Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 Overview
Those who have a heart for working with students who have disabilities can turn that passion into a career as a special educator. Special education teachers are desperately needed in almost every school district, as special education is a critical shortage area in Virginia. Along with taking courses for the academic major, students may possibly begin taking education courses as soon as the freshman year. An integral aspect of the program includes public school field experience opportunities that are strategically placed within the required courses, letting students explore a variety of classrooms with diverse populations. A strong Interdisciplinary Studies major prepares students to pass Praxis II: Content Area Assessments. Completing requirements for the teaching license and the bachelor’s degree within four years opens the door for graduates to obtain additional credentials through master’s degrees in a number of areas.
Students may also add the special education endorsement to a different teaching license by taking additional courses (three for an elementary PreK-6 license, or five for a secondary or PreK-12 license) and completing eight of their 16-week student teaching placement in special education; then, the Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 endorsement can be added to the license.
Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 Licensure Area
The following degree combined with required education courses and field experiences lead to the teaching license in Special Education, General Curriculum, K-12.
- Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 Field Experiences
Beginning early in the student’s program, field placements in public schools are a major component of the Teacher Education Program. Some professional education courses require 15 or 20-hour field experiences. The student must also complete EDU 3801 (20 hours), EDU 3901 (25 hours), and EDU 4101 (30 hours), a sequence of field experiences and seminars during the semesters preceding student teaching. Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience II and III require admission to the Teacher Education Program as a prerequisite.
Student teaching is a semester of continuous full-time professional activities in a public school under the supervision of public school and college personnel. Student teaching takes place the last semester, usually spring of the senior year. To prepare students to work with different age levels, student teaching is organized into two placements: one in an elementary grade, and one in a middle or high school grade. Bluefield College faculty serve as the college supervisors for the student teachers and the student teachers meet weekly for seminars. Throughout the semester, the student teachers build a professional portfolio which is presented to a faculty and school personnel panel for review and practice with interviewing skills.
Common Sites for Field Experiences
Placements will be made at various locations in order for the student to have opportunities with diverse populations. To provide adequate supervision by college personnel, placements will be made in nearby school divisions with whom we have agreements: Tazewell County and Bland County, Virginia, and Mercer County, West Virginia. School personnel from these school systems are involved in the mentoring and assessment of our students. Students are responsible for their own transportation. Membership in the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) is required for students involved in all field experiences.
Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 Outcomes
By placing student teachers in public schools with diverse student populations, they gain the experience of working with children who have different backgrounds and needs. In addition, college coursework emphasizes the teacher’s role in valuing diversity and maintaining high expectations that all students can learn.
Positions Held by Alumni
Bluefield College School of Education graduates currently hold positions as teachers, building administrators, and central office personnel throughout Virginia, the surrounding states and as far away as China. Bluefield College teacher education graduates have been recognized as outstanding teachers of the year and have received various awards, including Teacher of the Year Awards, Ashland Oil Teaching Awards, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, and Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Grant Awards. Bluefield College graduates have served in leadership positions, including Executive Secretary of the National Education Association, member of the Virginia State Board of Education, and as superintendents of school districts.
Many graduates have successfully completed master’s degrees from various institutions, including Bluefield College, Virginia Tech, Radford University, University of Virginia and Concord University. Beyond that level, other students have achieved a doctoral degree from Virginia Tech. They have received master’s degrees in reading, guidance counseling, library science, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, and leadership, as well as content areas.
Clubs and Organizations
Students belong to the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA), which allows them to connect with the National Education Association and provides opportunities for leadership, service, professionalism and celebration of the profession.
Dr. Donna Watson
Professor and Dean, School of Education