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Plan for Implementation

Education Specialist Credential Program

1. Program Summary

Program Design

Leadership within the Special Education Credential Program at CSU, Fresno is provided by the Dean (Director of Teacher Education) and Associate Dean’s office, as well as at the department level from the Chair of the Department of Literacy, Early, Bilingual and Special Education. The Education Specialist Credential Coordinator is appointed by the Dean and serves in a leadership position for the program. An advising office is open in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development building Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm across the entire calendar year. Candidates may make appointments, and drop-ins are seen in the order they arrive. In addition, advising is provided by the faculty in the Special Education program during scheduled office hours or by appointment prior to program entry and throughout the program. 

Communication within the credential program and with the institution is varied and frequent. Prospective teacher candidates are required to attend an orientation and to have an advising interview prior to admission to the program. The SPED program faculty meet bi-weekly to review and improve the program. Collaboration occurs regularly between the program and our Field Placement office, advising staff, Single Subject and Multiple Subject Credential Committees, and the departments offering courses. The SPED program faculty also attend and participate in department level meetings each month within the Department of Literacy, Early, Bilingual, and Special Education, as well as monthly Faculty Assembly meetings for the entire Kremen School of Education and Human Development. At the university level, SPED program faculty sit on university-wide committees and attend regular meetings with all other colleges and programs on campus. 

The structure of coursework and field experiences in the credential program provides teacher candidates with the foundation, skills, and knowledge to serve students with mild/moderate disabilities or students with extensive service needs. Coursework and field experiences prepare teacher candidates to observe, plan, apply/teach what they’ve learned, and reflect upon their practices in a full range of service delivery options from general to special education classroom settings to tiered intervention settings, and from community-based settings to special schools. All teacher candidates have experiences in diverse settings. Signature course assignments and practicum requirements are aligned with teacher performance expectations (TPEs) established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). 

Program modifications over the recent two years include a complete program redesign to address new state TPEs, adding new courses, removing the Clear Credential option, and offering more hybrid and on-line courses to support the ever-changing needs of our teacher candidates.

Means for stakeholder input include multiple pathways. District partners (Fresno Unified, Clovis Unified, Madera Unified, Central Unified, and Sanger Unified) provide input through our advisory boards, input meetings, and surveys. Adjunct instructors who are also personnel in partner schools are involved in both the planning and delivery of courses and fieldwork. Special Education Local Plan Area Directors and district partners are also invited to the university’s Special Education Advisory Board meeting, held periodically to provide input and feedback. Superintendents provide input at the President’s Commission on Teacher Education held two or three times a year. Additionally, stakeholders attend the annual Dobbs Special Educator of the Year award ceremony currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Course of Study

Description of the sequence of coursework: Prior to admission, applicants must submit passing scores on the California Basic Educational Skills Test [CBEST] or equivalent, and the three Multiple Subject California Subject Examinations for Teachers [CSET] examinations or pass a Commission-approved subject matter preparation program. Three prerequisite courses are also required prior to admission: SPED 120 Introduction to Teaching [or waiver] or concurrently with admission; EHD 50 Educational Applications of Technology and CI 100 Introduction to Special Education. It is in this latter course that students are introduced to universal design for instruction, multi-tiered systems of support, strategies for working with diverse learners and other topics relevant to special education. 

Across all three phases of the program, Education Specialist teacher candidates engage in coursework and clinical practice student teaching experiences. 

In Phase 1 only, Education Specialist Mild/Moderate and Extensive Service Needs candidates enroll in 15 units of identical coursework. LEE 158 Literacy Foundations TK-8 addresses and examines influential factors and guiding principles of becoming literate in multiple subject areas and the design and implementation of integrated, thematic literacy instruction. LEE 159 Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Pedagogy in TK-8 Contexts addresses the pedagogy and best practices for teaching Emergent Bilingual students. CI 176 Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment addresses strategies for teaching and assessing mathematics concepts. SPED 145 Special Education and the Law addresses special education law, ethics, and individualized education programs (IEPs). EHD 178 Field Study B is the initial student teaching experience in a general education classroom.  In this clinical practice experience, candidates develop and teach six formal lessons and complete one teacher performance assessment, the Site Visitation Teaching Sample Project. The companion clinical practice seminar, EHD 178A Field Placement Seminar B, addresses current trends in education, such as supports for at-risk students, mental health, and the integration of visual arts, performing arts and physical education into classroom lessons. 

Dual Credential candidates pursuing the Preliminary Education Specialist and Multiple Subject Credentials complete 18 units in Phase 1, including three courses with their Education Specialist peers: LEE 158 Literacy Foundations TK-8, LEE 159 Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Pedagogy in the Tk-8 Context, and CI 176 Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment. During Phase 1, dual candidates also enroll in CI 163 Curriculum and Pedagogy-Designing for Successful Teaching TK-8, which addresses curriculum theories and multiple pedagogical approaches with a focus on the integration of curriculum and instruction; CI 162 Understanding Children, Learning and Development in TK-8 Classrooms, which addresses the principles of educational psychology and their relations with recent research and school practice, diverse theoretical perspectives on learning and development in children and adolescents, as well as their implementation and application in school settings; and LEE 160 Inquiry and Puzzles of Practice A addresses the first of three inquiry courses.

In Phase 2, Education Specialist candidates complete 17 units in six courses: LEE 166 Disciplinary Literacies and Integrated Curriculum TK-8 examines how reading, writing, talking, listening and viewing are tools for learning content will guide an inquiry-based approach to curriculum planning, curriculum implementation, and assessment across curricula. SPED 125 Positive Behavior and Social Supports addresses the principles of behavior and best practices for structuring and maintaining effective classroom management and individualized behavioral intervention strategies. SPED 130 Assessment addresses formal and informal assessments used across the full range of students with disabilities (mild/moderate to extensive service needs), interpretation of test data, and the practical application of data to design instruction. SPED 146 Curriculum and Instruction of Students with Extensive Service Needs or SPED 136 Curriculum and Instruction of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities provides a knowledge base of strategies and interventions for students who are not responding to the current instructional environment with a focus on evidence-base curricula and instructional methods that are effective with students with mild/moderate or moderate/severe disabilities. SPED 171/172 Initial Practicum in Special Education in Mild/Moderate or Extensive Service Needs is the initial special education student teaching experience taken concurrently with its companion course, EHD 170A Field Placement Seminar C, which explores special education relevant topics such as health and safety, trauma-informed practices, etc. 

Dual Certification candidates complete 19 units in six courses in Phase 2. Two courses, LEE 166 Disciplinary Literacies and Integrated Curriculum TK-8 and SPED 125 Positive Behavior and Social Supports are taken with their Education Specialist peers. The remaining four courses consist of CI 176 Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment, which addresses strategies for teaching and assessing mathematics concepts, CI 175 Science Instruction and Applied Technology, designed to prepares candidates to effectively and equitably teach elementary school science with contemporary instructional technologies; LEE 167 Inquiry and Puzzles of Practice B continues with the inquiry cycle introduced in Phase 1, and EHD 110D Initial Dual Student Teaching, which is a mixture of initial Multiple Subject and Special Education clinical experiences three full day per week.

Dual candidates in Phase 3 enroll in SPED 130 Assessment and SPED 146 Curriculum and Instruction of Students with Extensive Service Needs or SPED 136 Curriculum and Instruction of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities described above. In addition, Dual candidates enrolled in their final two Multiple Subject courses, LEE 169S Inquiry and Puzzles of Practice C, the last of the three cycles of inquiry and EHS 170 Field Study C, the final student teaching experience in a general education classroom.
Education Specialist candidates in Phase 3 and Dual Credential candidates in Phase 4 enroll in the same in five courses (15 units). SPED 219 Home-School Collaboration and Collaborative Partnerships examines the educational, psychological, and political issues that arise when developing collaborative relationships in educational settings with the range of individuals on the educational teams of students with disabilities and the development of effective materials, strategies, and skills to work with these individuals. SPED 233 The Special Educator as Researcher examines the special educator as researcher through reading, critical thinking, analyses and reflection on contemporary and emerging research in special education. Candidates design and implement pilot research in this course.  Education Specialist Extensive Service Needs candidates take SPED 247 Advanced Instruction and Support Planning for Students with Extensive Support Needs, which addresses the assessment, development and implementation of instructional strategies, peer relationships and individualized communication systems for students with challenging communication behaviors. Mild/Moderate teacher candidates take SPED 246 Specialized Academic Instruction and Transition Planning for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities which examines appropriate methodology and transition planning, assistive technology and an array of research-based strategies to address specialized academic instruction. SPED 175 Final Practicum in Special Education Mild/Moderate or SPED 176 Final Practicum in Special Education Extensive Service Needs is final student teaching experience for teacher candidates.

Education Specialist and Dual Mild/Moderate or Extensive Service Needs Courses and Units 

Note: All courses shown below are taken by Education Specialist (ES) and Dual Candidates, except where noted as an ES or Dual only course

Phase 1

Phase 2

or

or

Coordination of coursework with field work: The sequenced design of the program is based on a clearly stated rationale that requires candidates to complete foundational classes and basic content-specific pedagogy coursework while concurrently practicing the application of these concepts and teaching skills in a field placement setting. Candidates are expected to apply the theoretical and scholarly concepts, knowledge, and teaching skills in planning and implementing effective and appropriate lessons and units of study. Candidates learn to use state-adopted instructional materials, assess student progress, and apply these understandings in teaching K-22 students as related to the content of the pedagogy coursework and to practice this knowledge in their field placements. 

Types of coursework in critical areas: The understanding and acceptance of differences in culture, cultural heritage, ethnicity, language, age, religion, social economic status, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and abilities and disabilities of individuals served are covered in SPED 120, SPED 145, LEE 159, and SPED 219. A variety of assignments enrich their practical knowledge of school-based structures, philosophy, student outcomes and goals as a requirement of this class. Structured classroom observations focus on the ways in which teachers are using SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) strategies to meet the needs of English learners at various grade levels and in various content area instruction. High expectations and appropriate instructional strategies for all students are discussed and practiced through activities and assignments throughout the program. 

Number and type of field placements: The Education Specialist program has three field placements: EHD 178 Field Study B, SPED 171 Initial Practicum in Special Education Mild/Moderate, SPED 172 Initial Practicum in Special Education Extensive Service Needs, SPED 175 Final Practicum in Special Education Mild/Moderate or SPED 176 Final Practicum in Special Education Extensive Service Needs. EHD 178 is the general education classroom field placement Education Specialist candidates. SPED 171/172 are initial practicum placements to support coursework in the field, and SPED 175/176 are final student teacher placements.

Connection of field experience with coursework: The field experiences of Education Specialist candidates is connected to coursework through signature assignments, class discussions, seminars, and reflections. Candidates apply what they learn in foundation courses, and in turn, use what they experience in the field to further extend their skills and knowledge in advanced courses such as SPED 246, SPED 247, and SPED 233.

Field supervision, advisement, evaluation: frequency, type, from BOTH the program personnel and the district employed individual (master teacher) when required in a program. Supervised clinical practice experiences are required in all three phases with additional supervised clinical practice for interns as needed. 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 students with significant support needs, including those in medical settings. 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. Field supervision of teacher candidates is conducted by both district-provided Veteran Practitioners and University Clinical Practice Coaches. Veteran Practitioners [mentor teachers] must hold a Clear Credential in the content area for which they are providing supervision and have a minimum of three years of content area K-12 teaching experience. The Veteran Practitioner must have demonstrated exemplary teaching practices as determined by the employing district and the university teacher preparation program. The matching of Teacher Candidate and the Veteran Practitioner is a collaborative process between the school district and the program. 

The University Clinical Practice Coach must hold a Clear Special Education Credential or have been an administrator at a school site with special education programs. All have many years of teaching experience and hold Master’s degrees or higher. The role of the University Coach is to support and guide teacher candidates to develop their instructional, management and professional skills.  University Clinical Practice Coaches conduct eleven on-site visits with each candidate: three triad meetings with master teacher and candidate [initial, mid-term and final triad meetings]; two informal visits, and six formal observations of the lessons that were developed and taught by the candidate, each of which is followed by a debriefing meeting, coaching and written evaluation. In addition, coaches verify time logs, review candidates’ six formal lesson plans, post-lesson reflections and weekly reflections on learning and additional contacts as needed.

Assessment of Candidates

Education Specialist candidates are evaluated formally and informally throughout the program.  Teacher candidates’ performances are assessed formally through the Site Visitation Teaching Sample Project, one of two assessments in the Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST), a state-approved Teacher Performance Assessment system designed for use at Fresno State. The Site Visitation Project Teaching Sample Project measures candidates’ pedagogical competence to effectively plan lessons, implement lessons, and reflect upon their own instruction. The Site Visitation Teaching Sample Project addresses these TPEs [Teaching Performance Expectations]: TPE 1 - Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning (1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.8); TPE 2 - Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning (2.2, 2.6); TPE 3 - Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5); TPE 4 - Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students (4.1, 4.2, 4.7) and TPE 6 - Developing as a Professional Educator (6.1).
Candidates also receive feedback on their knowledge and performance in each course and clinical practice experience. Each course measures candidates’ performance on program-designed signature assignments which are evaluated by rubrics which lists specific criteria for grading or scoring candidates’ performance. Periodic review of the rubric data provides information for continuous program improvement. In clinical practice, student teachers receive ongoing formative feedback and coaching on their lesson plans and instruction from their University Coach and Veteran Practitioner. The Coach also provides written feedback from their observations of the candidate’s six formal lessons. At the mid-term and final points of the semester, triad meetings are conducted with the Mentor Teacher, University Coach and Teacher Candidate to provide overall performance and growth feedback and for the candidate to set professional goals.

What advice candidates receive about how they will be assessed in the program and informed of the results of those assessments: Students are assessed in a variety of ways throughout the program. They initially receive information regarding signature course assignments and portfolio requirements in a practicum orientation. This information is further elaborated upon in the specific course with which each assignment is aligned. Students are informed of assessment results (assignment scores/g, practicum observation feedback, etc.) in a timely manner at various points in each semester.

2. Course Sequence

Draft Course Sequence

Education Specialist and Dual Mild/Moderate (MM) or Extensive Service Needs (ESN) Course Sequences and Units 

Note: All courses shown below are taken by Education Specialist (ES) and Dual Candidates, except where noted as an ES or Dual only course

Phase 1

Phase 2

or

or

Phase 3 Dual only

or

Phase 3 Education Specialist and Phase 4 Dual

or

or

Total Education Specialist Units: 47 units

Total Dual Certification Units: 70 units

3. Course Matrix

4. Fieldwork and Clinical Practice

Fieldwork Hours Table

Table Denoting Number of Hours of Clinical Practice

Mild/Moderate Clinical Practice Hours

Course title

Brief Description

Number of Hours

EHD 178: Field Study B Multiple Subject fieldwork

Supervised field experience in an elementary general education classroom

288 hours

SPED 171: Initial Practicum in Special Education Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Supervised field experience in mild/moderate special education and inclusive settings

288 hours

SPED 175: Final Practicum in Special Education Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Supervised field experience in mild/moderate special education and inclusive settings

550 hours

Extensive Needs Clinical Practice Hours

Course title

Brief Description

Number of Hours

EHD 178: Field Study B Multiple Subject fieldwork

Supervised field experience in an elementary general education classroom

288 hours

SPED 172: Initial Practicum in Special Education Extensive Needs Disabilities

Supervised field experience in extensive needs special education and inclusive settings

288 hours

SPED 176: Initial Practicum in Special Education Extensive Needs Disabilities

Supervised field experience in extensive needs special education and inclusive settings

550 hours

Internship Clinical Practice Hours [taken when above courses are either completed or prior to final student teaching if CSETs are not passed]

Course title

Brief Description

Number of Hours

SPED 160F: Education Specialist Intern Clinical Practice

Supervised field experience for Education Specialist interns, taken when the intern has completed all clinical practice coursework in their program and need additional clinical practice support for the internship, or when the intern has not met the clearance requirements to enroll in final practicum.

550 hours

Veteran Practitioner Training Material

Draft Manuals, Handbooks or Advising Materials

Draft Fieldwork/Clinical Practice Syllabi

Clinical Practice Syllabi

Assessment Instruments

Clinical Practice Assessment Instruments