Special Education

Program Description:
The Education Specialist Credential (ESC) program provides future special educators the knowledge and experience to teach a wide range of diverse students with moderate and severe disabilities. The California Education Specialist Credential authorizes program graduates to teach students with autism, orthopedic impairments, cerebral palsy, developmental or intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, visual impairments, and other areas of need. The credential authorizes graduates to teach grades K–12, as well as transition programs for adults through age twenty-two. ESC Program graduates are prepared to become education interventionists who can effectively design and implement a range of special education models, such as inclusion programs and special day class programs in public schools and other settings such as, non-public schools, special schools, home/hospital settings, correctional facilities, non-public school and agencies, and resource rooms.

The Education Specialist Credential teacher candidates are trained over 13-months as part of a cohort. The program begins in late June and concludes the following July. Candidates take courses administered over two summer sessions and three 10-week quarters. A range of experienced educators, former special education teachers, and special education professors teach courses in the ESC program. Courses are designed with a high degree of coordination with fieldwork so candidates get an authentic experience in all domains important to the role of a special educator. The candidates’ field experience coincides with coursework throughout the 13-months. The field experience begins with 25 hours of respite care during the first summer session, working with families in their homes and the community, followed by an entire academic year of student teaching in local schools. Candidates do student teaching in three different special education programs, experiencing both secondary and elementary levels of special education, and different program models such as inclusion models and special days class. Over the academic year, the candidates participate in supervised student teaching experience working with public school teachers and university fieldwork supervisors. All of these experiences and resources culminate in a high caliber program known for training outstanding teachers.

The Education Specialist Credential program focuses on providing quality experience for candidates so they can enter the teaching profession and provide an excellent education for students with disabilities in California. Our mission is to prepare educators who will:

  • Contribute to creating a more inclusive society so that individuals with disabilities can become contributing members of society.
  • Promote inclusion of all students by fostering positive attitudes within schools towards students with disabilities.
  • Provide best practices, support, and instruction for students with moderate/severe disabilities and to provide positive, non-aversive, effective behavioral interventions for students with challenging behaviors to maximize their potential
  • Understand the most recent research practices for best teaching and value, understand, keep updated on new research and understand the value of action research to evaluate their own instruction.
  • Work in collaborative teams with other professionals, families of students with disabilities to form positive partnerships.
  • Work on interdisciplinary teams and manage classrooms with paraprofessionals and volunteers.
  • Be advocates for their students.
  • Have an understanding of broader issues of policy and organization related to individuals with disabilities and respond to the cultural and linguistic context of their students.
  • Maximize their resources by utilizing available supports, such as peer tutoring, volunteer training, training families, assistive technology, self-management, in order to realize the goal of genuine self-individualization.