Online Special Education Degree Program

The Master of Education, Special Education Program (Adaptive) at Southwestern College Professional Studies is designed for those who wish to earn a license in teaching special education. A core of 33 hours in a 36-hour program is required for the degree. Learners may apply for a special education, adaptive endorsement to an existing teaching license for grades K-6. A special education, adaptive endorsement to an existing license for grades 6-12 requires completion of 33 hours and passing scores on the ETS Praxis assessment required by the state.

This Special Education degree in Kansas is offered completely online. Two on-ground adaptive special education practicums are also required. Enrollment occurs every 6 or 12 weeks, as courses are 6 and 12 weeks long.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

The TEACH grant is offered to students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas such as special education for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families.

The grant provides full-time undergraduates, graduates and post-graduate teacher certification students with up to $4,000 per year. Graduate students of our program pursuing a Special Education degree in Kansas or online may receive up to $8,000. Learn how to apply for the TEACH grant now by contacting an admissions counselor today for more information.

Program Contact:

Christine Rogers, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Christine.Rogers@sckans.edu
(620) 229-6053

Program Outcomes

  1. The educator will work with students with adaptive learning needs and demonstrates an understanding of philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of education and special education.
  2. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs demonstrates an understanding of learners’ diversity and provides support for students’ cognitive, physical, social, emotional and career development.
  3. The educator of students with adaptive special education needs demonstrates assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation knowledge and skills.
  4. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs demonstrates knowledge and skill in planning and implementing effective instruction based upon knowledge of the subject matter, student, community, and curriculum goals.
  5. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs promotes learning by providing planned, orderly, supportive environments that encourage participation of individuals with adaptive learning needs.
  6. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs demonstrates knowledge and skill in managing behavior, facilitating problem-solving, developing social skills and promoting self-advocacy of students with adaptive learning needs.
  7. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs demonstrates effective communication and collaboration skills and knowledge related to individuals with adaptive learning needs.
  8. The educator of students with adaptive learning needs demonstrates professionalism and ethical knowledge.

Required Courses

(Core Curriculum) In Education:

EDUC 514 Introduction to Special Education: IEP development (1 credit hour)
EDUC 522 Instructional Strategies: Behavior Difficulties
EDUC 523 Instructional Strategies: Learning Difficulties
EDUC 524 Introduction to Special Education (2 credit hours)
EDUC 525 Collaboration with Parents and Professionals
EDUC 526 Classroom Management/Behavior Modification
EDUC 535 Assessment Strategies
EDUC 558 Practicum in Adaptive Special Education: Initial
EDUC 559 Practicum in Adaptive Special Education: Capstone

Research requirements

(the following two courses are required for degree)
EDUC 511 Research Methodologies
EDUC 531 Field-Based Research Block 1

Electives (choose a total of 9 hours)

EDUC 529 Legal Issues in Special Education
EDUC 532 Technology in Special Education
EDUC 533 Language in Development and Disorders
EDUC 534 Transitions in Education
EDUC 549 The Multicultural Classroom
EDUC 555 Topics in Education (1 credit hour)

All classes are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.
Successful completion of a program portfolio will be required for this major. The information and documents in the portfolio will demonstrate that the student has met KSDE as well as national standards (Common Core of Knowledge and Skills Essential for All Beginning Special Education Teachers from the Council for Exceptional Children) for special education teaching. Additionally, those desiring to be licensed in Kansas must complete the ETS national assessment in mild disabilities.

The KSDE approved and NCATE accredited Teacher Education Program offered by Southwestern College provides study and practice of the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions for obtaining a teaching license. In addition to successfully completing the program of study, each student is required to take and pass one or more KSDE identified licensure exam(s) at or above the level of performance specified by KSDE. With successful completion of the teacher education program of study as well as passing the required licensure exam(s), Southwestern College will be able to recommend the successful student for a specific teaching license or endorsement.

If not applying to teach in the state of Kansas, please check with your state’s department of education for specific licensure testing requirements.

Course Descriptions

EDUC 514 Introduction to Special Education: IEP development

Course will provide training in the procedures for developing high quality individual education plans for students with disabilities, based on state curriculum standards and meeting all of the requirements of state and federal special education laws and regulations. (This course can be taken in conjunction with EDUC 524 Introduction to Special Education.) (1 credit hour)

EDUC 523 Instructional Strategies: Learning Difficulties

The purpose of this course is to study the theories, content, methods, and materials for delivery of instruction to students with academic problems, to utilize evaluation procedures to deliver individualized instruction to students, to modify curriculum materials, and to develop instructional materials for use with students with academic difficulties.

EDUC 524 Introduction to Special Education

This course is designed to provide an overview of the characteristics of students with adaptive level disabilities. Emphasis will be on the practical and legal requirements of providing educational services to these students, including an introduction to instruction, accommodations, least restrictive environment, collaboration, and technology for classroom accommodations. (2 credit hours)

EDUC 558 Practicum in Adaptive Special Education: Initial

This is a field-based course relating theory to application. Students will be placed in settings where they will obtain experiences working with students with mild disabilities. Students will be required to complete a case study on providing educational services to a single child, document practical work experience in a special education classroom, and begin developing their practicum portfolio, which will be completed in the final practicum. (1.5 credit hours)

EDUC 522 Instructional Strategies: Behavior Difficulties

The purpose of this course is to study the theories, content, methods, and materials for delivery of instruction to students with behavior disorders, to utilize evaluation procedures to deliver individualized instruction to students, to modify curriculum materials, and to develop instructional materials for use with students with behavior disorders.

EDUC 525 Collaboration with Parents and Professionals

This course focuses on the techniques of collaboration with general education teachers, parents, other professionals, and para-educators in providing appropriate educational services to exceptional children of all ages. The course will explore instructional approaches that allow all students to be educated in inclusive settings.

EDUC 526 Classroom Management

The purpose of this course is to provide special and general education teachers, as well as administrators, with knowledge and skills in classroom management strategies. It focuses on the organizational, instructional, and behavioral interventions that are implemented so that students with adaptive learning needs will benefit from the provided curriculum.

EDUC 529 Legal Issues in Special Education

The focus of this course is on the legal and professional issues in special education. It will include an in-depth study of special education laws and their impact on programs for exceptional children and youth.

EDUC 535 Assessment Strategies

This course focuses on the use of observation, interview and record review to assess students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Students will learn basic information about the administration and interpretation of a variety of assessments and learn effective curriculum-based assessment to establish present levels of academic achievement and functional performance and to assess student progress.

EDUC 559 Practicum in Adaptive Special Education: Capstone

This is a field-based course relating theory to application. Students will be placed in settings where they will obtain experiences working with students with adaptive level disabilities. A second case study will be completed and students will also complete the practicum portfolio. This course is to be completed after all courses for licensure have been completed.

EDUC 532 Technology in Special Education

This course is designed to provide an introduction to language disorders. Designed for classroom teachers, it provides an overview of language development and language disorders, the development of literacy, the relationship between language disorders and learning disabilities, and language as it affects academic areas.

EDUC 533 Language Development and Disorders

This course is designed to provide an introduction to language disorders. Designed for classroom teachers, it provides an overview of language development and language disorders, the development of literacy, the relationship between language disorders and learning disabilities, and language as it affects academic areas.

EDUC 534 Transitions in Education

The focus of this course is on the theoretical constructs and practical considerations in programming for students with disabilities from the preschool through the secondary and post-secondary level.

EDUC 549 Race, Class and Power in Schools

Students will explore theoretical frameworks for understanding cultural difference as it impacts teaching and learning in the classroom. They will examine ways to provide equity in education for all students.

EDUC 555 Topics in Education

The 555x courses will be available in the summer primarily as topics of special interest or independent study courses with approval of the coordinator of the special education program. (1 credit hour)

EDUC 512 Action Research

This course will introduce students to action research , a form of self-reflective systematic inquiry by practitioners on their own practice. The primary objective of the course is to prepare students to do action research in schools. There are three other goals: 1) the development of professional community; 2) the illumination of power relationships; and 3) students’ recognition of their own expertise.

EDUC 531 Field-Based Research Block

For this course students implement the action research projects developed in EDUC 512 Action Research. Special emphasis will be placed on issues related to curriculum and learner outcomes. In most cases, student will complete the research project in their own work setting.

Admission Requirements

The M.Ed., with a major in special education program is open to persons who are licensed to teach, or eligible for licensure, in Kansas. To be admitted into the M.Ed., with a major in special education program, candidates must submit the following:

Southwestern College Professional Studies Graduate Program Application form- Application forms are accepted on an ongoing basis. No application admission fee is charged. Complete the online application

Official transcripts of all prior college/university coursework- Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a grade point average of 2.75 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

Print a copy of the transcript request form and mail the request to the institution which awarded your bachelor’s degree.

Two confidential letters of recommendation- using the Graduate Recommendation Form (at least one from a current or former employer).

A one page Admissions Essay explaining why applicant wants to be a special education teacher – submit your written statement electronically to graduate@sckans.edu or via mail or fax to 316.688.5218.

Resume

Applicants should have at least three years of professional work experience.

Students applying to pursue the major in special education must meet these additional requirements:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree in elementary or secondary education
  • Have a valid teaching certificate for the level for which they are seeking special education certification
  • Have successfully completed a course in survey of exceptionalities

All international learners must show evidence of their English language ability by providing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) report. A score of 550 (paper test) or 213 (computer-based test) on the TOEFL is considered the minimum acceptable for admission to the M.Ed. program.

Applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees from a U.S. institution or from an institution in another English-only speaking country will receive a waiver of the TOEFL. Applicants who are from native English speaking countries are not required to take the TOEFL.

Admission requirements may differ for international learners, or for learners whose undergraduate degrees were awarded outside of the United States. Please contact an admissions counselor for more details.

In addition to the above, it is recommended that candidates have a working knowledge of word processing and presentation software.

A candidate’s file must be complete before an admissions decision may be made. It is the responsibility of each candidate to provide all of the information requested above. Candidates will receive a letter of admission to the program.

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