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Elementary and Special Education

Overview of Program

Hood College develops exceptional teachers who have a strong foundation in the liberal arts, the sciences and in teaching methods. Our program is recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Education students are guided by faculty who have earned doctorates and who have considerable expertise in the education field.

In the Classroom

Students majoring in elementary/special education develop academic breadth by completing courses in English, science, mathematics and other liberal arts areas. The academic work prepares students for dual Maryland certification to teach elementary grades 1-6 and special education grades 1-8. Maryland teaching certification entitles the bearer to reciprocal certification in more than 30 states. Courses give practical insight into classroom management, child development and the most recent issues and research findings in curriculum and instruction.

Real-world Experience

Students can participate in local community activities that focus on children and youth through Hood's Student Education Association and Best Buddies clubs, where they discuss issues in education with other members and local educators and meet some of the area's leading education specialists. Some students are invited to enroll in a summer reading practicum, assisting graduate students who work in Hood's reading clinic. And, of course, teaching internship assignments in local public schools enable students to participate in a full program of classroom teaching.

Benefits of Hood's Education Programs

Hood's combined certification in elementary/special education makes graduates more marketable, as they are able to pursue employment in general elementary education and/or special education settings. Hood's graduates are better prepared to deal with students with diverse learning styles who are enrolled in general education classrooms.

What Our Students Say About the Program

Students provide the best insight into the strengths of Hood's program:

"The internship experiences, starting with the first class, are one of the best things. They let you try out your major and confirms this is your area."

"You're prepared and confident to be a teacher."

"Hood's faculty members are willing to mentor students (review lesson plans, make suggestions, answer questions, help with job applications). There is a strong support network for students."

Portfolio Development

Students develop entry and exit folios as part of the education program at Hood. The entry folio helps students discover areas for improvement and establish topics or plans for gaining needed knowledge and experience. The exit folio is a great tool for students to show others what they have learned and what they can do as a teacher. Students have the opportunity to showcase the range of experiences and abilities they have developed as a result of work in the field and in the classroom.

Requirements for the Elementary/Special Education Program

All students must complete 9 credits in English, 9 credits in social sciences, 12 credits in science and 12 credits in mathematics. Additionally, students complete 12 credits of prerequisite education courses. After successfully completing the prerequisite courses and achieving the minimum passing score on Maryland's Praxis I assessment or combined SAT reading and math scores of 1100, students move into Phase I of the program. This phase includes coursework in reading instruction, science and social science curricula and special education teaching methods. Students must also participate in field placements one half day each week at a designated school.

Program Prerequisites

The courses in the prerequisite portion of the dual certification in elementary/special education program prepare students for the professional sequences in Phases I, II and III. Along with these prerequisite courses, students must complete field experiences in designated Professional Development Schools (PDS). While completing prerequisite courses, dual certification in elementary/special education students must obtain Maryland's minimum passing score on Praxis I.

Phase I

Entry to Phase I is contingent upon 1) successful completion of prerequisite courses, 2) maintaining a 2.75 GPA in education courses and overall GPA, 3) successful performance in prerequisite field experiences, 4) meeting Maryland's minimum passing score on Praxis I or MSDE acceptable equivalent (e.g., SAT, ACT), 5) submission of the Phase I application and 6) endorsement by the Program Advisory Council. By the end of Phase I, students submit their entry folio and apply for entrance into Phase II.

Phase II

Entry to Phase II is contingent upon 1) successful completion of Phase I courses, 2) successful performance in Phase I field placements, 3) maintaining a 2.75 GPA overall and in education courses, 4) a score of "Emergent" or higher on the entry folio, 5) submission of the Phase II application and 6) endorsement by the Program Advisory Council. Phase II is the initial semester of the yearlong internship. Students participate in full-time course work and field experiences in a designated PDS. Phase II courses are open only to students admitted to the yearlong internship. Phase II courses must be taken concurrently. When Phase II students are not in class, they are interning in a PDS. While in Phase II, students should be completing their PRAXIS II tests specific to elementary education and special education certification.

Phase III

Entry into Phase III is contingent upon 1) successful completion of Phase II courses, 2) successful performance in Phase II internship, 3) maintaining a 2.75 GPA overall and in education courses 4) submission of the Phase III application and 5) endorsement by the Program Advisory Council. The dual certification program in elementary/special education student will be engaged in a full-time teaching internship in designated PDSs. Phase III courses are open only to students who have successfully completed Phase II and have been approved to continue in the yearlong internship. Toward the end of Phase III and in partial fulfillment of program requirements, the student submits the exit folio, which must meet the rating score of "Proficient" or higher. Completion of Phase III and the certification program is contingent upon meeting Maryland's minimum passing score on Praxis II tests specific to elementary education and special education certification.

Alumni Success Stories

Dual certification education graduates are in demand because of Hood's well-established reputation for preparing outstanding educators. Recent graduates currently teach in classrooms across the country and abroad. Hood alumni have advanced professionally and are employed as master teachers, counselors, reading and curriculum specialists, principals and school superintendents.

Learn more about the major and the department.