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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

March 10, 2005
CONTACT: Amy Cowles

Partnership for Beginning Special Educators
in P.G. County

A 4-year-old partnership between The Johns Hopkins University and Prince George's County Public Schools is tackling a national problem — the shortage of certified special education teachers in public schools.

The Partnership for Beginning Special Educators will have produced 33 fully certified special education teachers when its last class graduates in August 2006. When the fourth and final class of students finishes the program, the county's vacancy rate of special educators will be cut almost in half.

Though the funding will end, the program will continue and potential students are encouraged to find out more by calling 1-800- GO-TO-JHU or e-mailing edspsbe@jhu.edu. The goal of the partnership is to prepare instructors to address a serious shortage of special educators in the Prince George's County. Participants pursue a master's degree leading to their certification to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities. Upon completion of the two-year program, teacher candidates are required to teach for four years in Prince George's County.

The program began when Peggy King-Sears, a special education professor at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at Johns Hopkins University, and Pat Jamison, then director of special education for Prince George's County Schools, submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education to address the shortage. Their goal was to produce qualified and certified instructors to serve children with mild to moderate disabilities.

"This has been a wonderful partnership that has helped up produce highly qualified teachers in a critical need area," said Pamela Downing-Hosten, the current director of special education for the Prince George's schools.

Charlene Rohlehr enrolled in the program when she was laid off from her job in the communications industry.

"I knew the program would be rigorous and require a great deal of work but I liked that it combined course learning and classroom experience," said Rohlehr, 28. "Prior to my first experience in the classroom, I was extremely nervous and apprehensive. However, when I got in front of the class, it felt right. I was very comfortable. Even though I was told I would have the most difficult kids, I was surprised how good they were. I could tell they like me, and I like them."

To speak with professors and students involved with the program, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960.

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