Does this program take the place of a traditional teacher preparation program?
No, not exactly. Participants do not need to complete a special education teacher preparation program, but must qualify for conditional special education certification. Participants are still required to pass all Praxis qualifying exams and to complete coursework as specified in Part II of Chapter 115 rules: Requirements for Specific Certificates and Endorsements. NOTE: Part II of Chapter 115 is currently under revision. Please keep abreast of updates during the 2019-20 school year.

What topics are covered by the Special Education Mentorship class?
Topic areas addressed in this course are those that Maine special educators, as well as peer-reviewed literature across the US, identify as important for new teachers to understand. Each seminar will introduce a topic that will be covered in more depth in subsequent courses needed for professional certification. The intent of this course is to help you to be successful during your first year as a special educator.

Seminar topics include:

  • Special Education Law and Introduction to IDEA- includes how we got here
  • Understanding, using, and writing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Incorporating the IEP into the academic and social curricula, adapting instruction
  • Classroom and behavior management
  • Assessments and Evaluations
  • IEP meetings
  • Parent and colleague collaboration

Each session will begin with a learning module that the student will complete in preparation for the seminar. Seminar sessions will be primarily for working with the topic through guided discussion.

Each course section is capped at 15 students and will function as a professional learning cohort.

Can anyone take the course?
This course is open to all new conditionally certified special educators who are currently employed.

Who are the course instructors?
Course instructors are experienced special educators and special education administrators. No special education administrator will have a student from her/his home district.

Though each section of the course is taught by different instructors, the same topics, activities, and assignments are developed and overseen by a qualified University of Maine Special Education faculty member.

Who are the mentors?
Mentors are experienced special educators who have a record of leadership and are skilled at coaching and reflective practice. Mentors attend training and are supported by project staff. They receive a $500 stipend for each mentee they support during the nine-month school year.

How does the mentoring work?
Maine SEEDS is in the process of returning mentor assignment and oversight to SAUs that have trained special educator mentors available to support their new conditionally certified special educators.

If the district has a trained special educator mentor on staff who has experience with the student population taught by the new teacher, the district’s certification committee may assign this person as mentor. District mentors are expected to follow their local PEPG plan and are not required to report to Maine SEEDS.

If the district does NOT have a trained special educator mentor for the new teacher, Maine SEEDS will assign a mentor to provide special education-specific support.

Mentors are paired with participants (mentees) with expertise in the same area of special education as taught by the mentee. Mentors offer support, guidance, modeling and resources to mentees. They are in contact with each mentee for an average of 60 minutes per week through distance technology or, whenever possible, in person.

Does the district need to assign a mentor to the new teacher?
Yes. If you do not have a special educator mentor available, a Maine SEEDS mentor will be available to support your new teacher with special education-specific support needs, and the district mentor will fulfill all other mentoring responsibilities.

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