Accelerated UMaine program helping state employees earn special education teaching credentials  – UMaine News

Maine will quickly have extra certified lecturers to serve the state’s youngest residents with particular wants due to a partnership between the College of Maine Faculty of Schooling and Human Growth and Maine Little one Growth Companies (CDS).

The Maine CDS system, which is a part of the Maine Division of Schooling, operates 9 regional websites that provide preschool companies for youngsters and households throughout the state. 

The partnership permits CDS staff to turn out to be licensed as lecturers of scholars with disabilities, beginning to age 5, in simply 9 months. The fast-track program is designed to hurry up the certification course of for these educators, who would in any other case want to finish a four-year undergraduate or two-year graduate diploma to earn particular schooling educating credentials. Maine DOE is overlaying tuition for workers, who will obtain entry to extra assets and mentoring throughout and after this system as effectively.

Sarah Meuse works as an individualized schooling program coordinator at CDS Attain in Portland and is a part of the primary cohort of 13 CDS staff to affix the accelerated program. She was already eager about going again to highschool to earn her certification in early childhood particular schooling, however says she was cautious about taking out loans to take action.

“This system was provided to me by CDS, and it’s free, with the situation that you just proceed to work with youngsters who’ve particular wants after completion,” says Meuse. “That has been my plan, so it was actually an ideal alternative for me.”

Like many states, Maine faces a shortage of certified particular schooling lecturers in any respect ranges, not simply early childhood. Though the problem predates COVID-19, it’s grown because the pandemic as report numbers of educators, each nationally and statewide, have retired or left educating for different careers. 

As soon as she completes the certification program, Meuse says she hopes to proceed to take programs and full a grasp’s in particular schooling with an early intervention focus. She says the courses she’s taken this semester are immediately associated to her present job and have already got offered her with instruments and data that she will be able to use to assist serve the kids, households and fellow educators with whom she works each day. She says the mentoring facet of this system has been particularly worthwhile.

“It offers me a degree of contact when I’ve questions or considerations,” she says. “The mentors present us with details about the programs exterior the certification monitor and preserve us up-to-date on certification necessities from Maine DOE, which may be complicated to navigate with out assist.”

Mentors embody Deborah Rooks-Ellis, former coordinator of graduate applications in particular schooling on the UMaine Faculty of Schooling and Human Growth, and longtime leaders at CDS and Maine DOE. The mentors maintain month-to-month Group of Observe conferences, the place the workers can study extra assets for skilled development, in addition to data on subjects similar to anti-bias schooling, inclusive lecture rooms and advocacy alternatives.

Rooks-Ellis recruited the primary cohort of CDS staff to this system earlier than she left UMaine for Coastal Carolina College initially of the 2022–23 faculty 12 months. She stays concerned within the mission, and Shihfen Tu, director of the College of Studying and Educating within the Faculty of Schooling and Human Growth, says this system will proceed.

“When you could have advanced challenges, just like the scarcity of licensed particular schooling lecturers, you need to get artistic,” says Tu. “We’re proud to work with the state to assist their staff earn certification and acquire the data, expertise and values needed to supply differentiated, evidence-based instruction to Maine’s youngest and most susceptible college students.” 

Analysis exhibits that instructional and social outcomes for college students with particular wants enhance once they obtain early intervention companies like these the CDS staff are studying to supply within the accelerated program. Likewise, lecturers who’re well-prepared are extra happy and have longer careers than those that obtain much less coaching.

Erin Frazier, state director of particular companies and inclusive schooling beginning–22 with Maine DOE, says serving to CDS staff earn certification will make the system stronger.

“We developed this collaboration between the Maine Division of Schooling and the College of Maine as a result of it’s vital to put money into the devoted CDS workers to assist their continued skilled growth as they work diligently to supply preschool companies in Maine,” Frazier says. 

The primary cohort is predicted to be full by Could 2023 with extra cohorts set to start every fall shifting ahead.

Contact: Casey Kelly,

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