DSU educator receives grant to create special education certification program
A Delaware State University faculty member receives federal funding to create a special education certification program.
The U.S. Department of Education awards DSU Assistant Professor of Special Education Rachel Juergensen a five-year grant of just over one million dollars ($1.06) to develop a Delaware Special Educator Certificate Program.
The project will offer master-degree level courses online enabling more teachers to obtain special education certification.
Juergensen says the timing for this grant couldn’t be better.
"There's a pretty large teacher shortage across the board, but particularly with special education. When students with disabilities aren't receiving their education from certified special education teachers they're at a disadvantage because the teachers don't have that knowledge of evidence-based practices, and the instruction that students with disabilities need and have a right to through their individualized education programs," said Juergensen.
Juergensen says this grant will help cover the entire cost for teachers participating in the Delaware Special Educator Certificate Program.
"It will provide full tuition support as well as books and certification testing fees and a small stipend to really remove that financial burden for the teachers and give them the coursework and information and knowledge and opportunities that they need to be able to successfully use evidence-based practices and cultural risk of teaching in their work with students with disabilities," said Juergensen.
The courses will be offered to teachers already working in Delaware schools.
There are five courses, focused on classroom and behavior management, special education legislation and policy, literacy instruction, curriculum and instruction, and using diagnostic assessment to develop individual education plans.
Juergensen notes this grant was awarded with the goal of increasing the number of teachers of color who can teach students with disabilities.
During the grant’s first year, Juergensen will develop courses while expanding her relationship with school districts and recruiting teachers to enroll in the program. Classes begin in 2024.