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CREC Reauthorized to Administer Advanced Route Special Education Certification Program
Throughout the country, 49 states are reporting a shortage of special education teachers, making the Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement program very important.
The cross endorsement allows certified teachers to earn an additional certification in comprehensive special education. CREC is pleased to offer this program as a way to help school districts, and it is proud to announce that the Connecticut State Department of Education has granted approval for CREC to continue to administer the program for another three years—until 2019.
According to the Connecticut State Department of Education, 27 special education teacher positions in Connecticut could not be filled with qualified applicants during the 2014-2015 school year. This represents an estimated 500 or more students with disabilities who struggled without a certified special education teacher. The Advanced Alternate Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement has helped reduce this crisis shortage area by offering teachers an economical, but rigorous, approach to teaching students with disabilities.
“By recruiting certified teachers, we can focus our curriculum on what makes special education ‘special,’” says Mary-Jo Terranova, a CREC employee and the program’s director.
Melissa Colby, a team leader at Woodbury Middle School, has seen the benefit of CREC’s Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement program.
“The Advanced Route to Certification candidate (hired by the district) came prepared and able to jump in and differentiate,” Colby says. “She was able to work with all our students and demonstrates strong collaboration skills. She knows how to balance the difference between the curriculum and working on IEP (Individualized Education Program) goals and objectives. With a general education background, and now a special education focus, she is highly adept at applying specially designed instruction practices for students with disabilities.”
Learning to meet the educational and legal demands that come with special education can be advantageous for both special education teachers and teachers who remain general education teachers. CREC’s Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement provides an opportunity for all teachers to be better prepared for any situation that comes their way.
“The exceptional training I received in the Advanced Route to Certification program (AARC) has prepared me well—to not only be a special educator, but a more dynamic teacher,” says Russel McCallum, a graduate of the program who is an instructor of English learners at J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford. “I would highly recommend the AARC program to any teacher who wants to learn cutting-edge special education practices and who wants to become a better teacher.”
With a 99 percent job placement rate for graduates, the Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement program’s success can be measured by the number and quality of its candidates. To date, the program has endorsed more than 250 special education teachers. While the retention rate of graduates from more traditional programs is 75 percent, CREC’s Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement program’s graduate retention rate is nearly 100 percent.
Margaret MacDonald, director of CREC’s Technical Assistance and Brokering Services Division, attributes the success of the Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education Cross Endorsement is due to three important factors: high quality faculty and students, the portfolio nature of the program requirements, and accommodations that are made for working adults.
“We are proud to offer this useful, robust program, which is designed with the working teacher in mind,” MacDonald says. “CREC continues to find ways to help Connecticut teachers, and this cross endorsement provides an exciting career ladder for teachers, support to schools, and most important, it makes a difference in the lives of the many students with special needs.”
For more information on the Advanced Route to Certification for Special Education program, contact Mary-Jo Terranova at 860-233-1940 or visit www.crec.org/aarc.