Further Your Career With a Teacher of Students With Disabilities Certificate

Teachers try their best to reach every student, but it’s not always that easy. There is no “one size fits all” approach to instruction, and experts understand now more than ever the vastness of the spectrum of student needs.

That’s why differentiation is paramount. First, though, we must understand how differentiation and special education work together. Differentiated instruction changes the “how” learning and assessment happens for the whole class but not the “what” of learning and assessment. In special education, educators can also change the “what” with individualized goals, but it is specific to the individual student to address their personal goals and needs. Differentiation is used with whole groups of students to give them a chance to demonstrate learning in ways that most benefit them.

As Houghton Mifflin Harcourt notes, “differentiated instruction for special education students is the same as it is for general education students. Teachers vary their instructional strategies so students can master the general education curriculum.”

When teachers tier their lessons, activities and assessments and embed different levels of support, they can more effectively engage with the diversity of students and their needs. Still, effective differentiation strategies are challenging to create, so educators benefit from additional training on best practices for implementation.

This concept is magnified for teachers who work with students with disabilities. Students with disabilities need various means of support. Disabilities come in many forms, and even the initial identification of students with disabilities can be challenging.

The Importance and Purpose of Certification

To effectively guarantee appropriate access to educational content, teachers need to be able to accommodate the needs of all students with disabilities. To accomplish this, these teachers usually work with teachers of students with disabilities.

Another reason for required continued training is that teachers of students with disabilities often take part in individualized education programs (IEPs), which are unique accommodations and goals for a single student. These legal documents require a great deal of planning and regular meetings, and teachers of students with disabilities impact IEPs, as do the students, counselors, parents and other parties.

IEPs are just one of many legal considerations that come with ensuring an equitable educational experience for students with disabilities. Additional certifications and training for teachers help ensure safety and security for all parties involved in the instruction and learning process.

Attach a TSD Endorsement to Your CEAS or Standard Teaching License

The online Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education with a concentration in Teacher of Students with Disabilities program from William Paterson University (WP) is an ideal fit for teachers seeking an endorsement to attach to their CEAS or Standard New Jersey license.

Throughout the program, students will learn contemporary, adaptive practices for supporting students with disabilities. This includes effective classroom organization and management. Students will also learn how to cultivate a collaborative dynamic among schools, students, parents, administrators, counselors and other stakeholders.

WP’s MEd program aligns to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) High Leverage Practices for Students with Disabilities as per the recommendation of the CED. According to its website, the CEC is “the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.” It helps establish government policy and professional education standards to guide the learning of students with disabilities and other exceptional students. The CEC’s stated goals include advocacy for exceptional students and the teachers who instruct them, professional development for those teachers, promotion of DEI and accessibility initiatives, and building networks, partnerships and communities.

In New Jersey, recipients of a TSD Endorsement must also have a “CEAS or standard NJ instructional certificate” for the grade level or subject area taught to students with disabilities. Certification recipients can “provide consultative services and supportive resource programs including modification and adaptation of curriculum and instruction to students with disabilities in general education programs in grades preschool through 12.”

Special education professionals in New Jersey will can be confident they are needed. According to a local news source, like other states, New Jersey is facing a teacher shortage. It notes: “Bilingual education teachers and teachers of English as a second language, foreign languages, mathematics, science and special education have had shortages in New Jersey since the early 2000s.” Because of this, The Education Law Center urged the state’s Department of Education to “start collecting and publicly releasing data about staffing vacancies” and to build a task force with expertise in special education and bilingual education, since students in those areas are the most highly affected.

About WP’s Online Teacher of Students With Disabilities Program

The coursework and experiences in WP’s program will prepare teachers of students with disabilities for the special demands that accompany teaching students with disabilities. Topics include a deep dive into the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. In the Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology course, students learn how to write IEP goals and specially designed instruction practices. Core courses, such as the Special Education Law course and the Current Issues in Special Education course, also examine special education law and issues in special education.

Will a well-rounded curriculum like that in WP’s program, graduates are well equipped with skills in special education to be successful teachers of students with disabilities.

Learn more about William Paterson University’s online MEd in Special Education – Teacher of Students with Disabilities program.

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