The teacher education program in inclusive elementary education is an innovative and challenging program that prepares students to be extraordinary teachers and teacher leaders. Graduates are prepared to become candidates for a Vermont Initial Educator License with endorsements in both elementary education and special education (K-6) after just four years.
Dual endorsement is possible because the professional standards for both elementary and special education are woven throughout the curriculum, creating a comprehensive, fully integrated four-year program. Other programs address these two specialties separately and sequentially, requiring graduate study in special education to gain that endorsement.
Inclusive elementary education prepares graduates to work with all students — the general student population as well as those with special needs and students from different backgrounds and cultures, which is the face of education today.
Students start by taking coursework in the childhood education program and apply to enter the Teacher Education Program in Inclusive Elementary Education during their first semester. See NVU's Office of Educator Licensure for entry requirements, which include a minimum GPA, minimum scores on an academic exam (such as the SAT, ACT, or PRAXIS Core), and an interview.
Students accepted into the program complete three sets of academic requirements:
- Background study in the liberal arts and sciences — the nine components
- Childhood education
- A liberal arts or science concentration
- Background study in the liberal arts and sciences: The nine components: To be prepared for the breadth of material that elementary teachers instruct, students complete coursework in composition, quantitative skills, literature, historical thinking and citizenship, artistic expression, scientific thinking, diversity studies, identity studies, and interdisciplinary studies. This coursework is typically satisfied by selecting specific courses in the undergraduate general education program. A list of recommended courses is available from faculty advisors. Contact the inclusive elementary education program director to discuss equivalencies. Graduate students should consult with the program director regarding sufficient coursework.
- Childhood education: Students complete coursework in childhood education with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. They also complete a set of endorsement-specific courses that satisfy both the elementary and special education requirements.
- Liberal arts or science concentration: With the help of their advisor and the program director, students complete coursework for a second major or a 30-credit concentration in an approved liberal arts or science field of study. Options include a major in liberal arts or a major or concentration in English, math, history, biology, environmental science, health science, art, music, or theater and drama. Anthropology/sociology, political science, or psychology also may be taken.
Fieldwork at Partnership Schools
The best way to learn to be a great educator is to gain practical experience under the mentorship of a practicing professional at an NVU partnership school. Students accepted into NVU-Johnson’s teacher education programs pursue the following fieldwork experiences at our partnership schools:
- Inquiry projects: Students complete 20 hours of observation and participate in teaching various courses.
- Practicum I (introductory methods): Students teach lessons in English language arts and mathematics.
- Practicum II (advanced methods): Students teach integrated lessons using inclusive strategies.
- Student teaching: Students complete a comprehensive 15-week internship (five days each week) focused on designing and instructing an integrated and inclusive unit of study.
Students are expected to complete fieldwork assignments during typical public school hours (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) and to arrange their own transportation to fieldwork sites.
Teacher Education Workshops
Teacher education students attend five Teacher Education Workshops (EDU-TEW1 through EDU-TEW5) throughout their program. These are one-time meetings held each semester in multiple sections. See the course sequence plans in the teacher education handbook for details. Each workshop provides guidance for completing the next set of requirements for the program. Students who do not meet the benchmark requirements may not proceed in the program.