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Dual Certification in Middle Level (4-8)

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Course Catalog

Program Mission

Our mission is to develop beginning educators who make reflective and deliberate decisions that support and extend the learning of all students by providing them with the best preparation for meeting the needs of a diverse population of individuals and their families.

Description of Program

This degree program prepares candidates to teach students with mild to severe disabilities as well as working with parents, general educators, and related service personnel. The programs in Special Education reflect a curriculum that combine existing and emerging theory and best practices based upon a conceptual framework that develops educators who are reflective and deliberate decision makers.

Beginning educators develop knowledge, processes, and professionalism. The department offers the Integrated Program of studies cooperatively with the Departments of Early Childhood and Elementary Education and Professional and Secondary Education, leading to certification in both Special Education Early Childhood, Middle Level Education or 7 to 12.

Graduates of Special Education/Dual Certificate programs will be eligible to apply for certification to teach students in Special Education Prek-8 with general education Prek-4 grades; or Special Education Prek-8 with general education Middle Level 4-8 grades; or Special Education 7-12 with general education content.

  • Special Education Pre-K-8 with Dual Certification in Pre-K-4
  • Special Education Pre-K-8 with Dual Certification in Middle Level (4-8)
  • Special Education 7-12 with Dual Certification in Secondary Content

In addition, any student pursuing general education certification may add the Special Education Prek-8 or Special Education 7-12 to their program.

All teacher education students should be in frequent consultation with their academic advisers to make sure they are meeting the appropriate program and certification requirements which will vary depending on a variety of certification options.

Learning Outcomes: Specific to Special Education Preparation Programs

There are a variety of areas which the Department of Special Education must be responsive to in the preparation of their candidates. Specific Learning Objectives (SLO) established within the East Stroudsburg University (ESU) strategic plan framework must be addressed.

In addition, within the College of Education (COE), the Basic Education Outcomes (BEOs) are integrated into the specific department programs.

Finally, specific to the preparation of candidates with the Special Education program, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Preparation Standards must be integrated, This is further defined by incorporating the Initial Specialty Set: Individualized General Curriculum and Individualized Independence Curriculum, Combined Knowledge & Skills.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Initial Level Special Educator Preparation Standards

  1. Learner Development and Individual Learning Differences
    Beginning special education professionals understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.
  2. Learning Environments
    Beginning special education professionals create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.
  3. Curricular Content Knowledge
    Beginning special education professionals use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.
  4. Assessment
    Beginning special education professionals use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions.
  5. Instructional Planning and Strategies
    Beginning special education professionals select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.
  6. Professional Learning and Practice
    Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.
  7. Collaboration
    Beginning special education professionals collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a wide range of learning experiences.

Initial Specialty Set: Individualized General Curriculum and Individualized Independence Curriculum, Combined Knowledge & Skills.


The Department of Special Education receives overall accreditation through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). In addition, the Department of Special Education submits to and has received recognition from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In the future, this submission will be with the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Special Education Pre-K-8 with Dual Certification in Middle Level (4-8)

Assessment within the specific special education program includes, but is not limited to:

Completion of:

  • 48-60 credits; including the required courses below
  • 2 Math courses
  • ENGL 104 [English Composition]
  • Additional course in English Literature [numerous options]
  • PSED 150 [Introduction to Teaching All Students]
  • SPED 105 [Special Education History and Law]
  • Minimum 2.8 GPA
  • Passing scores for ETS Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators [CORE] or Pearson Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment [PAPA]
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Math
    • Or combination with a 500+ in SAT scores; and/or 23+ ACT scores
  • Enrollment in:
    • PSED 244 [Adolescent Psychology]
  • Evidence of current:
    • CEC membership
    • PSEA membership
    • Negative TB test results
    • Current Clearances including Act 151; Act 34; and Act 114


Special Education is an exciting and rewarding field and one that is also challenging and demanding. ESU is renowned for producing outstanding special education teachers who improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The Special Education Dual Certification programs at ESU prepare special education teachers to teach children with mild to severe disabilities and to work with parents, general educators, and related service personnel. ESU’s Special Education programs reflect the latest research into best practices and a conceptual framework that develops educators who are reflective and deliberate decision makers.

In February 2010, the Dual Special Education programs received the highest level of praise from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education (PDE) for developing outstanding programs to prepare special educators to teach Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) through 8th grade. PDE also recommended these programs as models for other universities to follow. Some potential career options include, but not limited to:

  • Special Education teacher
  • Early Intervention teacher
  • Elementary Education teacher
  • Middle Education teacher
  • Secondary Education teacher
  • Paraprofessional
  • Specific Content Coach
  • Special Education Case Manager
  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Transition coordinator
  • Additional options as determined by the hiring agency


Faculty are familiar with and experts in the field of special education. The faculty who teach and supervise students in their field experiences, internships, and/or student teaching are experienced practitioners. All faculty hold advanced degrees and are professionally involved at the local, state, regional, national, and/or international level. In addition, all faculty are  involved in scholarly activity.

Student professional organizations within the Special Education program

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a campus group that is part of an international organization that promotes quality programs for individuals with disabilities. CEC provides a great opportunity to meet fellow special educators and work with individuals of all ages who have disabilities. Some of the CEC activities include:

  • Assisting with the Buddy Walk
  • Helping with Special Olympics
  • Tutoring at-risk students
  • Scheduling guest speakers to present information about current special education topics
  • Attending a state level CEC conference

Sigma Pi Epsilon Delta is the National Honor Society for special education and rehabilitation majors. After completion of nine credits of special education major coursework and two recommendation letters, students may apply to join the honorary. Interested applicants must have earned an overall cumulative quality point average of 3.25 or higher in addition to 50 hours of working with individuals with disabilities. Honor society members support activities for individuals with disabilities in the community.

Best Buddies is an international organization that enhances the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. At East Stroudsburg University, we match university students and individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout the community in one-to-one friendships.

Rehabilitative Services Student Organization (RSSO) is the organization for majors in Rehabilitative Services. Members of the organization host speakers from adult service agencies and provide services from area rehabilitation agencies. Our organization is also an active supporter of the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association, which is the state chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association.