to guide instruction.

  

X.SPED-447: Assessment and Instruction for Learners with Special Needs (3 credits)

In this class, students will examine legal policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment related to special education referral, eligibility, and placement for individuals with exceptionalities, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Through course activities students learn to: administer psychoeducational and achievement tests; explore formal and informal assessments that minimize bias; interpret results and use data to guide educational decisions for individuals with exceptionalities; make collaborative, data-based decisions with and about learners; monitor the learning progress of individuals with exceptionalities.

 

January: 2 credits

X.SPED-471: Legal Perspectives in Special Education (1 credit)

This course will review state and federal laws and regulations that represent the requirements for special education. Participants will be introduced to concepts including educational terminology for students with mild to moderate disabilities; preparation, implementation, and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); review of federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to special education and the history of special education.

 

X.SPED-416: Interventions for Behavior and Classroom Management (1 credit)

In this course students will review research, theories, and practices for responding to challenging behavior. Topics will include establishing effective rules and procedures, classroom- and school-wide behavior management systems, and approaches for addressing individual student behavior and developing relationships with children and support professionals to improve behavior across settings.

 

 

Spring Semester: 14 credits

During the spring, students complete a full-time, semester-long student teaching semester (the practicum) as well as a weekly seminar in which they reflect on their developing practice. Students also begin to explore the job market, participate in practice interviews, attend job market fairs, and meet with Career Development Center staff. Upon successful completion of the semester, students are institutionally recommended by the institution for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

X.Sped 422: Practicum Seminar in Teaching and Learning for Moderate Disabilities Licensure (PreK – 8) (4 credits)

This weekly seminar provides students with opportunities to design and discuss case studies involving children PreK-8 with mild and moderate disabilities in school settings, review research-based models of instruction, and classroom management, and engage in dialogue with professionals regarding numerous aspects of teaching and student learning. Additional topics covered include implementation of the following: educational terminology for students with mild and moderate disabilities, preparation and implementation of IEPs, curriculum design and modification, inclusive practices, use of assistive technology, approaches to developing a positive classroom climate and addressing challenging behavior, collaboration with other agencies, and the legal regulations governing special education.  In addition, seminars will include discussion of best practices for educating English language learners and for developing effective communication between home and school.

 

-OR-

 

X.Sped 433: Practicum Seminar in Teaching and Learning for Moderate Disabilities Licensure (5-12) (4 credits)

This weekly seminar provides students with opportunities to design and discuss case studies involving children grades 5-12 with mild and moderate disabilities in school settings, review research-based models of instruction, and classroom management, and engage in dialogue with professionals regarding numerous aspects of teaching and student learning. Additional topics covered include implementation of the following: educational terminology for students with mild and moderate disabilities, preparation and implementation of IEPs, curriculum design and modification, inclusive practices, use of assistive technology, approaches to developing a positive classroom climate and addressing challenging behavior, collaboration with other agencies, and the legal regulations governing special education.  In addition, seminars will include discussion of best practices for educating English language learners and for developing effective communication between home and school.

 

X.Sped 423: Student Teaching in Inclusive and Substantially Separate Classrooms for Students PreK-8 with Moderate Disabilities (10 credits)

Teacher Candidates (TC) undertake full-time supervised student teaching in PreK-8 classrooms serving students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities. TCs complete the student teaching under the supervision of teachers licensed in Moderate Disabilities who teach students in substantially separate and inclusive settings.  Because TCs are placed full time from January through June, their placement will include over 600 hours of experience, roughly two-thirds of which will occur in inclusive settings and one-third in a substantially separate setting. This well exceeds that state requirements. Group seminars and individual conferences to discuss issues of classroom practice. Evaluation of performance is determined by on-site visits and by written assignments. This course is graded on a credit/no credit basis. Successful completion of the course is verified based on satisfactory submission of the CAP requirements for licensure preparation.

 

-OR-

 

X.Sped 431: Student Teaching in Inclusive and Substantially Separate Classrooms for Students 5-12 with Moderate Disabilities (10 credits)

Teacher Candidates (TC) undertake full-time supervised student teaching in 5-12 classrooms serving students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities. TCs complete the student teaching under the supervision of teachers licensed in Moderate Disabilities who teach students in substantially separate and inclusive settings.  Because TCs are placed full time from January through June, their placement will include over 600 hours of experience, roughly two-thirds of which will occur in inclusive settings and one-third in a substantially separate setting. This well exceeds that state requirements. Group seminars and individual conferences to discuss issues of classroom practice. Evaluation of performance is determined by on-site visits and by written assignments. This course is graded on a credit/no credit basis. Successful completion of the course is verified based on satisfactory submission of the CAP requirements for licensure preparation.