Moderate Disabilities

Initial License

Master’s Degree (M.Ed.) or Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

The Moderate Disabilities Program is designed for candidates who possess a bachelors’ degree who wish to obtain an Initial Licensure in Grades PreK-8 or 5-12.

The purpose of the program is to address the shortage of special education teachers who can provide challenging yet developmentally appropriate instructional/curriculum, which enables children with moderate disabilities to become independent and self-sufficient functioning citizens.

Learning Outcomes for Moderate Disabilities

Upon completion of the Moderate Disabilities Program, the candidate will be able to:

  • Articulate, discuss, and show an understanding of the developmental milestones and learning challenges of students with moderate disabilities and its impact on student learning and self-efficacy.
  • Identify, examine, deduce, and create learning environments that are safe, culturally responsive, competent, and inclusive, so that students with moderate disabilities can develop self-awareness, self-determination, and establish positive social skills.
  • Identify, use, and interpret multiple sources of assessment data for making appropriate educational decisions for students with moderate disabilities.
  • Compare, contrast, decide, select, and adapt instructional strategies that are undergirded by best practices (including assistive technology) and are used to improve and strengthen student learning outcomes.

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What You'll Learn

Learn how to identify, how to evaluate, and how to adapt teaching strategies for students with moderate disabilities.

Future Studies

Candidates that complete the Moderate Disabilities program have a firm foundation that can be built upon with graduate and doctoral degrees in education.

Career Opportunities

The Moderate Disabilities program prepares students for an initial license teaching to a broad scope of age groups including PreK-8, and 5-12.

Pre-requisites

Pass Communication & Literacy MTEL for admission into the licensure track. All candidates must have passed either one of the following courses at the graduate or undergraduate level: Child Psychology, Developmental Psychology, or Intro to Psychology.

*Field Experience required

PreK-8 Track:

Foundation Courses

  • EDU5400: The Reflective Practitioner
  • EDU5410: Introduction to Special Education (25 hours Field Experience*)

Professional Area Courses

  • EDU5530: Teaching of Mathematics (25 hours Field Experience*)
  • EDU6610: Behavior Management

For those who have NOT passed FOR (Reading) MTEL:

  • EDU5520: Teaching Reading and Language Arts (25 hours Field Experience*)
  • EDU5540: Multisensory Teaching of Language Skills

For those who have passed FOR (Reading) MTEL:

  • EDU6661: Literacy in the Content Areas for Middle & Secondary Schools
  • EDU6654: Classroom Assessment

Specialty Area Course

  • EDU6600: Assessment, Methods, and Materials for Teaching Special Education

Required Practicum Orientation

Prior to the Practicum experience, there is a mandatory practicum orientation session.

Field Experience Explanation for Recommendation of Licensure

Candidates seeking endorsement for Initial teacher licensure must successfully complete the course sequence and all required field experience hours.

LICENSURE TRACK

  • EDU 6624: Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) Seminar
  • EDU 6839/6840: Practicum in Education I/II: Moderate Disabilities

DEGREE-ONLY, NONLICENSURE TRACK

  • EDU 6638/6639: Field-Based Research I/II: Moderate Disabilities
  • EDU 6622/6623: Field-Based Action Research I/II

Additional Program Notes

All licensure candidates have the option to take EDU 6625: Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course for Teachers. SEI is not a requirement for practicum nor obtaining your degree. This is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirement to obtain your licensure.

Master of Education degree or CAGS awarded
Total credits: 30-36

Licensure Track: 33 credits

Degree only, Non-licensure Track: 30 credits

Completion of SEI course accounts for an additional 3 credits*


5-12 Track

Foundation Courses

  • EDU5400: The Reflective Practitioner
  • EDU5410: Introduction to Special Education (25 hours Field Experience*)

Professional Area Courses

  • EDU6672: Middle and Secondary School Methods in Mathematics (25 hours Field Experience*)
  • EDU6610: Behavior Management

For those who have NOT passed FOR (Reading) MTEL:

  • EDU5520: Teaching Reading and Language Arts (25 hours Field Experience*)
  • EDU5540: Multisensory Teaching of Language Skills

For those who have passed FOR (Reading) MTEL:

  • EDU6661: Literacy in the Content Areas for Middle & Secondary Schools
  • EDU6654: Classroom Assessment

Specialty Area Course

  • EDU6600: Assessment, Methods, and Materials for Teaching Special Education

Required Practicum Orientation

Prior to the Practicum experience, there is a mandatory practicum orientation session.

Field Experience Explanation for Recommendation of Licensure

Candidates seeking endorsement for Initial teacher licensure must successfully complete the course sequence and all required field experience hours.

LICENSURE TRACK

  • EDU 6624: Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) Seminar
  • EDU 6839/6840: Practicum in Education I/II: Moderate Disabilities

DEGREE-ONLY, NONLICENSURE TRACK

  • EDU 6639/6640: Field-Based Research I/II: Moderate Disabilities
  • EDU 6622/6623: Field-Based Action Research I/II

Additional Program Notes

All licensure candidates have the option to take EDU 6625: Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course for Teachers. SEI is not a requirement for practicum nor obtaining your degree. This is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirement to obtain your licensure.

 

Master of Education degree or CAGS awarded
Total credits: 30-36

Licensure Track: 33 credits

Degree only, Non-licensure Track: 30 credits

Completion of SEI course accounts for an additional 3 credits*

 

Course Descriptions

Candidates for initial teacher licensure will examine the dispositions, knowledge and skills of the 21st century educator. A study of American education will explore the historical, economic, and political trends underpinning our current approaches to instruction, curriculum and assessment. Diversity in the classroom and the implications for teaching students with special needs, English Language learners, and students from low income families will be studied. A related investigation of district-based demographic and assessment data will be conducted, followed by the analysis current practices, such as, inclusion, differentiated instruction, and response to intervention. The Common Core Curriculum Frameworks (MCF) will be incorporated into instructional mini-lesson demonstrations. A concentrated ELL module will develop in-depth understanding of the demographic, cultural, language and educational characteristics of these unique learners. Lesson plan development with instructional considerations for ELLs will align with ELL case study activities. Field experience required.

The purpose of this course is to investigate developmental factors and influences that impact child growth and learning for the special needs child. The course will provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify those children who have special needs and study the ways and means that may be used to aid these children. Students will explore current early identification strategies and techniques as well as Response To Intervention (RTI) procedures used to facilitate struggling learners in the educational setting. State regulations (Chapt. 766) and Federal requirements (IDEA) will be covered in depth, as well as information about services provided and/or available to students by other agencies. An analysis of local/district/state data will be included. Students will acquire knowledge of how to use technology and assistive technology with special needs students and its curriculum implications. This includes Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder (w/wo hyperactivity). Course participants will gain an understanding of the educational problems which mild, moderated or severe handicaps imposes on a special needs child or youth and how this applies to the preparation and implementation of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP).

A survey of theories, practices, and techniques of reading instruction for children in grades preK-8. Various methods and materials used in the teaching-learning process will be examined, including the informal diagnosis and assessment of reading skills. The Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Frameworks, as well as related documents for English language learners and guidelines for special education students will be central to developing and presenting reading strategy lessons. Instructional accommodations for diverse learners will explore methods in sheltered English language immersion, special education, gifted and talented enrichment, and compensatory strategies for rural and urban poverty populations. Field work experiences and a diagnostic case-study assignment will integrate all course components. On-line research of the National Reading Panel Report and other professional sources will supplement course learning. Field experience is required.

This course will examine the basics of a multisensory, structured language curriculum for teaching reading, writing, spelling, comprehension and composition to diverse groups of students including those with reading problems, language disorders, cognitive disabilities, mild and moderate specific learning disabilities, and English Language Learners. There will be hands-on experience as well as exemplary lessons exploring best practice strategies to facilitate the development of reading and language skills. The students will learn how and where the sounds of English are made; how to introduce phonemic awareness activities; and how to teach sound-symbol associations in a logical, scientific way according to latest research. Students explore the qualities of children’s and adolescent literature, including the various genres, meaning, voices, and visual elements that are central to engaging learners through literature. Students will become proficient with regard to terminology relating to instructional standards and techniques in the areas of reading, written language, and content areas such as Science and Social Studies. They will become familiar with the use of identified best practice strategies for use in both specialized and the general education inclusive settings.

Classroom tests and assessments are an essential part of the instructional process. When properly done, they can effectively evaluate and enhance students’ learning and teachers’ instruction. When poorly done, they can confuse and alienate students, distort the curriculum, and hinder good instruction. Test scores and grades sometimes affect “high-stakes” decisions about students, prompting intense concern regarding accuracy and fairness. New trends in educational measurement are also causing educators to rethink assessment. Testing and assessment is not only important, but when done correctly, it links the general instructional objectives to specific 147 learning outcomes that can be assessed to show student performance and curriculum vitality for all grade levels. Recognizing the link between good assessment and good instruction, the profession has adopted standards for teacher competence in educational assessment. This course is designed to help teacher candidates meet those professional standards. It is also designed to help teacher candidates understand the many forms of good classroom assessment. PREREQUISITE: Enrollment in graduate education program.

Prospective educators will examine theoretical and developmental models of mathematics instruction in order to plan and implement effective instruction based on the diverse cognitive, language, and developmental needs of students. Using technology to access national and local district assessment data, students will analyze and identify areas of need within the mathematics curriculum and engage in instructional decision-making. Demonstrations and micro-teaching will reference the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and the NCTM standards. Field experience is required.

Students will engage in a survey of current practices of classroom management for regular and special needs students. Theory, materials, and practical applications will be included. Special attention is given to communication, observation, group and class management skills. Students will master terminology relative to cognitive behavioral programming and educational applications. Students will become familiar with classroom management techniques and demonstrate the ability to identify specific target behaviors, develop positively based programming strategies, establish manageable data collection methods, and analyze data using empirically based strategies. Federal and State regulatory mandates will be studied with a focus on the implementation of Functional Behavioral Assessments within the naturalistic setting. Students will become familiar with strategies that reduce or eliminate disruptiveness, aggressiveness, and defiance. They will learn practical ways of achieving better home-school relations and become familiar with services of the resource staffs as well as services provided by other (State and private agencies) in order to meet the needs of exceptional students.

This course involves learning techniques for teaching and assessing students with special needs both in and out of the general education environment. Class sessions will be devoted to lectures, demonstrations, discussions, audio-visual material, and topics of particular interest within the area of assessment. Course content will focus on learners (PK through adults) who are not experiencing success within the standard academic situation and on identified special needs students in need of (re)evaluation. Students are expected to become familiar with standardized assessments, interpretation of evaluation data, and acquire an understanding of regulations governing the assessment and evaluation process. Students will demonstrate an understanding of laws, regulations, and ethical concerns related to services for special needs students and regular education students relating to assessment and evaluation. Students will become proficient in communicating assessment data fluently through oral and written forms. Students will use information relating to child and adolescent development to develop instructional recommendations and ensure appropriate assessment application. Knowledge of Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks will be used to construct and evaluate authentic classroom assessment(s). Application of evaluative information to the IEP process will addressed as related to determination of special education eligibility criteria as outlined in Massachusetts and federal regulations and construction of IEP elements. Course participants will be proficient in the areas of: identifications of Specific Learning Disabilities using methodology outlined in current State regulations. Field experience is required.

The seminar sequence is taken concurrently with the culminating/practicum semester to integrate specific topics and competencies with the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP). The 144 Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) is designed to assess the overall readiness of teacher candidates. By demonstrating readiness through CAP, the School of Education at American International College, will be able to ensure that teacher candidates enter classrooms prepared to be impactful with students on day one. CAP is the culminating assessment required for program completion in the Commonwealth, thus creating an intentional bridge from training to practice by aligning expectations with the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework. The goals of CAP and the Education Seminar are: 1) To ensure teacher candidates are ready to make impact with students on day one; 2) To measure teacher candidates’ practice on key indicators as outlined in the Guidelines for the Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs); and 3) To support teachers in improving their practice based on targeted feedback and performance evaluations. This seminar is required for all initial licensure programs including Early Childhood, Elementary, Moderate Disabilities, Middle and Secondary Education. PREREQUISITE: All prior coursework in graduate education program.

This course will provide a comprehensive model for instruction for preparing teachers to work with English language learners, (PreK-12) in all classrooms. Using a structured immersion approach (SEI), such as the SIOP Model, students will practice the cycle of assessment, lesson design and implementation of instructional strategies that provide access to grade level content for ELL learners. Students will plan, design and present a model lesson following the SIOP Model.

This course is designed to assist students in understanding the language and literacy process as it applies to teaching in the middle and high schools. Particular attention is paid to reading and writing in the content areas and instructional strategies to support students’ literacy development. The course will focus on ways in which reading, writing, speaking, and listening are developed and used within the learning of content-specific curriculum including adaptations for culturally diverse and exceptional learners. The course develops connections between knowledge of the literacy process, using language to support learning, and effective instruction incorporating reading and writing. Strategic literacy approaches will be integrated into classroom demonstrations, a content area mini-unit and a case study assessment of content area reading will be developed by the teacher candidate in this course. Using technology, teacher candidates will access national and local assessment data. Candidates will analyze and identify areas of need within the English language and their specific content area to guide instructional decisionmaking. PREREQUISITE: Enrollment in graduate education program.

This graduate level course examines theoretical and developmental models of mathematics instruction in order to prepare candidates to plan and implement effective instruction based on the diverse cognitive, language, and developmental needs of students. Using technology to access national and local district assessment data, students will analyze and identify areas of need within the mathematics curriculum and engage in instructional decision-making based on that data. Candidates will create mathematics teacher lessons that reference the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. Respecting diverse student populations, this course will address practical multi-sensory applications of skills and strategies for all students including those identified as “high needs” by the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education. Integrated Practical Field Experiences are required. PREREQUISITE: Enrollment in graduate education program.

The practicum requirement for initial licensure in MA for those employed as classroom teachers in the field in which they are seeking licensure. 150-300 full-role hours of teaching under the direction of a college supervisor and a supervising practitioner in a school setting. A program portfolio and additional paperwork to meet state regulations is required. PREREQUISITES: Successful completion of all prior coursework in program, pre-practicum experiences, passage of all MTELs required for the license, a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, approval of candidate’s school district and approval of AIC’s Office of Field Experience. Evidence of successful completion of a graduate or undergraduate course in one of the following subject areas: (a) child psychology, (b) developmental psychology, or (c) child development.

This is a research and statistics based course that leads to the completion of an APA formatted classroom based research project. Action research, unlike traditional research, places action at the center of investigation; its primary goal is to solve a problem that will lead to improvement in individual or organizational practice. Action research prioritizes the “insider” status rather than assuming an outside, “detached” stance. The purpose of the course is to have practitioners in PK12 schools be empowered to construct their own knowledge, skills, and dispositions to improve outcomes for their students. The action research project is designed to help the educator and other professionals analyze their own practices and professional development to enhance the quality of their classroom outcomes and their colleagues’ learning. PREREQUISITE: Successful passage of all other coursework in program of study. COREQUISITE: Registration for 6 credits of Field Based Research hours (code dependent upon program). NOTE: EDU 6622/6623 is NOT a practicum, and will not lead to educator licensure

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