MONTICELLO, Ark.—On March 30, Johnny Key, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) announced in an ADE Commissioner’s Memo that the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has partnered with six universities in Arkansas, including the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM), to offer Special Education Resource Teacher Academies.
The UAM partnership is a result of a grant proposal submitted on behalf of the UAM School of Education in March 2022 by Dr. Kim Level, dean of the UAM School of Education, and Deborah Givhan, special education coordinator and instructor in the UAM School of Education.
The ADE Commissioner’s Memo explained, “The purpose of the Special Education Resource Teacher Academies is to provide current licensed public school educators in Elementary K-6, 4-8, or 7-12 ELA, Math, or Science the opportunity to earn an additional Special Education Resource Endorsement and participate in job-embedded professional development while receiving graduate school credit hours, at no cost to them. Additionally, educators obtaining this endorsement will be able to provide special education services within the general education classroom, as supplementary supports, or in special education classrooms. This will expand the district’s ability to consider and offer a variety of special education service delivery models. With the growing emphasis on inclusive practices, this opportunity will assist in providing Arkansas school districts with the skilled staff needed to lead the nation in student focused inclusive education.”
Givhan expressed excitement after receiving the grant, stating, “I’m thrilled that UAM has the opportunity to enhance the capacity of teachers prepared to work with diverse populations of students. As the state of Arkansas strives to increase the inclusion of students with special needs in our general education classrooms, I feel that this training will be instrumental in the success of all students. And it’s free to eligible teachers.”
Dr. Peggy Doss, chancellor of UAM, emphasized the importance of bringing the academy to the university, stating, “Special education is an academic critical shortage area, and UAM, as one of the main suppliers of teachers in the region, is dedicated to providing service to Southeast Arkansas and beyond to address the teacher shortage. UAM is well-positioned to assist general education teachers to access professional development opportunities and gain the tools necessary to provide student-focused, inclusive special education instruction in general education and special education resource classrooms. We thank Dr. Kim Level, Ms. Deborah Givhan and the DESE for bringing the Special Education Resource Teacher Academy to UAM.”
UAM has received a grant to sponsor 36 teachers to obtain their K-6 or 7-12 Special Education Resource Teacher Endorsement. This includes full tuition and fees for 12 hours of graduate credit, all books and materials, the cost of one application of the Praxis exam and a $100 stipend to help cover the travel cost to the face-to-face meeting.
The opportunity is open to all licensed Arkansas teachers K-6, ELA (4-8 or 7-12), math (4-8 or 7-12) and science. The first face-to-face meeting will be held on Saturday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the UAM campus. This is a mandatory meeting. The four required courses are 100% online and run Summer I: May 31 to June 29; Summer II: July 5 to July 27; Fall I: August 17 to October 6; and Spring I: January 11 to March 2, 2023.
Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2022, and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
All candidates must attend the mandatory face-to-face meeting on May 28, 2022, successfully complete all courses and successfully complete the Praxis exam on the first application. All requirements must be met by the end of May 2023.