Department of Exceptional Education

The Department of Exceptional Education offers programs in special education, ESL and gifted education.

Special Education Master's Level Licensure Program
The undergraduate, pre-professional program in special education complements a professionally oriented master's degree program designed to prepare special education teachers and is accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE's performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students. This program provides the requisite course offerings and experiences that form the foundation for admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree program in special education. Completion of the M.A.T. program is required for licensure in special education: accessing general curriculum K-12 or special education: inclusive early childhood education (birth-grade 3). Candidates completing the special education IECE program will also be eligible for early childhood preK-3rd grade licensure.

Teacher candidates completing the professional licensure program must meet a set of content and specific teaching area criteria that has been established by the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as most other states. In order to meet these requirements, students are advised to major in a liberal arts or science major. Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IDLS), a major that provides students in the pre-professional program extended breadth and integration across the content areas of English/language arts, history/social studies, mathematics and the natural sciences, is recommended though other majors may be selected with the approval of the special education program.

The special education pre-professional program enables one to become knowledgeable about the characteristics, diagnosis and remediation of children with disabilities accessing the general education curriculum. Students completing the five year licensure program are prepared to serve as teachers of students with disabilities in a variety of educational placements and delivery models.

The licensure program is designed to prepare resilient, culturally competent educators who are advocates for children and youth with disabilities, are qualified for the complexity of their professional roles and are reflective problem-solvers.

The program includes extensive field experiences. Assessment of candidate performance includes evaluation of performance in individual courses and practicum, as well as other criteria. At various points throughout the program, there are formative and summative assessments where faculty committees review the overall performance of each candidate. Formative assessments will be used to advise candidates and develop a plan of actions for addressing any concerns that have been identified by the faculty. Summative assessments will be used to identify those candidates who are not making satisfactory progress towards advancement to the next sequences of courses and experiences. If progress is unsatisfactory, the candidate will not be allowed to continue until any identified deficiencies are corrected. In some cases, a candidate will be allowed to continue in the next semester, but there will be a plan of action for addressing any concerns that have been identified by the faculty.

Students should consult with the department head, undergraduate coordinator or their assigned adviser early during the first year or as soon thereafter as possible to obtain information concerning General Education, IDLS or other liberal arts or science majors, and special education requirements as well as the requirements for admission to teacher education.

The IDLS major is assigned two advisers. One adviser is the adviser for the education pre-professional licensure program who will guide the student through the licensure program requirements. The other adviser is the IDLS adviser who will guide the student through the IDLS major requirements. Students should plan on consulting both advisers regularly. Typically, the education adviser is assigned when the student meets with the head coordinator of his or her licensure program and elects the licensure program. This may be as early as the first semester of the first year. The IDLS adviser is assigned when the first year student advising folders are transferred to the IDLS office (second semester, first year). Students are required to check with advisers regularly to ensure timely graduation.

It is important for students to understand that they must meet the requirements for a baccalaureate degree and successfully complete all undergraduate pre-professional courses and experiences prior to being fully admitted to the M.A.T. program. Students must complete the M.A.T. program satisfactorily in order to be recommended for a teaching license in special education through JMU.

Students should note that prerequisites and corequisites are required for many of the courses included in the pre-professional special education program. Exceptions to meeting those requirements must be approved by the Exceptional Education department head.

Students should also be aware that program requirements may change at any time reflecting changes in teacher licensure enacted by the Virginia Department of Education or other accrediting agencies after the catalog copy is approved. Therefore, it is especially important for students to confer with their advisers and the program coordinator on a regular basis.

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Special Education Licensure Programs

Dr. Laura Desportes, Program Coordinator
(540) 568-4527

General Curriculum K-12
Completion of the five-year professional program may lead to eligibility for a Virginia teaching license for the special education general curriculum K-12.

Assessment occurs each semester and performance will be reviewed at each assessment gate. Candidates must demonstrate satisfactory performance before moving on to the next semester. Satisfactory performance includes a "C" or better in course work, demonstration of professional behaviors, and acceptable performance in practicums and on key assessments.

To be recommended for licensure, all students must meet the following requirements:

For program requirements, refer to the College of Education Web site or contact the department head.

Early Childhood Special Education
The fifth-year early childhood special education program is being phased out and replaced with the inclusive early childhood education program. Contact the program coordinator of special education programs for more information.

Inclusive Early Childhood Education Master's Level Licensure Program

Birth – Age Five
The inclusive early childhood program draws heavily from research and theories in child development, family systems, special education, differentiated teaching and learning. Through course work and extensive field experiences, the teacher candidate is prepared to design activities that have an interdisciplinary focus, reflect an understanding of the individual child's development and learning, recognize the importance of family and developmental influences, support the young child in constructing knowledge about self and the world, and involve parents in supporting the child's growth and development.

The JMU program prepares teachers for endorsements in Early Childhood Special Education, birth to five, and Early Childhood Education, PreK-3. The program is based on the following three assumptions:

The courses in the Inclusive Early Childhood Education program are sequentially organized throughout four undergraduate and three graduate semesters to help candidates develop an understanding of how children learn and interact in learning environments as well as familiarity with methods and materials appropriate for teaching and working in a collaborative way with families and other professionals.

Field experiences are provided along with course work to enable candidates to apply their knowledge in a variety of family and learning settings. Candidates must be accepted in teacher education to begin upper level IECE course work.

Assessment occurs each semester and performance will be reviewed at each assessment gate. Candidates must demonstrate satisfactory performance before moving on to the next semester. Satisfactory performance includes a 2.5 GPA or better in IECE course work, demonstration of professional behaviors, acceptable performance in practica and on key assessments.
To be recommended for licensure in ECSE and PreK-3, candidates must satisfy the following requirements:

Candidates in this program must meet with the head of the Department of Early, Elementary and Reading Education, declare the pre-professional licensure program in inclusive early childhood education, be assigned a date to start the program, and be assigned an adviser in inclusive early childhood education in addition to their first year or major adviser. A limited number of candidates can start the program each semester; therefore, candidates should meet with the department head during their first semester of enrollment at JMU.

The IDLS major is assigned two advisers. One adviser is the dviser for the education pre-professional licensure program who will guide the student through the licensure program requirements. The other adviser is the IDLS adviser who will guide the student through the IDLS major requirements. Students should plan on consulting both a dvisers regularly. Typically, the education adviser is assigned when the student meets with the head of his or her licensure program and elects the licensure program. This may be as early as the first semester of the first year. The IDLS adviser is assigned when the first year student advising folders are transferred to the IDLS office (second semester, first year). Students are required to check with advisers regularly to ensure timely graduation.

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree and Major Requirements Credit Hours
General Education requirements 1 41
Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Major 37
Inclusive Early Childhood Licensure Pre-professional Course Work 43
Graduate Degree Work 30

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

Recommended Schedule for Inclusive Early Childhood Education
Students should take General Education, IDLS requirements, EDUC 300, EXED 200 and IECE 200 during their first and second years.

Third Year Credit Hours
IECE 300. Programming and Practices in Inclusive Early Childhood Education 3
IECE 301. Inclusive Early Childhood Education Programming 1
and Practices Practicum  
EDUC 310. Teaching in a Diverse Society 3
IECE 320. Development and Assessment of Infants 3
IECE 321. Practicum Supporting the Development of Infants and Toddlers 2
IECE 322. Supporting the Development of Infants and Toddlers 3
Major requirements 15

  30

 

Fourth Year Credit Hours
IECE 420. Development of the Young Child 3
IECE 421. Practicum in Development of the Young Child 1
IECE 422. Teaching Young Children 3
IECE 423. Practicum: Teaching Young Children 1
IECE 460. Instructional Practices in Numeracy 3
IECE 461. Practicum in Primary Grade 3
IECE 462. Instructional Practices in Natural Sciences for Young Children 3
IECE 464. Instructional Practices in Social Studies for Young Children 3
IECE 466. Seminar in Managing Classroom and Guiding Behavior 1
Major requirements 9

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Graduate Courses
Candidates beginning the graduate portion of the program must meet all Graduate School requirements and criteria for admission; it is expected that students will complete the admission process during their senior year. In addition, students must meet all graduate level graduation requirements.

Graduate Courses Credit Hours
IECE 600. Teacher as Researcher 3
IECE 612. Teacher as Decision Maker 3
IECE 613. Practicum in Education of Young Children 3
IECE 614. Individualized Behavior Intervention for Young Children 3
IECE 620. Teacher As Professional 2
IECE 630. Teacher As Leader 2
IECE 632. Play and Creativity With Young Children 3
IECE 634. Medical Aspects Impacting Young Children 3
IECE 680. Student Teaching With Young Children 8

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Student Teaching
Candidates must apply to student teach one year prior to their student teaching semester. At that time, students must be fully accepted into teacher education, be admitted unconditionally to graduate school and have a 3.0 graduate GPA.

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Gifted Education

Dr. Mary Slade, Program Adviser
Phone: (540) 568-2886

The Department of Exceptional Education offers an add-on endorsement in gifted education at the graduate level only. See the graduate catalog for information.

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English Language Learning Academy

Dr. Stephanie Wasta, Director
(540) 568-5210

The mission of the English Language Learning Academy (ELLA) is to provide language learning opportunities and support through licensure, minor, clinical and direct service programs. Through outreach efforts to businesses, industries and schools, ELLA offers opportunities for individuals to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support their development as contributing professionals and citizens of our community.

The English Language Learning Academy offers initial PK-12 licensure program in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at the bachelor's and post-baccalaureate levels, and operates the ESL Career Development Academy.

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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Dr. Stephanie Wasta, Coordinator
(540) 568-5210

The Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program is designed to enable students to complete the minor and add the TESL teaching area to their licensure. Although the focus of the program is on satisfying the requirements for teaching English as a Second Language, teacher candidates and students enrolled in other majors who are interested in second language acquisition may complete the TESL minor. Licensure candidates must complete requirements beyond those courses listed in the minor in order to be recommended for TESL licensure. Candidates interested in teacher licensure should consult with the program adviser.

The mission of the minor in Teaching English as a Second Language is to prepare students to work effectively in promoting English language acquisition by children and adults who have not used English as their primary language. The minor will also serve to develop knowledge of cross-cultural education. The TESL minor draws heavily upon theories of linguistics, research on social and cultural variables that influence second language acquisition, and the knowledge required to facilitate second language learning.

Required Courses Credit Hours
TESL 425/525. Cross-Cultural Education 3
TESL 426/526. Concepts in First and Second Language Acquisition 3
TESL 428/528. Assessment for Curriculum Development in English as 3
a Second Language  
EXED 401. Issues in Exceptional Education 3
(when topic is Linguistics for Language Teachers)  
READ 430. Development, Assessment and Instruction of Literacy 3

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Licensure to Teach ESL

PreK-12
Through the state-approved program at James Madison University, individuals complete requirements for an initial teaching license in TESL to teach in the public schools of Virginia. Additionally, it may be possible for candidates currently enrolled in initial teaching licensure programs to complete the TESOL requirements in conjunction with completing their other preparation program or complete the additional teaching license requirements as post-baccalaureate students to accomplish dual licensure. It is important that students interested in dual licensure work closely with their academic adviser and the coordinator if the TESL program. Individuals who complete the program are prepared to design activities for ESL students in PreK-12, assess student learning and serve as resource personnel to help accommodate the linguistic and social needs of ESL students.

The TESL program prepares educators who:

For program requirements, refer to the College of Education Web site.

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Non-Teaching Minor Requirements

Special Education Non-Teaching Minor

Dr. Laura Desportes, Program Coordinator
(540) 568-4527

The non-teaching minor program in special education is designed for students in other major fields who wish to acquire professional knowledge related to assisting individuals with disabilities but who do not want to pursue Virginia teaching licensure. All students seeking to complete the minor must meet with the non-teaching program adviser to develop an approved program of study. The completion of 18 credit hours of course credit is required for the minor.

Required Courses Credit Hours
EXED 200. Nature and Issues of Disabilities 3
EXED 303. Classroom Management and Professional Collaboration 3
Choose two of the following: 6
EXED 310. Survey of Emotional/Behavioral Disorders  
EXED 320. Survey of Learning Disabilities  
EXED 330. Survey of Intellectual Disability  
EXED 375. Overview of Autism  

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Electives Credit Hours
Select six credits from the following: 6
EXED 202. Field Experiences in Special Education  
EXED 300. Educational Technology for Students with Disabilities  
EXED 306. Lifespan Issues for Individuals with Disabilities  
EXED 465. Perspectives of Early Childhood Special Education.  
EXED 490. Special Studies in Special Education  
(requires permission of instructor)  
CSD 420. Introduction to Sign Language  
CSD 421. Sign Language II  
TESL 426. First and Second Language Acquisition  

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