[CUA Office of Public Affairs]                                                                        

Sept. 8, 2000

 CUA, Kennedy Institute to Train Special Education Teachers    

Applications from Prospective Students Being Accepted Now


The Catholic University of America and the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, in partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools and Catholic Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools, will jointly offer a program to prepare special education teachers. Geared toward teachers already in the classroom, the program based in CUA’s Department of Education emphasizes inclusion and exemplary educational practices for children with special needs in public and private schools.

“The current trend in education for children with special needs is to integrate them into mainstream classrooms as much as possible,” said Tom Long, professor of education at CUA, who is working with his colleagues at the university and the Kennedy Institute to design the new program’s curriculum. “Most of these kids are going to be working some if not all the time in the regular classroom. So the better-educated special education teacher should not only be able to run her classroom, but be able to work in a collaborative way with other teachers who might have special-needs students in their classes.”

            A U.S. Department of Education grant provides funding for development of the master’s degree program with a specialty in special education that will offer dual certification in special education and early childhood or elementary education. Tuition scholarships for up to 36 credit hours will be provided.

            The program builds on the research-based, cognitive learning and reflective practice model already utilized by CUA. The goal of the initiative is to train teachers to provide quality care for children with developmental disabilities in inclusive settings. Kennedy Institute staff members will join CUA education faculty to provide classroom instruction.

            Teachers from D.C. public schools and archdiocesan schools who apply for the program will be considered on a competitive basis and should submit their applications by November 2000. Classroom instruction will begin January 2001 for the first group of students and January 2002 for a second group.

If properly supported by trained and qualified teachers, children with developmental disabilities thrive in inclusive learning environments, said Carole Brown, of the Kennedy Institute.

“However, the chronic personnel shortages and gaps in teaching skills in our region's public and private schools create a barrier to these children achieving optimum student outcomes,” she said.

            The new master’s degree program will provide teachers with opportunities for professional development, increase teacher retention rates and provide teachers with the knowledge and skills to provide quality care for children with special needs in inclusive settings.

            The Catholic University of America was founded in 1887 as a graduate and research center for the study of all branches literature and sciences. It began offering undergraduate programs in 1904. Its education department is committed to pursuing excellence in instruction, research and service through intensive training in the reflective model of teacher education, practical field experiences and mentoring. Kennedy Institute was founded in 1959 and has evolved into a dynamic partner for people of all ages with developmental disabilities in the metropolitan Washington region, their families and the professionals with whom they work. Unique in its scope of operation, KI is a recognized leader in finding solutions to challenges faced by children and adults with developmental disabilities through research, demonstrations and community partnerships.


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Revised: February 13, 2001

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The Catholic University of America,
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