Connecticut Special Education
Connecticut’s ability to serve its students in special education programs was rated by the U.S. Department of Education as “Meets Requirements,” the department’s highest rating, according to Education Week. The Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) and its Bureau of Special Education serve the state’s special education students, who comprise 12.2 percent of Connecticut’s total student population, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The SDE employs approximately 5,370 special education teachers to staff programs at its 1,178 public and 18 charter schools, which are organized into 169 school districts. The state also has 390 private schools.
Special Education Teaching Programs
The SDE’s Guide To Approved Educator Preparation Programs In Connecticut lists two dozen universities and alternative programs that prepare educators and special educators for state licensure. Just two colleges in the state offer a special education teaching endorsement with an undergraduate major, one of which is University of Hartford, which has an integrated elementary and special education program. The prominent Special Education and Reading Department at New Haven’s Southern Connecticut State University offers undergraduate certification programs in comprehensive special education as well as a collaborative elementary education/special education. Graduate students can enroll in a master’s program in special education; areas of focus include adaptive technology, autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, early childhood special education, interdisciplinary learning disabilities and serious emotional disabilities.
For profiles of all the schools in Connecticut that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
- Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Certification Program targets professionals interested in changing careers to work in the state’s public school system. Participants must have academic or professional experience in a critical shortage area. They pursue an intensive teacher preparation program during the summer and on the weekends.
- Teach for America prepares corps members with intensive training and ongoing mentoring as they work full time in Connecticut’s highest-need public schools.
Working in Special Education
- Trending topics in special education are the focus of the State Education Resource Center’s professional development offerings.
- In addition to providing services to students, the Cooperative Educational Services supports Connecticut public schools and their special education teams with training.
- Connecticut IEP Direct delivers onsite and virtual seminars and workshops in SDE-approved IEP design, measurable goals, developing RTI plans and other relevant topics in special education.
Special Educator Groups in Connecticut
- The National Education Association-affiliated state teacher’s union, the Connecticut Education Association, has 41,000 members and advocates for educators and public schools. The organization devotes a section of its website to special education, which lists SDE policies as well as state and national resources.
- The State Advisory Group on Education is a state-mandated council of community stakeholders, government appointees and educators that meets regularly to discuss how educational policy affects special education in the state.
Connecticut Special Education Blogs
- The Bureau Bulletin: The SDE’s Bureau of Special Education maintains this site, which is part blog, part news and announcements.
- Connecticut Special Education Advocate Blog: The official blog of Diane Willcutt’s advocacy organization contains updates pertaining to issues in Connecticut’s special education system and areas in which school districts must change to comply with federal guidelines.
- CPAC Newsletter: The digital newsletter of the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center provides monthly updates about resources for Connecticut individuals with disabilities and their families. Popular topics include inclusion and new approaches in assistive technology.