Limited Apprentice Program in High Incidence Special Education
The Limited Apprentice Program in High Incidence Special Education is designed for people who have degrees in fields other than education, have been working as a special education paraprofessional in a local district, and who would like to work on a master’s degree in high incidence special education. For this Day of Giving project, we are asking your help to fund the book candidates use to prepare for required testing.
This will benefit candidates who are in the Limited Apprentice Program working as paraprofessionals. As they continue in this program, they begin to work as special education teachers. Their responsibilities include enrolling in a graduate program and completing their 33 credit hour graduate program in two years while working as special education teachers. This is a rigorous program that requires them to successfully complete all of their coursework, a performance assessment, Principles of Learning and Teaching Test offered by The Education Testing Services and a content test in special education offered by ETS. During their final semester of their program, they enroll in a seminar which focuses on helping them prepare for these assessments.
To assist the candidates in their preparation, the department has purchased a book which provides the fundamentals to help them prepare primarily for the Principles of Learning and Teaching Test. This is a test that is typically taken by undergraduates who have acquired the required pedagogy of teaching. The limited apprentice candidates acquire the required teaching of special education content within their graduate program and in their special education teaching. However, since they don’t have an initial degree in education, they don’t have the required pedagogy that is captured on the Principles of Learning and Teaching Test which they must pass before they acquire their license.
As of December 2020, we have a total of 16 candidates at various points in this program and several individuals who have expressed an interest in beginning the program in 2021. We have three candidates who have successfully completed their High Incidence Special Education Program, performance assessment, their Principles of Learning and Teaching Test and their content test in special education. We have an additional three candidates who have successfully completed their High Incidence Special Education Program and the performance assessment but have not yet taken their two tests. The remaining 10 candidates are working on their coursework.
We are proud of these special education teachers and wish them much success in their profession!
We are asking your help in covering the cost of the book that each candidate will use during the seminar. This book is given to each candidate to assist them in acquiring background knowledge and pedagogy as they prepare for the tests they are required to take and pass. The cost of each book is about $100. Due to the low pay for paraprofessionals and beginning teachers, the department would like to assist them in their fee for this book.
The criteria for acceptance into this program includes the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in any content area, a minimum of one year of work as a special education paraprofessional and the recommendation of the local school district. The ultimate goal is then to apply for a limited apprentice license while working on a program in high incidence special education at Washburn University and then ultimately teaching special education at the elementary, middle school or high school level in a local school district in Kansas.
The Limited Apprentice Pilot Program in High Incidence Special Education began as an alternative pathway for paraprofessionals who held initial degrees and who wanted to teach special education in the local schools. This program has been offered within the education department at Washburn University since its inception by KSDE in the summer of 2018.
The state of Kansas has made some adjustments to this pilot and has begun offering this limited apprentice program in 2021 as an alternative pathway for paraprofessionals with initial degrees to work on acquiring their master’s degree in high incidence special education.