Student teacher with special education students

Become a Special Education Teacher

Whether you are currently working in education or new to the field, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s special education program prepares you to work with learners who receive special education services for specific learning disabilities, children on the autism spectrum, and/or those with emotional or behavioral disorders.

Licensure Options

Saint Mary’s offers several licensure options within the master’s programs in special education. Options are available for both licensed educators and those seeking an initial teaching license.

For Students With No Previous Teaching Licensure Wishing to Teach Special Ed

If you do not hold any type of teaching license you may pursue an initial special education license by completing 18 credits (one year) of foundational courses at the Twin Cities Campus. Once these courses are complete you can begin the special education coursework either online or at the Twin Cities Campus. Foundational courses allow you to feel comfortable with curriculum design, assessment, classroom management, educational policy, and theories of education before concentrating in Learning Disabilities (LD) or Emotional Behavioral Disorder (EBD). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be added once LD and/or EBD are complete.

For Students Wishing to Study Special Ed Without Obtaining Licensure

This degree option is intended for individuals seeking a full understanding of special education issues and approaches but does not include the coursework to obtain a license in special education.

For Students With a Teaching License Wishing to Teach Special Ed or Add Additional License

If you already hold a general subject classroom teaching license you can add an additional license in LD, EBD, and/or ASD. Courses may be taken either entirely online or at the Twin Cities Campus.

Field Experience and Student Teaching

Licensure preparation includes a variety of requirements in addition to coursework, including field experience and student teaching. It is critical for you to be able to put theory into practice. Your time in the program includes field experience and student teaching, which ensure that you have practiced your skills under the guidance of a cooperating teacher and university supervisor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Educators who already hold a general education teaching licensure can add preparation for LD, ASD, and/or EBD licensure. Those who are not currently licensed can prepare for LD and/or EBD licensure. After obtaining an initial license in EBD and/or LD, learners may also add an ASD license.

You will earn a M.A. in Special Education. Licensure preparation is embedded into the Master of Arts degree. Learners may choose to complete the degree but not obtain licensure.

Yes! We offer initial licensure preparation for those seeking their first teaching license. This program consists of:

  • Education foundation courses (18 credits)
  • Special education core courses (24 credits)
  • Disability-specific courses (EBD: 6 credits, and/or LD: 6 credits, and/or ASD: 6 credits)
  • Student teaching (6 credits)
  • ASD practicum, if applicable (1 credit)
  • Master’s degree completion courses (6 credits)
     

Please note that the education foundation courses are delivered at our Twin Cities location and other select locations in Minnesota and precede online or on-ground learning. To obtain licensure, you will complete practicum experiences in elementary, middle school, and high school settings in Minnesota, as well as Minnesota state licensing exams. Licensure recommendation is contingent upon successfully completing all Minnesota state licensure requirements.

Yes! This degree option is for previously licensed classroom teachers in Minnesota who want to add licensure in one or more special education areas, including emotional behavioral disorders (EBD), learning disabilities (LD), and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This program consists of: 

  • Special education core courses (24 credits)
  • Disability specific courses (EBD: 6 credits, and/or LD: 6 credits, and/or ASD: 6 credits)
  • Practicum (3 credits for EBD/LD, 1 credit ASD if applicable)
  • Master’s degree completion courses (6 credits).
     

When seeking licensure you will also complete practicum experiences in elementary, middle school, and high school settings in Minnesota, as well as Minnesota state licensing exams. Licensure recommendation is contingent upon successfully completing all Minnesota state licensure requirements.

Not at all. As more students with special needs are placed in mainstream classrooms, special education knowledge will benefit everyone. The skills you learn in this Saint Mary's program will help you connect with learners of all ability levels to create a more inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

You may apply for admission to Saint Mary’s M.A. in Special Education program at any time. After you are admitted, you may begin taking classes at the start of any semester: spring, summer, or fall.

Nonlicensure seekers will complete a minimum of 36 credits of program work. If you stay on the recommended course schedule of two classes per consecutive semester, you will complete your coursework in two years. For those seeking additional or initial licensure, the timeline for the program will be extended based upon prerequisite coursework, field experience/student teaching, testing, and the number of licensure preparation areas you are pursuing.

You may transfer a maximum of six semester credits earned before admittance upon recommendation of the program director and with the approval of the dean. Transfer credits are subject to both graduate school and programmatic criteria.

The program offers multiple delivery models and is available in a blended delivery format (mixture of face-to-face coursework and online coursework) at the Twin Cities Campus. We also offer a completely online program for those seeking additional licensure or who are only seeking the master’s degree. If you are seeking your initial teaching license, you must complete 18 credits of foundations coursework at the Twin Cities Campus or Winona Campus before moving into the online or blended programs.

Yes! All learners must have access to K–12 classrooms in order to complete course activities, whether they are pursuing licensure or not. Those seeking licensure must also complete field experience/student teaching in K–12 school settings.

If you plan to complete the licensure preparation portion of this program, you do need to meet the requirements of Minnesota, which include 90-180 hours of practicum (for additional licensure seekers) or 15 weeks of student teaching (for those seeking their first teaching license). Saint Mary’s has a placement office that will guide you in identifying practicum and student teaching opportunities.

What You'll Gain

Upon completion of the M.A. in Special Education program, graduates are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Interpret the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and history of special education within the context of birth to 21 regular education settings
  • Manage the use of effective ethical and legal practices to lead the special education team through special education processes
  • Develop, design, and implement effective individualized programs for students with disabilities using appropriate instructional strategies
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with families and professionals
  • Apply the standards of effective practice in teaching special needs students at primary, intermediate, and high school levels across a range of service delivery models
  • Analyze current research and apply it to special education curriculum and instruction
  • Develop leadership skills to guide and direct services for the special education needs of students
  • Utilize knowledge of disabilities and other conditions to integrate strategies applicable for students, including those with co-existing disabilities
  • Recognize and plan for personal and professional growth and development
  • Deliver professional education services in a nondiscriminatory manner with sensitivity to diversity

From Start to Finish

  • You can earn your M.A. in Special Education degree in as little as two to three years.
  • Applications for the program are accepted through December 5 for Spring semester cohorts, April 10 for Summer semester cohorts, and August 7 for Fall semester cohorts.
  • To apply, you'll need to submit an application, $25 application fee, résumé, brief personal statement outlining your professional and educational goals, official transcripts, and letters of reference. For more information, visit the graduate admission page.

Apply Today

Locations

This program is offered at our Twin Cities location and online.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

This degree option is intended for individuals seeking a full understanding of special education issues and approaches, but does not include the coursework to obtain a license in special education. Minimum degree credits = 36.

Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.
Disability Specific Courses in at least one area   6 cr.
Master's Completion Courses   6 cr.

Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.

EDSE600 Orientation (0 cr.)

Orientation introduces learners to the tools, technology, policies, and expectation for the program. The delivery approach, instructional methods, and use of technology are reviewed. Program expectations are discussed, including APA style for written academic work, practicum parameters, and placement. Orientation is a requirement prior to beginning the first class (EDSE 631).

EDSE607 Literacy Development and Interventions (3 cr.)

This course addresses both normal and atypical development in reading, spelling, and writing. Interventions for students having instructional and/or behavioral difficulties in the regular classroom; diagnostic strategies for developing remediation programs, and scientifically-based instruction for literacy disabilities are covered.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Explain typical and atypical literacy development.
  2. Adapt tests and test material for struggling readers and writers.
  3. Utilize diagnostic tools to plan for remediation.
  4. Analyze the factors and conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, that contribute to delayed literacy development.
  5. Plan literacy modifications and accommodations in conjunction with classroom teachers and paraprofessionals.
  6. Explain the impact of information processing deficits on children and youth with learning disabilities. (LDA5)
  7. Evaluate the impact of language development on the academic and social skills of children and youth with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDB5)
  8. Apply remedial methods, strategies, and accommodations including assistive technologies to meet individual learner needs. (CC2)
  9. Apply systematic procedures for compiling data on a student or a group of students for the purpose of continuous program evaluation and improvement. (CC8)
  10. Plan to teach reading, writing, and listening comprehension and how to modify the instruction for students with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDC1)
  11. Use strategies for teaching reasoning, problem solving skills, study skills, organizational skills, and coping skills. (LDC3)
     

EDSE631 Foundations of Special Education (3 cr.)

This course evaluates the fundamental, philosophical, and organizational history of learners with exceptionalities. Content includes current issues and trends in the field of special education, organizational structures, available service and placement options, disability classifications, stereotypes of individuals with exceptionalities, and ethical considerations regarding special education. Field experience is required.

EDSE632 Survey of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes current knowledge of individuals with exceptionalities within the context of human growth and development. Content includes historical factors; legislation; etiology; characteristics; needs; educational strategies, including existing and emerging technologies; assessment; and support services for individuals with exceptionalities. The course covers the impact of disabilities on academic and social/emotional performances. Field experience is required.

EDSE634 Assistive Technology, Instruction, & Interventions (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes the use of evidence based instruction and grade-level content standards. Content includes implementation of assistive technology to meet the needs of learners with exceptionalities. Field experience is required.

EDSE635 Behavior Theories (3 cr.)

This course examines concepts and strategies of behavior in special education settings for learners with exceptionalities. Content includes behavioral and affective approaches with a focus on basic behavioral principles, preventative techniques, behavior enhancement and reduction techniques, and use of rewards. Additional topics include functional behavioral assessment, preparation and implementation of behavior intervention plans, and the classroom environment. The course addresses research-based behavioral interventions and interventions based on behavioral, psycho-educational, and ecological theories.

EDSE636 Assessment & Evaluation of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of theoretical principles of measurement, assessment, and evaluation procedures to determine special education eligibility and identify needs for implementation of educational plans for learners with exceptionalities (including 8 hours of assessment practice). Non-biased assessment practices are discussed. Field experience is required.

EDSE637 The IEP Process (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of special education due process as it relates to individual education plan (IEP) development and service delivery. Content includes collaboration with other professionals, legal and ethical issues in special education, the development and implementation of technically adequate IEPs, working with families, scientifically-based interventions, and current best practices.

EDSE638 Transition and Collaboration (3 cr.)

This course covers the background, knowledge base, experience, and personal contact necessary to work collaboratively with professionals and parents. Content includes learning consultation and collaboration skills to ensure that the needs of individuals with exceptionalities are addressed throughout their school careers. The course enhances the view of special educators as specialists and a resource to colleagues for instruction, inclusion, transition, and collaboration with outside agencies.

Disability Specific Courses 6 cr.

EDSE641 Characteristics: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with emotional disabilities. Special emphasis is given to definition and identification procedures. An additional focus on current research and critical issues and trends in the field of EBD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE642 Strategies and Assessment: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in behavioral intervention, for learners with emotional/behavioral disorders. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE651 Characteristics: Specific Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Special emphasis is given to definitions and identification procedures, including Response to Intervention (RtI). An additional focus on recent research and critical issues and trends in the field of SLD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE652 Strategies and Assessment: Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with learning disabilities. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE661 Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with autism. Special emphasis is given to identification and classification, recent and historical developments in the field, and critical issues and trends. Field experience is required.

EDSE662 Strategies and Assessment: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with autism. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

Master's Completion Courses 6 cr.

EDSE698 Research Methods (3 cr.)

This course examines both qualitative and quantitative educational research and methodology, with an emphasis on action research.  Content includes how to develop a research question and how to identify the relevant literature.  This course also explores the process for conducting educational action research.

EDSE699 Action Research (3 cr.)

Action research involves description, implementation, reflection, and analysis of scientific research-based interventions related to special education.  Summative presentation of action research is required.

Degree Requirements

This option is for those without teacher licensure who want to be licensed to teach special education in Minnesota. Minimum credits = 57.

Education Foundation Courses 18 cr.
Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.
EBD Courses   6 cr.
and/or  
LD Courses   6 cr.
EBD/LD Student Teaching   6 cr.
ASD Courses   7 cr.
Master's Completion Courses   6 cr.

Education Foundation Courses 18 cr.

EDUC511 Educational Measurement and Assessment: 5-12 (2 cr.)

This course focuses on how to apply measurement theory to classroom evaluation. Analysis, administration and interpretation of standardized assessment instruments, performance assessments using the Minnesota Graduation Standards model, teacher-constructed assessment tools, and evaluation and grading are examined.

EDUC515 Foundations of Education (2 cr.)

This course examines the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education, including such topics as schooling in a changing pluralistic society, human relations and the discrimination issues in education, legal and political forces which impact American education, and the teacher's professional roles and responsibilities; and 2) educational psychology, including (a) child and adolescent cognitive, social/emotional, and moral development; (b) psychology of exceptional children, federal and state laws and policies regarding assessment, free appropriate public education and inclusion of students with disabilities; and (c) motivation, learning theories, classroom management, and principles of effective teaching.

EDUC517 Learning, Development, and Exceptionality (3 cr.)

Students learn and apply the principles of educational psychology, including (a) child and adolescent cognitive, social/emotional, and moral development; (b) motivation, learning theories, classroom management and principles of effective teaching; and (c) psychology of exceptional children, including knowledge of exceptional educational need areas as defined by Minnesota, Wisconsin and federal law, the major characteristics of the disability areas in order to recognize their existence in children, and knowledge of various alternatives for providing the least restrictive environment for children with exceptional educational needs.

EDUC525 Curriculum and Instruction: Grades 5-12 (4 cr.)

Middle and secondary school philosophy, classroom management, motivation, and student developmental differences are examined. An emphasis is placed on unit development, daily lesson planning, interdisciplinary planning, teaming, cooperative learning, exploratory learning and a variety of teaching strategies appropriate for grades 5-12.

EDUC534 Technology in the Classroom: 5-12 (2 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to technology-based learning. Major topics include 1) information literacy, i.e., criteria for web-based research; 2) discipline-specific software and technology; 3) presentation systems (Hyperstudio, projection microscopes, PowerPoint); and 4) assessment and grading tools.

EDUC539 Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction for Elementary Teachers (3 cr.)

This course meets the K-6 reading standards for all elementary teachers licensed in Minnesota.  Learning modules include: (1) Foundations of reading processes, development, and instruction: (2) instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials that support reading instruction; (3) assessment tools and practices for planning and evaluating effective reading instruction; and (4) creating a literate and motivating environment that fosters reading by integrating foundational knowledge, use of instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments.  An associated practicum includes observation, assessment, and intervention with an elementary student.

EDUC565 Human Relations, Cultural Diversity, and American Indian Culture (2 cr.)

This course is designed to sensitize students to issues which can cause discriminatory and prejudicial behaviors in students, teachers, administrators, parents, and members of the community at large. Emphasis is placed on developing the skills and dispositions of an inclusive, multicultural teacher in today's diverse classrooms. A particular focus is placed on Minnesota Indian cultures.

Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.

EDSE600 Orientation (0 cr.)

Orientation introduces learners to the tools, technology, policies, and expectation for the program. The delivery approach, instructional methods, and use of technology are reviewed. Program expectations are discussed, including APA style for written academic work, practicum parameters, and placement. Orientation is a requirement prior to beginning the first class (EDSE 631).

EDSE607 Literacy Development and Interventions (3 cr.)

This course addresses both normal and atypical development in reading, spelling, and writing. Interventions for students having instructional and/or behavioral difficulties in the regular classroom; diagnostic strategies for developing remediation programs, and scientifically-based instruction for literacy disabilities are covered.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Explain typical and atypical literacy development.
  2. Adapt tests and test material for struggling readers and writers.
  3. Utilize diagnostic tools to plan for remediation.
  4. Analyze the factors and conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, that contribute to delayed literacy development.
  5. Plan literacy modifications and accommodations in conjunction with classroom teachers and paraprofessionals.
  6. Explain the impact of information processing deficits on children and youth with learning disabilities. (LDA5)
  7. Evaluate the impact of language development on the academic and social skills of children and youth with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDB5)
  8. Apply remedial methods, strategies, and accommodations including assistive technologies to meet individual learner needs. (CC2)
  9. Apply systematic procedures for compiling data on a student or a group of students for the purpose of continuous program evaluation and improvement. (CC8)
  10. Plan to teach reading, writing, and listening comprehension and how to modify the instruction for students with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDC1)
  11. Use strategies for teaching reasoning, problem solving skills, study skills, organizational skills, and coping skills. (LDC3)
     

EDSE631 Foundations of Special Education (3 cr.)

This course evaluates the fundamental, philosophical, and organizational history of learners with exceptionalities. Content includes current issues and trends in the field of special education, organizational structures, available service and placement options, disability classifications, stereotypes of individuals with exceptionalities, and ethical considerations regarding special education. Field experience is required.

EDSE632 Survey of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes current knowledge of individuals with exceptionalities within the context of human growth and development. Content includes historical factors; legislation; etiology; characteristics; needs; educational strategies, including existing and emerging technologies; assessment; and support services for individuals with exceptionalities. The course covers the impact of disabilities on academic and social/emotional performances. Field experience is required.

EDSE634 Assistive Technology, Instruction, & Interventions (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes the use of evidence based instruction and grade-level content standards. Content includes implementation of assistive technology to meet the needs of learners with exceptionalities. Field experience is required.

EDSE635 Behavior Theories (3 cr.)

This course examines concepts and strategies of behavior in special education settings for learners with exceptionalities. Content includes behavioral and affective approaches with a focus on basic behavioral principles, preventative techniques, behavior enhancement and reduction techniques, and use of rewards. Additional topics include functional behavioral assessment, preparation and implementation of behavior intervention plans, and the classroom environment. The course addresses research-based behavioral interventions and interventions based on behavioral, psycho-educational, and ecological theories.

EDSE636 Assessment & Evaluation of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of theoretical principles of measurement, assessment, and evaluation procedures to determine special education eligibility and identify needs for implementation of educational plans for learners with exceptionalities (including 8 hours of assessment practice). Non-biased assessment practices are discussed. Field experience is required.

EDSE637 The IEP Process (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of special education due process as it relates to individual education plan (IEP) development and service delivery. Content includes collaboration with other professionals, legal and ethical issues in special education, the development and implementation of technically adequate IEPs, working with families, scientifically-based interventions, and current best practices.

EDSE638 Transition and Collaboration (3 cr.)

This course covers the background, knowledge base, experience, and personal contact necessary to work collaboratively with professionals and parents. Content includes learning consultation and collaboration skills to ensure that the needs of individuals with exceptionalities are addressed throughout their school careers. The course enhances the view of special educators as specialists and a resource to colleagues for instruction, inclusion, transition, and collaboration with outside agencies.

EBD/LD Courses 6-12 cr.

EDSE641 Characteristics: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with emotional disabilities. Special emphasis is given to definition and identification procedures. An additional focus on current research and critical issues and trends in the field of EBD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE642 Strategies and Assessment: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in behavioral intervention, for learners with emotional/behavioral disorders. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE651 Characteristics: Specific Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Special emphasis is given to definitions and identification procedures, including Response to Intervention (RtI). An additional focus on recent research and critical issues and trends in the field of SLD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE652 Strategies and Assessment: Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with learning disabilities. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EBD/LD Student Teaching Courses 6 cr.

EDSE688 Clinical Field Experience (0 cr.)

The clinical field experience highlights the translation of learning theory to classroom practice and preparation for EDSE689 Field Experience for Practicing Educators.  A minimum of 5 full days with learner contact is required.  The practicing educator will be expected to work with small groups of learners under the supervision of a cooperating educator(s).

EDSE689 Field Experience for Practicing Educators (6 cr.)

The field experience is a supervised, structured teaching experience in a school setting with learners with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and/or learners on the autism spectrum.  School placements vary based on program setting (co-teaching, inclusion, resource, self-contained).  Learners complete a minimum of 15 weeks in two settings: one 10-week session and one 5-week session.  The field experience consist of placements in two of the following grade levels (depending on grade level of experience in EDSE688): elementary, middle/junior high school, and high/senior high school.

ASD Courses 7 cr.

EDSE661 Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with autism. Special emphasis is given to identification and classification, recent and historical developments in the field, and critical issues and trends. Field experience is required.

EDSE662 Strategies and Assessment: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with autism. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE684 Autism Spectrum Disorder Practicum (1 cr.)

The practicum is a supervised, structured experience in a school setting with learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (co-teaching, inclusion, resource, self-contained). Ninety to one hundred and twenty clock hours of acceptable activities must be completed. The practicum consists of placements in three grade levels: elementary, middle/junior high school, and high/senior high school.

Master's Completion Courses 6 cr.

EDSE698 Research Methods (3 cr.)

This course examines both qualitative and quantitative educational research and methodology, with an emphasis on action research.  Content includes how to develop a research question and how to identify the relevant literature.  This course also explores the process for conducting educational action research.

EDSE699 Action Research (3 cr.)

Action research involves description, implementation, reflection, and analysis of scientific research-based interventions related to special education.  Summative presentation of action research is required.

Degree Requirements

This degree option is for already licensed teachers in Minnesota who want to add licensure in one or more special education area: emotional behavioral disorders (EBD), learning disabilities (LD), and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Minimum degree credits = 39.

Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.
EBD Courses   6 cr.
and/or  
LD Courses   6 cr.
EBD/LD Practicum   3 cr.
ASD Courses   7 cr.
Master's Completion Courses   6 cr.

Special Education Core Courses 24 cr.

EDSE600 Orientation (0 cr.)

Orientation introduces learners to the tools, technology, policies, and expectation for the program. The delivery approach, instructional methods, and use of technology are reviewed. Program expectations are discussed, including APA style for written academic work, practicum parameters, and placement. Orientation is a requirement prior to beginning the first class (EDSE 631).

EDSE607 Literacy Development and Interventions (3 cr.)

This course addresses both normal and atypical development in reading, spelling, and writing. Interventions for students having instructional and/or behavioral difficulties in the regular classroom; diagnostic strategies for developing remediation programs, and scientifically-based instruction for literacy disabilities are covered.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Explain typical and atypical literacy development.
  2. Adapt tests and test material for struggling readers and writers.
  3. Utilize diagnostic tools to plan for remediation.
  4. Analyze the factors and conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, that contribute to delayed literacy development.
  5. Plan literacy modifications and accommodations in conjunction with classroom teachers and paraprofessionals.
  6. Explain the impact of information processing deficits on children and youth with learning disabilities. (LDA5)
  7. Evaluate the impact of language development on the academic and social skills of children and youth with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDB5)
  8. Apply remedial methods, strategies, and accommodations including assistive technologies to meet individual learner needs. (CC2)
  9. Apply systematic procedures for compiling data on a student or a group of students for the purpose of continuous program evaluation and improvement. (CC8)
  10. Plan to teach reading, writing, and listening comprehension and how to modify the instruction for students with learning disabilities or learning deficits. (LDC1)
  11. Use strategies for teaching reasoning, problem solving skills, study skills, organizational skills, and coping skills. (LDC3)
     

EDSE631 Foundations of Special Education (3 cr.)

This course evaluates the fundamental, philosophical, and organizational history of learners with exceptionalities. Content includes current issues and trends in the field of special education, organizational structures, available service and placement options, disability classifications, stereotypes of individuals with exceptionalities, and ethical considerations regarding special education. Field experience is required.

EDSE632 Survey of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes current knowledge of individuals with exceptionalities within the context of human growth and development. Content includes historical factors; legislation; etiology; characteristics; needs; educational strategies, including existing and emerging technologies; assessment; and support services for individuals with exceptionalities. The course covers the impact of disabilities on academic and social/emotional performances. Field experience is required.

EDSE634 Assistive Technology, Instruction, & Interventions (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes the use of evidence based instruction and grade-level content standards. Content includes implementation of assistive technology to meet the needs of learners with exceptionalities. Field experience is required.

EDSE635 Behavior Theories (3 cr.)

This course examines concepts and strategies of behavior in special education settings for learners with exceptionalities. Content includes behavioral and affective approaches with a focus on basic behavioral principles, preventative techniques, behavior enhancement and reduction techniques, and use of rewards. Additional topics include functional behavioral assessment, preparation and implementation of behavior intervention plans, and the classroom environment. The course addresses research-based behavioral interventions and interventions based on behavioral, psycho-educational, and ecological theories.

EDSE636 Assessment & Evaluation of Learners with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of theoretical principles of measurement, assessment, and evaluation procedures to determine special education eligibility and identify needs for implementation of educational plans for learners with exceptionalities (including 8 hours of assessment practice). Non-biased assessment practices are discussed. Field experience is required.

EDSE637 The IEP Process (3 cr.)

This course provides an in-depth study of special education due process as it relates to individual education plan (IEP) development and service delivery. Content includes collaboration with other professionals, legal and ethical issues in special education, the development and implementation of technically adequate IEPs, working with families, scientifically-based interventions, and current best practices.

EDSE638 Transition and Collaboration (3 cr.)

This course covers the background, knowledge base, experience, and personal contact necessary to work collaboratively with professionals and parents. Content includes learning consultation and collaboration skills to ensure that the needs of individuals with exceptionalities are addressed throughout their school careers. The course enhances the view of special educators as specialists and a resource to colleagues for instruction, inclusion, transition, and collaboration with outside agencies.

Additional Course - For those without an Elementary Education full-time classroom teaching license (see program director)

EDUC539 Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction for Elementary Teachers (3 cr.)

This course meets the K-6 reading standards for all elementary teachers licensed in Minnesota.  Learning modules include: (1) Foundations of reading processes, development, and instruction: (2) instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials that support reading instruction; (3) assessment tools and practices for planning and evaluating effective reading instruction; and (4) creating a literate and motivating environment that fosters reading by integrating foundational knowledge, use of instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments.  An associated practicum includes observation, assessment, and intervention with an elementary student.

EBD/LD Courses 6-12 cr.

EDSE641 Characteristics: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with emotional disabilities. Special emphasis is given to definition and identification procedures. An additional focus on current research and critical issues and trends in the field of EBD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE642 Strategies and Assessment: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in behavioral intervention, for learners with emotional/behavioral disorders. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE651 Characteristics: Specific Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Special emphasis is given to definitions and identification procedures, including Response to Intervention (RtI). An additional focus on recent research and critical issues and trends in the field of SLD is provided. Field experience is required.

EDSE652 Strategies and Assessment: Learning Disabilities (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with learning disabilities. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EBD/LD Practicum 3 cr.

EDSE681 Practicum 1 (1 cr.)

This course provides supervised, structured experiences in a school setting with learners with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and/or learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (i.e. inclusion, resource, self-contained). A minimum of 60 clock hours of acceptable activities is required.

EDSE682 Practicum 2 (1 cr.)

This course provides supervised, structured experiences in a school setting with learners with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and/or learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (i.e. inclusion, resource, self-contained). A minimum of 60 clock hours of acceptable activities is required.

EDSE683 Practicum 3 (1 cr.)

This course provides supervised, structured experiences in a school setting with learners with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and/or learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (i.e. inclusion, resource, self-contained). A minimum of 60 clock hours of acceptable activities is required.

ASD Courses 7 cr.

EDSE661 Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with autism. Special emphasis is given to identification and classification, recent and historical developments in the field, and critical issues and trends. Field experience is required.

EDSE662 Strategies and Assessment: Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr.)

This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with autism. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.

EDSE684 Autism Spectrum Disorder Practicum (1 cr.)

The practicum is a supervised, structured experience in a school setting with learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (co-teaching, inclusion, resource, self-contained). Ninety to one hundred and twenty clock hours of acceptable activities must be completed. The practicum consists of placements in three grade levels: elementary, middle/junior high school, and high/senior high school.

Master's Completion Courses 6 cr.

EDSE698 Research Methods (3 cr.)

This course examines both qualitative and quantitative educational research and methodology, with an emphasis on action research.  Content includes how to develop a research question and how to identify the relevant literature.  This course also explores the process for conducting educational action research.

EDSE699 Action Research (3 cr.)

Action research involves description, implementation, reflection, and analysis of scientific research-based interventions related to special education.  Summative presentation of action research is required.




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Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Enrollment Counselor Graduate School of Education

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH112

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122

mdougher@smumn.edu

Faculty

Judith Bergquist, M.A.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct University Supervisor

Becky Byrn-Schmid, Ed.D.

MA in Special Education Program - University Supervisor

Debra Castner, Ed.D.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Assistant Professor

(952) 491-8321

dcastner@smumn.edu

Debra Castner, Ed.D., has been teaching students who receive special education for more than 25 years. Since 2011 she has been with Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. During the day, Dr. Castner teaches grades 5-7 in the Westonka School District. She has been fortunate enough to have taught throughout the country, yet Minnesota is now her home.

Patrick Flynn, Ed.S.

MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

Martin DePorres Hall-TC Campus, MDP136

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5211

pflynn@smumn.edu

Patrick Flynn is a retired elementary teacher and principal. He taught for several years in greater Minnesota before serving 11 years as an elementary teacher and nine years as an elementary principal in the Anoka Hennepin School District 11. He finished his K-12 administrative career in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, where he was an elementary school principal for 11 years. He began working at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota as a university supervisor in the Master of Arts in Special Education program in 2011. Flynn has an Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) from the University of St. Thomas.

John Fry, Ph.D.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Assistant Professor

(763) 550-3166

jfry@smumn.edu

Dr. John Fry is a passionate educator and leader who is committed to transforming both the academic and social-emotional trajectory of students. He is a licensed K-12 Principal and Director of Special Education. As a teacher, he is licensed in Social Studies, Emotional or Behavior Disabilities (EBD) and Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).

Troy Gonzales, Ed.D.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Associate Professor

tgonzale@smumn.edu

Dr. Troy Gonzales began his career as a middle school special educator in Denver Public Schools (DPS). He worked with DPS for seven years, finishing his time as a specialist, working with general and special educators to develop meaningful team teaching relationships.

Patrick Gordon, M.A.

EDSE Program - Adjunct Instructor

pgordon@smumn.edu

Pat Gordon has more than 15 years of experience in the field of special education, which has included many grade levels and public school settings. He has worked as a special education paraprofessional, teacher, coordinator, and director. Currently, Gordon serves as the director for student support services for Pine Island Public Schools #255.

Amber Haluska, M.S.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

azank@smumn.edu

Amber Haluska has been an adjunct instructor at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota since 2013. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology, her Master of Science in Education, and her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She completed the Principal and Director of Special Education licensure program from St. Cloud State University.

Jason Haluska, Ed.S.

MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

jhaluska@smumn.edu

Jason Haluska started teaching at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota after guest lecturing about assessing students with autism at Saint Mary's University in 2013. Since 2014 he has been an adjunct instructor. He’s previously guest lectured at the University of Minnesota for students in educational leadership and at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul for training students on reading curricular-based measurement and data-based decision making.

Wayne Harmon, M.S.

MA in Special Education - University Supervisor

Dawn Kelly, M.A.

MA in Education - Adjunct Instructor

dmkelly@smumn.edu

After a number of years practicing as a social worker with juvenile delinquents, Dawn Kelly elected to change fields in order to become more proactive. Having an interest in working in the school setting and appreciating the diagnostic aspect of her role as a social worker, she chose the field of school psychology. She received her Master of Arts in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. However, some of the most rewarding courses she took were ones at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in the Counseling Psychology program.

Nichole Kloss, M.S.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(320) 296-9707

nkloss@smumn.edu

Nichole Neron Kloss has been working with students in special education for more than 15 years and is currently teaching in the Sauk Rapids/Rice Public School District. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education–Specific Learning Disabilities and a Master of Science Degree in Special Education–Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has experience working with students in all disability categories within special education.

Barbara Knudsen, M.A.

Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction Leadership - Adjunct Program

(952) 469-7137

bknudsen@smumn.edu

Catherine Koehne, M.S.

EDSE Program - Adjunct Instructor

ckoehne@smumn.edu

Cate Koehne has worked in the field of special education for 19 years, focusing on the areas of specific learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, and other health disabilities. She also serves as the staff development coordinator and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) coordinator for her school.

Jennifer Lewis, M.A.

MA in Special Education Program - Associate Director

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH107

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4521

jlewis@smumn.edu

Christine McClendon, M.S.

MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

cmcclend@smumn.edu

Christine “Critty” McClendon is the manager for Out of District Placements, Extended School Year (ESY), and child welfare liaison for Denver Public Schools. McClendon has worked for Denver Public Schools for 26 years. She taught K-12 special education students for 12 years.

Judith McKay, M.A.

MA in Education - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 723-7993

jmckay@smumn.edu

Karen Mortenson, M.S.

Ed.S. Education Administration Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

Judith Nagel, Ed.D.

MA in Special Education Program - Program Director

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH106

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5186

jnagel@smumn.edu

Judith Nagel Ed.D.
Rise Nybakke, M.A.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 668-2121

rnybakke@smumn.edu

Risë Nybakke is an assistive technology specialist for the Minneapolis Public Schools. She has been serving in the role for 18 years and is on a team with two speech clinicians, an occupational therapist, and an associate educator. Her focus on the team is as a computer specialist and digital rights manager. As the latter, she’s the person who coordinates the process of obtaining texts in alternate formats for students with print disabilities.

Matthew Olmstead, M.Ed.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(763) 428-

maolms04@smumn.edu

Matt Olmstead has been instructing EDSE courses at the graduate level as an adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for more than two years. His background is in emotional behavioral disorder, specific learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder. He holds multiple licenses and degrees, including Curriculum Design and Education Specialist. Olmstead recently completed a six-month stint as a special education building coordinator in Osseo School District. He devotes his craft to do what is in the best interest for students and their learning.

Shaun Pakenham, M.A.

MA in Special Ed - Adjunct Instructor

Sarah Papineau, M.A.

MS in Special Education - Adjunct Program Instructor

spapinea@smumn.edu

Sarah Papineau is a literacy coach at the district level servicing 18 elementary schools and six middle schools. As a coach in her district, she also continues to have a group of students for part of the day. She learns daily from what her students bring to her so that her coaching with adults is more authentic.

Maureen Parkes, Ed.D.

Education - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 415-5424

mdpark03@smumn.edu

Maureen Parkes is program lead at Mounds View School Career and Life Transition Program. She is responsible for due process and student intakes for two special education programs. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at the College of St. Catherine and her Master of Education in Special Education at Bethel University. She is currently completing her Ed.D. at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Patty Popp, Ed.D.

MA Education Program - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Jennifer Radtke, M.S.

MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(507) 238-4215

jradtke@smumn.edu

Jennifer Radtke lived a varied and adventurous life working with our exceptional population. During the course of her career, she has worked as both an Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) paraprofessional and as an EBD teacher. She spent four years as a Special Olympics coach for residents while employed at a group home, taught as an adjunct professor at Southwest Minnesota State University for four years, and served on the Community Transition Integration Committee in Marshall, Minn.

Kathy Ryan, Ed.D.

M.A. Special Education Program - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Gregory Spath, Ed.S.

Educational Admin Licensure - Adjunct Program Instructor

Campus Box: # 28

(507) 449-0010

gspath@smumn.edu

Greg Spath started his career in education as a social studies teacher in Balaton, Minnesota in 1969. In the early 1970s, Spath served as principal at Middle River High School before working the same role at Hills Beaver Creek High School. From there he went to United South Central (Wells, Minnesota) from 1993–2003, and subsequent positions have included stints as the principal at the Sober School in Freeborn, Minnesota and interim principal in the Faribault school district. Spath has served as a site coordinator, cohort advisor and adjunct faculty member for Saint Mary’s University since 2005. He thoroughly enjoys working with his coworkers and helping educators pursue post-graduate degrees.

Gregory Spath Ed.S.
Sarah Stay, M.Ed.

MA in Special Education Program - University Supervisor

Keely Swartzer, M.A.

Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

(763) 497-8025

kaswar05@smumn.edu

Education: Swartzer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education, a Master’s of Arts in Education and both her Principal’s and Director of Special Education Licenses through the University of Minnesota.