SPSBE'S Department of Special Education has received a $757,000 federal grant to form a partnership with Prince George's County public schools to recruit and train teachers to address the shortage of special educators in the county. The grant from the U.S. Department of Education was sought by Margaret King-Sears, an associate professor of education at SPSBE.
"As are school districts across the United States, Prince George's County is experiencing a chronic and critical shortage of special educators needed for students with mild to moderate disabilities," says King-Sears, who is the project's director.
The money will help the county increase the number of special educators to serve children in grades one to 12 who have mild to moderate disabilities. The project's goal is to recruit and prepare over four years a total of 40 new special educators; support will be provided to them by 80 percent tuition assistance to complete the Hopkins master of science in special education. The degree has been tailored for the project, with most course work offered at a PGCPS site.
Twenty candidates will be recruited to begin the program in January 2002. The program requires a six-year commitment from candidates. Upon completion of the two-year certification and master's degree program, participants will be employed as beginning special educators in PGCPS, where they are required to teach for four years.
"We are looking for candidates who are hungry to be special educators and who will be committed to PGCPS," says King-Sears. Among eligible applicants, she says, would be people who desire a career change, those who have an undergraduate degree in an area other than special education and provisionally certified teachers.
Patricia J. Jamison, director of special education for PGCPS, says, "The news about this grant award is very exciting. This partnership between the Prince George's County public schools and The Johns Hopkins University will allow us to recruit, prepare and retain the really exceptional special educators that are needed to work with our students."
Information sessions for prospective candidates will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, and Thursday, Oct. 4, at PGCPS Buck Center, 3901 Woodhaven Lane in Bowie, Md. For more information or to request a partnership application package, contact Margaret King-Sears at 301-294-7040 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the PGCPS Department of Staff Development at 301-805-2700.