UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new Penn State graduate program prepares special education teachers for certification by Pennsylvania as special education supervisors.
The 15-credit Special Education Supervisory Program for Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Certification will be offered exclusively online by the College of Education through Penn State World Campus, starting in January 2021.
Special education supervisors — as well as special education teachers — are in high demand in Pennsylvania and around the country, said Kathleen McKinnon, lead faculty member for the program.
“The purpose is to prepare professionals, who are already in the field and committed to special ed, to move to the next level,” she said. “It offers very specific, skill-focused content.”
Special education supervisors provide support to special education teachers in their school or district and serve as liaisons to school and district administrators, as well as to community and state agencies and programs.
Teachers entering the program must have three years of teaching experience and will need to have a total of five in order to receive state certification as a supervisor.
McKinnon said she expects most students in the program to have a clear idea of why they are enrolling, whether it is to meet the requirements of a new job or to prepare for advancement in their school district. That creates an extremely motivated group, she said.
Courses in the program include:
Administration, Leadership, and Supervision of Educational Programs for Special Education
Principles, Models, and Practices for Leadership and Supervision in Special Education
Staff Development in Special Education
Students must complete two internships, one of which requires clinical supervision of a working special education teacher. That hands-on, in-school field experience is one of the strengths of the program, said Erin Garthe, program manager for online special education programs in the College of Education.
In addition to successful completion of the program and five years of special education teaching experience, students will need to pass the Pennsylvania Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision exam to apply for certification.