Special Education Overview
The Special Education Program is designed for people seeking or holding special or general education teacher certification who wish to study student exceptionalities, including gifted and talented. There are three concentrations in the Master of Science in Special Education. The Special Education program provides experiences across several disciplines looking beyond just understanding. Students apply learning through projects and assignments that are practical and connected to their professional fields.
Courses offered are fully online, synchronously or asynchronously. For student convenience, courses that meet synchronously are in the evenings or on weekends.
Special Education currently offers four undergraduate courses: (1) SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education (state approved Exceptionality course and Diversity Core course), (2) SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems Support (MTSS) in Education (taken concurrently with EDU 445) , (3) ADS 300 Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities (core course in Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship), and; (4) ADS 400 Disabilities Studies Seminar.
The program has three concentrations:
- Pre-Service (Initial Certification): Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities
This pre-service concentration includes the coursework for an initial special education teaching certificate in teacher of students with disabilities K-8 and 7-12 (Maine 282). Maine initial special education teacher certification requires student teaching. Student teaching is available. The program has two outcomes: (1) USM Master of Science in Special Education, and 2) recommendation for K-8 or 7-12 (282) teacher of students with disabilities. The program has rolling admissions with options to complete toward recommendation for certification in 3, 6 or more semesters and finishing with the Master’s courses. Advising allows for customization of course sequencing to meet individual needs.
- Integrated General Education and Special Education
This concentration in integrated general education and special education is designed for those seeking initial teacher certification in general education and special education. The program has three outcomes: (1) USM Master of Science in Special Education, (2) recommendation for K-8 elementary or 7-12 content area teacher certification, and (3) recommendation for K-8 or 7-12 (282) teacher of students with disabilities. The program begins in May of each year.
- In-Service (Certified Educators): special education, and gifted and talented education
This in-service concentration includes a core set of courses specifically designed for special education teachers or teachers wanting a degree in special education but not the initial 282 certification. The concentration requires teaching in a teaching position and professional teacher certification for entrance.
Special Education Core Values:
- Educators interact with others based on a belief in the infinite possibilities of and for human growth and development; all youth have the potential to learn and express knowledge through their unique styles of acquiring and demonstrating knowledge.
- Educators are responsible for supporting and guiding each student on his/her journey from potentials to performances through personally meaningful, respectful, and accessible pathways.
- Educators create learning opportunities that honor and enhance the gifts and talents of each individual and make possible the contributions of each student to self and to society.
- Educators create learning environments where every child feels welcomed and accepted for their unique attributes, including her/his cultural background, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Educators always use person-first language and thinking; everyone is valued and viewed as a whole person, not strictly by a label or one characteristic.
- Educators use scientifically-based instructional practices to improve the academic achievement and functional performance of children with disabilities (IDEA, Section 1400)
- Educators use multiple assessments and evaluations when measuring students’ successes and abilities and in understanding their needs.
- Educators are collaborative, respectful, and supportive with all educators they come in direct and indirect contact with, including parents, maintenance workers, and administrative assistants.
- Educators base all of their behaviors on the belief that each individual has intrinsic and global value to the evolution of human kind.