Fast-track Certification for Special Ed Teachers

Via an innovative partnership with Wilmington University, six special education teachers in Appoquinimink School District now have an additional certification in Autism/Severe Disabilities.

The fast-track program, designed by Todd Hackett-Slimm, special education program chair at WilmU, featured daily classes for a cohort of classroom teachers. The certification requires the successful completion of five advanced three-credit courses in Autism and Severe Disabilities.

Boy with Developmental Disability works with his teacher

In the program, the teachers met for several hours, Monday through Friday, in an authentic special education classroom setting in the school district. A different course and associated content were offered every day of the week.

This approach to organizing, teaching and learning is called interleaving, defined as a process where students mix multiple topics while they study in order to improve their learning. The program also included an online component that allowed the teachers to complete all course requirements and eligibility for certification in just a few weeks during the summer break.

The cost to the teachers was nothing, with the school district paying the expense of the program.

Based on the results, several other Delaware school districts have now expressed interest in providing accelerated certification for their teachers.