The Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) today approved and provided updates on initiatives working to grow Indiana’s pipeline of special education teachers, a high-demand field statewide.
“Of our 1.12 million students, almost 16 percent of our students receive special education services. Since we know that teachers are one of the most important elements in maximizing our students’ learning and development, it is essential that we continue to recruit, train and retain our educators in the classroom,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Through a new license option, approval of additional transition to teaching programs and financial assistance to support training for our current and future special education teachers, we’re committed to supporting our local schools as we seek to grow the pipeline of educators in this high-demand field.”
Today’s actions by the SBOE include:
Final Approval of Alternative Route License in Special Education
Following initial approval by the SBOE in October 2021, the SBOE’s final approval today creates a new alternative route license in special education. In alignment with federal requirements, this new license will allow special education teachers previously working on an emergency permit to continue serving in Indiana classrooms while completing a professional educator license in special education or an addition to their existing license.
The alternative route license in special education, which will be valid for three years, requires an educator to hold a bachelor’s degree, be employed by an Indiana school and be enrolled in an approved alternative special education program. Over these three years, the educator will work to complete all requirements for professional licensure.
Approval of New Special Education Transition to Teaching Programs
The SBOE today approved two special education programs that will each provide transition to teaching programs to bachelor’s degree holders who are interested in becoming special education teachers. These programs are offered through the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE) and SPEDACTS.
With the addition of these new transition to teaching programs, Indiana will now have 12 transition to teaching programs available in special education from universities and organizations across the state:
- Indiana University East
- Indiana University Northwest
- Indiana Wesleyan University
- Marian University
- Oakland City University
- Purdue University Fort Wayne
- Teachers of Tomorrow
- University of Indianapolis
- University of Saint Francis
Update on Indiana Special Education Assisted Licensure (I-SEAL) Initiative
In partnership with the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, the I-SEAL initiative works to streamline the required coursework for teachers to earn full special education licensure. I-SEAL also provides financial assistance and scholarships to educators while they complete these requirements.
Since launching in November 2021, I-SEAL has provided licensure assistance to more than 400 current and future special education teachers, including current teachers at more than 150 school districts statewide.
Upon completion of an educator preparation program, a Transition to Teaching program or an I-SEAL graduate program and completion of all required state licensing exams, individuals will be eligible for a special education license. Eligible individuals can learn more and apply for assistance by visiting IndianaSEAL.org.
Today’s slide presentation providing an update on the I-SEAL initiative is available here.