Schooling Division Opening Twin License Program, Pending State Approval – THE EXPONENT
One of the many struggles in the special education field is the increasing need for more teachers who have experience with special needs children. In Baldwin Wallace’s current educational program, students can be licensed, which limits their marketability and focuses the curriculum in one area. Baldwin Wallace is working to establish a dual license program that would allow students to obtain a general education license and an early childhood intervention specialist license.
The program has been approved by the BW Faculty Senate but has yet to be approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The program proposal to the ODHE will be made in mid-October. Once approved, the university can promote the program.
“The transition [into the dual license program] should go fairly smoothly, if they are freshmen and sophomores they should be able to easily transition into the program,” said Debrah Janas, Education Department Chair. Current seniors and prospective juniors will miss the opportunity for the program as the requirements and schedule will change based on the required curriculum.
“We get them out in the freshman year,” said Janas. “We have two 100-level courses with field experience that are very developmental. We try to get them to take off their student hat and put on their teacher’s hat,” said Janas.
One of the goals of the program is to empower the families the students would be working with, giving them confidence that their children are receiving trained teachers who can handle their specific situations without problems. The program aims to train teachers who work with students with disabilities, said education professor Cynthia Dieterich.
“More and more children have special needs. Even if you don’t specialize in teaching special needs children, you now have the training to deal with children who may have special needs,” Dieterich said. “You will be better prepared and it will make you more marketable because you have already completed all the training.”
Federal laws, such as the Disability Act, aim to place the special education children in regular classes where they can be with their peers and where they can not only grow on a social level, but also have the opportunity to gain more regular training.
Dieterich said the dual license program would give BW students the training and experience to handle tough situations. “Regarding the early intervention permit, there is a skills gap in the country and they need more people, they need more early intervention specialists,” said Dieterich.