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Special Education (K-12)

Students in the special education major are provided engaging opportunities to develop strategies to meet the needs of all students.

Students in the special education major are provided engaging opportunities to develop strategies to meet the needs of all students.

About The Program

Unique features of the Teacher Education Program include a rigorous, comprehensive liberal arts education, early and multiple field experiences, strong mentoring by faculty and staff, and career assistance through the Career Development & Internship Program in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. The state-accredited VWU Teacher Education Program is approved by the Virginia Board of Education and reviewed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Leads to endorsement in: Special Education (K-12) 
Chair: Dr. William McConnell


Students completing a major in Special Education must complete required Core and Pre-admission Coursework which is specifically aligned to meet competencies recommended in the Virginia Board of Education’s Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia. These courses provide aspiring teachers a broad-based foundational knowledge in the liberal arts which they will apply in the professional education courses within their major.

Students seeking to major in Special Education must complete the following requirements to be admitted into the major on the licensure track.

  1. Complete and submit Teacher Education Program Application.
  2. Submit passing scores on VWU Math Competency Assessment.
  3. Submit passing scores on Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA).
  4. Successfully complete pre-admission courses with a grade of C or above.
  5. Achieve the required average ratings (stated in Candidate Handbook) on the VWU Dispositional Survey for Educators.
  6. Achieve cumulative GPA of at least 2.8 by December of Sophomore year.

Required Core Coursework for in Special Education

Course Number and Title

Semester Hours

BIO 100: The World of Biology

4

ENG 222: Teaching Grammar and Writing

4

ENG 317: Children’s Literature

4

GEOG 111: Physical Geography

4

HIST 243: World History to A.D. 1600

4

HIST 247: History of the United States

4

MBE 100: Introduction to Economics

4

MATH 325: Theory of Elementary Mathematics I

4

MATH 326: Theory of Elementary Mathematics II

4

PHSC 100: Introduction to Physical Science

4

Course in natural science as approved by academic advisor

4

Total Hours Required:

44

Required Pre-Admission Coursework for Special Education

Course Number And Title

Semester Hours

INST 202: The School and Society

4

EDUC 225: Characteristics of the Learner

4

EDUC 266: Classroom Management and Teaching Strategies

4

Total Hours Required:

12

Special Education Program: General Curriculum (K-12)

Course Number and Title

Semester Hours

EDUC 320: Teaching Reading & Language Arts I

4

EDUC 321: Teaching Reading and the Language Arts II

4

SPED 384: Curriculum and Instruction K-12

4

SPED 385: Practicum in Special Education

1

SPED 371: Foundations/Legal Issues in Special Education

4

SPED 376: Assessment and Management of Instruction in Special Education

4

SPED 382 Transitions in Special Education

2

SPED 438: Special Education for Pre-service Teachers I

8

SPED 439 Special Education for Pre-service Teachers II

8

Total Hours Required:

39


Special Education Courses (SPED)

371  Foundations/Legal/Ethical Issues in Education (4)
Provides an introduction and overview of the field of special education including the definition, identification, and characteristics of those that are disabled. Students with ADHD and gifted abilities are emphasized. Also includes historical perspectives, models, theories, and trends that provide the basis for general and special education practice including the dynamic influence of the family system, cultural/environmental milieu pertinent to students, the understanding of ethical issues, and the practice of acceptable standards of professional behavior. Students taking this course will also gain an understanding of the legal aspects, regulatory requirements, and expectations associated with identification, education, and evaluation of all students. The rights and responsibilities of parents, students, and schools will also be a focus of this course. Prerequisite: consent only. Offered every fall.

376  Assessment and Management of Instruction in Special Education (4)
Designed to support the understanding of assessment as an ongoing part of instruction that is continuously analyzed and adjusted. Students demonstrate the use of assessment to design and adjust instruction that relies on research-based practices and uses multiple approaches to meet the needs of all children. Focuses on collaboration styles, roles, and specially designed instruction. The concepts of assistive technology, transition-related IEP goals, universally-designed lesson plans, and specially- designed instruction is applied throughout the course. Prerequisite: SPED 371 and consent. Offered on demand.

382  Transition in Special Education (2)
This course prepares students to work with families and community service providers to support students with disabilities throughout the K-12 educational experience. Covers postsecondary training, employment, and independent living; including long-term planning, career development, life skills, community experiences and resources, self-advocacy and self- determination, guardianship, and legal considerations. Students learn to collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, and personnel from community agencies. Prerequisite: consent only. Offered on demand.

384  Curriculum and Instruction K-12 (4)
Provides teachers with strategies to teach special education students in inclusive settings. Teachers increase their knowledge of proven practices, instructional decision-making, and confidence in their ability to meet the needs of all students in the K-12 classrooms. Students gain skills in identifying the characteristics of special needs students, understanding the IEP process, collaborating with other professionals and parents, then relating this information to assessment and instruction in the general education classroom K-12. Skills in this course contribute to an understanding of the principles of learning, the application of skills in discipline-specific methodology, communication processes, selection and use of materials including media and computers, and evaluation of pupil performance including interpreting and analyzing valid assessments to make teaching decisions. Prerequisite: SPED 371 and consent. Corequisite: SPED 385. Offered on demand.

385  Curriculum and Instruction K-12 Practicum (1)
Provides an opportunity for candidates to observe and teach in an inclusion classroom at the middle or high school levels. Placements are in diverse school settings. The student must request a placement from the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences early in the registration process. Prerequisite: consent only. Course Fee: $27. Offered on demand.

438  Special Education Pre-service Teaching I (8)
A student teaching experience in grades K-6. Placements are in diverse school settings. Candidates must submit application for placement to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences the semester prior to student teaching. Includes an integrated seminar. Prerequisite: Consent only. Offered every semester.

439  Special Education Pre-service Teaching II (8)
A student teaching experience in grades 6-12. Placements are in diverse school settings. Candidates must submit application for placement to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences the semester prior to student teaching. Includes an integrated seminar. Prerequisite: Consent only. Offered every semester.

465  Special Education Pre-service Teaching I (4)
A student teaching experience in grades K-6. Placements are in diverse school settings. Candidates must submit application for placement to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences the semester prior to student teaching. Includes an integrated seminar. Prerequisite: VWU degree. Consent only. Offered every semester.

466  Special Education Pre-service Teaching II (4)
A student teaching experience in grades 6-12. Placements are in diverse school settings. Candidates must submit application for placement to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences the semester prior to student teaching. Includes an integrated seminar. Prerequisite: VWU degree. Consent only. Offered every semester.

View the Undergraduate Candidate Handbook to learn more about the Elementary, Special Education, and Education Studies programs here at VWU. VWU also has a Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) that leads to teaching endorsement in one of 13 areas and an M.Ed. for licensed teachers.