Shippensburg University is offering a new dual certification program in pre-K to fourth grade and special education pre-K to eighth grade.
The program recently received approval from the state Department of Education.
The nine-semester program allows students to obtain two certifications without enrolling in graduate school, the university said in a news release. Before the program was approved, students were required to pursue a master’s degree to receive multiple certifications.
The program will be offered this fall to incoming first-year students, as well as to current first-year students and sophomores.
“This particular dual certification is a degree that is in-demand," said Kent Chrisman, professor of early childhood education and chairman of the early childhood program committee. "Many school districts have expressed a preference for dual certification in teaching applicants. We believe that our graduates will be highly qualified for teaching positions and will be able to utilize many competencies through this additional coursework.”
The state education department requires that all candidates for special education certification already have, or be pursuing, certification in a secondary content area.
To complete the new program, students will need to take an additional six special education courses in such areas as providing interventions for students with communication impairments, cognitive and/or physical impairments, and social, emotional and behavior impairments, the release said.
In other news, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education last week changed a funding formula that had been in effect since 2003. Though “still primarily enrollment driven,” the new formula is supposed to provide greater stability and predictability. The formula gives Shippensburg a 1 percent bump in appropriations, while funding for Millersville University in Lancaster County is unchanged.
It also decreases appropriations for some of the universities identified as the strongest performers in discussions about Pa. Senate Bill 1275, which would allow some members to buy their way out of the 14-school PASSHE system and become state-related universities.