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B.S. in Special Education, Adapted Curriculum or General Curriculum

In 2002, the North Carolina State Board of Education approved new special education licensure options. In 2003, the State Board voted to remove the requirement for a second academic concentration for special education teacher candidates. These changes were designed to address the special educator shortage while providing more flexibility in designing programs resulting in increased expertise in the respective licensure areas.

Previous special education (SPED) licensure options were built on a categorical model and included initial licensure in behavior and emotional disorders, learning disabilities, and mental retardation. The low-incidence/severe and profound handicap license was available as an add-on SPED license.

The new SPED initial licensure options are based on a non-categorical model with two licenses: the SPED general curriculum (GC) license and the SPED adapted curriculum (AC) license. The GC license prepares teachers to work with children with disabilities who are pursuing a high school diploma and are in the general education curriculum. The AC license prepares teachers to work with children with significant cognitive disabilities who are not pursuing a regular high school diploma and whose education is based in an extension of the general curriculum and an adapted curriculum.

Highlights of the new ECU SPED program include:

  • General Curriculum License
  • Linked methods and practicum courses
  • Fulfillment of the Reading License requirements
  • Fulfillment of most Elementary License requirements (lacking 7 SH)
  • Adapted Curriculum License
  • Linked methods and practicum courses
  • Interdisciplinary model including courses in communication, adapted physical activity, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and rehabilitation services

Both licensure options offer:

  • A developmental scope and sequence of knowledge and skills necessary for the professional educator
  • Early and on-going field-based experiences
  • Authentic assignment structures

Knowledge of:

  • Child development, including academic, emotional, social, and behavioral aspects
  • NC Standard Course of Study and curriculum differentiation
  • Classroom structure and management
  • Legal requirements of special education processes and procedure
  • Assessment for eligibility determination, instructional planning, and intervention
  • Technology use
  • School district and building systems/structures

Program courses in each option provide a common core of the general knowledge and skills necessary for beginning teachers. The special education program area works in partnership with the educational community in the development of these professional special educators. 

The following activities enhance the program as well as the experiences of our students:

  1. Early field experiences and internships in local school districts;
  2. Faculty service in community professional and service activities;
  3. A Teacher-in-Residence initiative with the Pitt County Schools whereby a Nationally Board Certified Teacher is shared between the district and the department to strengthen the link between college classroom learning and the real world.