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LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University recently announced two new dual licensure programs within its MSEd/EdS in special education: dual licensure in severe and moderate disabilities preK-8 and dual licensure in severe and moderate disabilities 5-12. 

Bay Path’s MSEd/EdS in special education is the only program in the region to offer these dual licensure programs, and only one of a handful in the state. Applications are now being accepted for a Sept. 3 start date. 

Both dual licensing programs aim to address the pressing need for qualified special-education professionals capable of supporting students with diverse needs across different educational settings. 

The dual licensure in severe and moderate disabilities preK-8 program is designed to prepare educators to effectively teach students with a range of disabilities, from mild to severe, at the preK-to-grade-8 level. It emphasizes curriculum modifications, applied academics, alternative assessments, transition strategies, and community inclusion. The coursework aligns with the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2020 standards. The program includes a yearlong practicum and is delivered 100% online through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. 

The dual licensure in severe and moderate disabilities 5-12 program similarly prepares educators for teaching students with disabilities but focuses on grades 5-12. It covers similar content areas, including modifications for general-education curriculum, alternative assessments, and vocational strategies, ensuring comprehensive training for prospective teachers. Like the preK-8 program, it is also aligned with Massachusetts standards and the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2020 standards, includes a yearlong practicum, and is offered entirely online. 

“Educators earning dual licensure are more marketable and can work with all levels of exceptional children in all special-education settings,” said Dr. Kristen Lech, director of Graduate Programs in Special Education. “Our special education programs ensure teacher candidates are competent to engage in evidence-based instructional practices, culturally relevant pedagogy, and the ability to apply principles of Universal Design for Learning within their classrooms. We believe that, when special education teachers are well-prepared in these practices, the opportunity for increased inclusive practices can and should occur for all children with exceptionalities.” 

After successful completion of the program, individuals are endorsed for two separate Massachusetts initial licenses: severe disabilities, all levels, and moderate disabilities preK-8, or moderate disabilities 5-12. The program is 36 credits (MSEd) or 39 credits (EdS). The coursework for both dual-licensing programs cover all the Massachusetts subject-matter knowledge requirements for both licensure areas, and all courses are aligned to the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2020 initial practice-based professional preparation standards for special educators with high leverage practices.