SERC program earns national recognition

February 20, 2017

Collaborative Teacher Special Education - SERC Department - Group PhotoThe Collaborative Teacher Special Education faculty in the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling (SERC) has earned national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). This recognition includes the Class B Collaborative Teacher programs (Grades K-6 and 6-12).

“This recognition is meaningful because it distinguishes our Collaborative Teacher Special Education program,” said Dr. Margaret Flores, a SERC faculty member who was the author of the report which CEC used to make its distinction. “When the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) visits us they want to see how our program matches up with its accreditation standards. They examine our progress in meeting those standards as they change over the years. For the report, we took our existing course activities to show that we are meeting the required set of standards for special education teachers. The report showed how our students are being well prepared for their futures in the classroom. Our success in doing this is what earned this recognition.”

Flores explained that all assessments are performance based. There is nothing passive involved in the assessment, such as taking tests.

“This recognition is based on student interaction, how they develop and handle interventions, and really just ‘real life’ instructional activities that they will be doing in the classroom as teachers,” Flores said. “Our program faculty and practicum supervisors assisted students in completing professional activities, implementing lessons and interventions over several semesters to show that our students and our program made progress and moved toward competence. Our accrediting body also wants to see that we are making active changes and continuous improvement. They looked at our rubrics, which we submitted with our application, that show what percentage of our students achieved competence over several years. It is important that these rubrics show improvement and that we can describe how the program changed to better assist students in achieving competence.”

To prepare the report, Flores took the program’s current activities, updated all rubrics, and created new activities. With these demonstrable accomplishments, she submitted reports and supporting documentation to CEC.

“This recognition is part of an ongoing process,” she explained. “A couple of years ago we submitted an application and received CEC feedback. Since that time we revised our program and CEC revised its standards. Therefore, this was a new application and process of program evaluation. As a result of this process, we engaged in reflection and program improvement and are definitely doing things better. Our performance assessment shows that our students are doing it. We’re very pleased to gain this national recognition.”

Congratulations to the Collaborative Teacher Special Education faculty, and thanks to Dr. Flores for her great work!