Special education, ESL certifications available

BY REBECCA HALL – STAFF WRITER

In the fall of 2016, Susquehanna will begin offering two new opportunities to students majoring in education.

Valerie Allison, department chair of the education department, stated that the Pennsylvania Department of Education has certified Susquehanna, which means the school may now certify education majors as specialists in special education and English as a second language.

“If students are able to be certified while still here in school, they will have a head start on applicants after graduation,” Allison said. “With this opportunity, our students can have dual certifications before they even really begin looking into the job market.”

According to Allison, education students looking to obtain either of the certifications will only need to add four more classes to their schedule.

The ESL certification would allow potential teachers the opportunity to work with English-language learners in their own classrooms, as well as the chance to support other teachers who may not have the certification, according to Allison. This certification is available to any education student.

The special education certification works in a similar manner, allowing graduates to teach students who are developmentally delayed, whether socially, physically, emotionally and/or mentally,

Allison stated. However, the special education certification is only available to early childhood education students, she added.

“Education students already have the opportunity to take a course to increase their understanding of English language learners,” Allison said. “The certification will allow graduates to use that understanding in more ways.”

“It is helping students learn how to teach diverse learners,” said Sarah Moore, assistant professor of education. “For education majors, the certification will provide them with additional experiences and skills that will make them more well rounded educators.”

“A lot of places need the dual certification now, such as the Southwest,” Allison explained. “The northeastern states have been fairly isolated, and we want to ensure we are preparing our students for any circumstances they may—most likely will—encounter,” she added.

Graduates with an education degree from Pennsylvania can pursue an education career in all 50 states and Canada, according to Allison.

“The introduction of the certification programs offers even more opportunities across the board for our students,” Allison said.

Classes will be offered beginning in the fall of 2016.