The Special Education program in the Department of Special Education and Early Childhood Studies at Boise State University seeks to better prepare teachers at the pre-service and in-service levels to more effectively serve all K-12 students, with special emphasis on those students with disabilities. To this end the program has three primary functions.
The first of these is to enable all elementary and secondary education majors to better understand, accept, appreciate, and meet the instructional needs of the diverse learners who are part of the general education classrooms of today. To do this, the program offers a variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that provide an overview of exceptionality and special education programs. The second function is to prepare highly qualified special educators who will move into specialized instructional roles in public school settings. At the completion of their special education teacher preparation programs, these professionals are recommended for the Idaho Standard Exceptional Child Certificate Generalist K-12, and are certified to teach K-12 students with disabilities. These professionals will be prepared to provide services to both students with disabilities and to their families, to facilitate their students’ participation in inclusive public school settings, and to collaborate with general educators and other support staff in meeting the needs of all learners.
The Special Education program offers two options culminating in the B.A. in Special Education degree. Option 1, offering dual certification in special education and in elementary education, is designed to prepare highly qualified special educators with maximum professional flexibility in working in both general and special education settings. This program results in K-8 Elementary Education certification as well as the K-12 Idaho Generalist Endorsement on the Standard Exceptional Child Certificate. Option 2 is designed for educators with professional interest in both special education and early childhood/early childhood special education studies. This program results in the K-12 Idaho Generalist Endorsement on the Standard Exceptional Child Certificate as well as Blended Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education Certification. Students who already have completed a bachelor’s degree and are seeking initial teacher certification in Special Education may do so through the Post Baccalaureate Special Education Certification program.
The third and final primary function is to provide advanced study in Special Education to professionals in the schools and associated service agencies. The Master of Arts in Special Education degree program culminates in a thesis, and is designed primarily for candidates interested in scholarly research. The Master of Education in Special Education degree program culminates in either a project or a portfolio, and is designed primarily for practitioners.
In addition, the department seeks to provide ongoing professional development to special education practitioners in the field. For example, the TATERS project is a federally funded program providing online course delivery and networking to create a professional network of special educators throughout Idaho, with special emphasis on those professionals working in rural areas. To this end TATERS has established and implemented the state’s first completely online special educational alternate route teaching certification programs, and has instituted a special education teacher mentor network to support practicing special educators in rural areas.