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AAQEP Accreditation 2022

Standard 4: Aspect F

The program is committed to and invests in strengthening and improving the education profession and the P-20 education system. Each program’s context (or multiple contexts) provides particular opportunities to engage the field’s shared challenges and to foster and support innovation. Engagement with critical issues is essential and must be contextualized. Sharing results of contextualized engagement and innovation supports the field’s collective effort to address education’s most pressing challenges through improvement and innovation.

Overview of Institutional and Programmatic Mission and Commitments:
The Special Education Program at Fresno State offers the basic Preliminary Education Specialist Credential in grades Kindergarten - age 22 adult. The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential has two areas of specialization, Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe, which distinguish the special populations from one another. Each teacher candidate selects his/her/their professional emphasis at admission and may change or add to that emphasis during the program. The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential authorizes the holder to conduct Educational Assessments related to student’s access to the academic core curriculum and progress towards meeting instructional academic goals, provide specialized academic instruction, and special education support to students in the area of specialization listed on the credential in the following settings:

  • Resource rooms or services
  • Special education settings
  • General education settings
  • Special schools
  • Home/hospital settings
  • State hospitals
  • Development centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies
  • Alternative and non-traditional instructional public school settings other than classroom

The program also infuses the principles listed in the Council for Exceptional Children’s Initial Preparation Standards into the program and requires each Education Specialist  candidate to commit to the principles and beliefs listed in the Teacher Candidate Commitment Form prior to admission. Overall, our program embodies the core beliefs of the LEBSE department:

  1. We believe in inclusive education and that all means all students.
  2. We believe our diverse abilities, backgrounds, cultures, languages, and literacies are assets.
  3. We believe in creating developmentally appropriate educational experiences that encourage development of the whole person through deep questioning, research, and reflection.
  4. We believe in the discovery and advancement of new knowledge through collaborative inquiry, innovation, and research.
  5. We believe in engaging our broader communities as partners to maintain open communication, build trust, and foster relationships with students, educators, and families.

The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential Program provides extensive opportunities for teacher candidates to acquire theoretical and scholarly concepts, knowledge, evidenced-based practices, and resources to apply in a variety of clinical practice settings to provide students with high quality instruction. Living up to Kremen’s commitment to provide leadership in diverse communities, the Education Specialist program is infused with culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy, developmentally appropriate practices, high leverage practices in special education, law, professionalism, assessment and evidenced-based practices and methodologies. Clinical practice placements reflect the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the Central Valley, include supports for English learners/emergent bilinguals, and provide opportunities for teacher candidates to work with students with disabilities in schools with qualified site administrators. Candidates may be placed in a variety of clinical practice settings: classrooms, inclusive settings, co-teaching opportunities, self-contained classrooms, adult transition programs or separate schools for the most severely disabled and medically fragile students.  

Teacher candidates will be prepared to universally design and implement instruction, accommodations, modifications, and other supports that build on students’ strengths and respond to students’ academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs. Truly, our candidates live up to the university’s mission of boldly educating and empowering students for success.

Description of Collection, Analysis, and Use of Evidence to Ensure Institutional and Programmatic Alignment 
The program faculty meet monthly to discuss issues, signature assignments, future program changes, teaching preferences, and student recruitment. Faculty also discuss ways to support struggling students. Communication is exchanged by the faculty through face-face conversations, by Zoom, through email and during program meetings. The program has a coordinator who schedules the monthly meetings, creates agendas based on program faculty input and facilitates the meeting discussions. The data discussions inform our practices for the current credential and for the future credential programs. 

To strengthen our practices, we will implement the following next steps:

  1. Exploring and developing processes and systems for data collection to support fluid collection of data.
  2. Explore safe and secure methods for making collected data accessible to all program faculty, whether tenured, tenure-track or adjunct/ lecturer, and to our stakeholders.
  3. Develop rubrics for each new course and norm each rubric through cross-training and calibration to ensure reliability. 
  4. Continue developing, sending and collecting survey data.
  5. Schedule regular meetings with our stakeholders: schools, focus groups, alumni, candidates, Multiple Subject program faculty, department faculty, employers, alumni and community partners to gain their input and insight into our program’s strengths and focus areas for improvement. 
  6. Develop workshops for our mentor teachers, employers, and alumni on special education topics of interest, based on a needs survey to be developed.

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