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. A strong major in Interdisciplinary Studies prepares students to pass Praxis II: Elementary Content Knowledge required in Virginia. Completing requirements for the teaching license and the bachelor’s degree within 4 years opens the door for graduates to obtain additional credentials through master’s degrees in a number of areas.
Those who wish to add the special education endorsement to a different teaching license can take additional courses (3 for an elementary PreK-6 license, or 5 for a secondary or PreK-12 license), and complete 8 of their 16-week student teaching placement in special education. Then the Special Education: General Curriculum endorsement can be added to their 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
All students in the teacher education program participate in Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience Courses which consists of classroom observation and participation in public school. This is combined with seminars on campus for discussion and reflection on topics such as teaching strategies, student differences and classroom management. Prior to taking the field experiences classes, students enroll in a human growth and development class that includes a public school field experience focusing on child and adolescent development.
Students seeking a special education license also take reading and literacy courses that are tied to specific field experience hours. Bluefield College students partner with local elementary schools to work with elementary-aged children in a hands-on approach to apply course theories related to instruction and assessment.
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 general education and one in special education, or one in elementary special education and one in secondary special education. Bluefield College faculty serve as the college supervisors for the student teachers, and the student teachers meet weekly for seminars. Throughout the semester, student teachers build a professional portfolio that is presented to a panel for review and practice with interviewing skills.
Common Sites for Field Experiences
Bluefield College holds partnership agreements with the public schools in Tazewell and Bland Counties in Virginia, and Mercer County in West Virginia. School personnel from these school systems are involved in the mentoring and assessment of our students.
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
Our graduates are employed in schools in Virginia and surrounding states as teachers and administrators. We also have a recent graduate serving as a missionary in China.
Many graduates from the Bluefield College School of Education have successfully completed master’s degrees from various institutions including: 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 Hardy Watson