LCOE and MCOE Collaborate to Train Additional Special Education Teachers

November 07, 2017

NORTH COAST SCHOOL OF EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM DESIGNED TO MEET COMMUNITY NEEDS

In response to the growing need for special education teachers, the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) and the Lake County Office of Education (LCOE) have teamed up with the North Coast School of Education (NCSOE) to offer a two-year credential program for mild-to-moderate special education. The “Be A Teacher” Intern Program allows people to work during the day while attending evening classes for their credential.

Lake County Superintendent of Schools Brock Falkenberg said, “We are looking for prospective teachers who are committed to Lake and Mendocino Counties. We hope to grow our own teachers.”

Mendocino County Associate Superintendent Paul Joens-Poulton added, “People who want steady employment with competitive salary and benefits, summers off, and the opportunity to do fulfilling work with special needs children should seriously consider enrolling in this program.” He noted that it is a pilot program, so if it gets enough enrollment, it will continue. “I hope we can not only continue, but grow the program to offer additional credentials in the future,” he said.

Those enrolled in the NCSOE program can work as paid interns for local school districts with students who have special needs under a provisional credential, and take classes two nights a week plus some online classes to obtain their credential.

NCSOE Program Coordinator Jamie Buckner-Bridges said, “We are deeply invested in building certified teachers from within our community to meet the needs of local schools. Interns in this program will have the opportunity to invest both in themselves and in their community while working and serving our region's children.”

 She continued, “Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and have passed the CBEST by the time the program begins in late January.”Informational meetings about the program are scheduled in Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Lakeport as follows.

Mendocino County Office of Education

·        October 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

·        November 2, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

·        November 9, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Fort Bragg High School

·        November 13, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Lake County Office of Education

·        November 14, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

·        November 15, 10:00 – 11:30 am

 

Those interested in registering for one of the sessions can do so online at https://goo.gl/HmrTLX.

California employs more than 300,000 teachers to educate its 6.3 million students, more 700,000 of whom are students with disabilities who receive special education services. According to kidsdata.org, in 2015 Mendocino County served approximately 1500 students enrolled in special education programs, while Lake County served approximately 1100. Both districts, like others around the state and the nation, currently have openings for special education teachers.

The day-to-day work of a special education teacher includes working with students individually or in small groups to provide additional support according to their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The special education teacher provides specially designed instruction and related services to meet the unique needs of students whose educational requirements cannot be met by simply modifying the regular instructional program. Related services often include coordinating resources for students, and working with families and general education teachers to facilitate completion of the students’ IEP requirements.

With the closing of Dominican University’s Ukiah Campus last year, students interested in obtaining a teaching credential must either complete coursework entirely online or travel to Sonoma County for the closest in-person classes.

The program is structured with an initial “Framework” session that allows students to complete prerequisites. Then they must complete two years of instruction to obtain the special education credential.

“We’ve priced the program to be affordable,” said Buckner-Bridges. “There is a non-refundable $250 application fee. The Framework session is $1050 and each full year of instruction is $4700. These rates are really competitive among teacher credentialing programs because we’re not in this to make money, we are in this to serve our community and build our local workforce.”

Buckner-Bridges hopes those interested in a mid-career change, those returning to the workforce after raising children, or college graduates who have struggled to find work might be interested in enrolling in the program.

Superintendent Falkenberg reminded those who may be interested that, “as a teacher, you have the ability and responsibility to positively impact our communities, our counties, and our world.”


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