Special Education in Delaware
The U.S. Department of Education ranks Delaware’s services to its special education students as “Meets Requirements,” the highest rating given. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 14.4 percent of Delaware students are assigned Individualized Education Programs, above the national average of 13 percent. The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) and its Exceptional Children Group oversee 237 public and 21 charter schools, which are organized into 19 districts, with 544 special educators. There are also 137 private schools in the state.
Delaware Educator Licensure
Special Education Teaching Programs
The Center for Disabilities Studies, affiliated with the University of Delaware’s College of Education & Human Development, features programs such as a minor in disabilities studies that students can combine with a bachelor’s degree in elementary teacher education, early childhood education or speech/language pathology. People interested in pursuing a graduate education can earn a master’s degree in exceptional children and youth (with or without certification in special education) or a doctorate in education with special education specialization. At Delaware State University’s Department of Education, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary special education (1-8) or secondary special education (7-12), or pursue the special education Master of Arts degree program.
For profiles of all the schools in Delaware that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The DDOE endorses several alternative routes to state teaching certification, including three programs offered through the University of Delaware’s School of Education:
- The Alternative Routes to Certification program places students in a professional certification program while they work as full-time teachers. Participants also receive on-site mentoring and supervision.
- The Delaware Transition to Teaching Partnership places individuals in Delaware public secondary schools if they have an academic background in a teacher shortage area.
- For special educators, the Masters Plus Certification Programs in Special Education combine bachelor’s and master’s degree courses of study with the coursework required for state certification.
In addition, the Delaware branch of Teach For America provides intensive training for people who want to work in high-need schools.
Special Education Teaching Jobs
- The DDOE formed the Delaware Center for Teaching Careers, or TeachDelaware, to fill open positions in its public school system, particularly in teacher shortage areas. Applicants can also search the database for events, job fairs and conferences.
- Delaware Public Schools on the Web organizes schools by district and features hyperlinks to their websites.
- The Delaware Learning Resource System operates resource centers and learning programs statewide.
- Several schools that fall under the DDOE’s Delaware Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind, including the Delaware School for the Deaf, the Statewide Deaf-Blind program and the Statewide Deaf & Hard of Hearing program.
- The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities partners with the University of Delaware to coordinate intensive leadership institutes, distance learning courses, mentoring and continuing education opportunities for professionals.
- The Delaware State Education Association offers professional development training programs via an e-learning format.
Delaware Groups for Special Education Teachers
- The state teacher’s union, the Delaware State Education Association, consists of certified and classified public school employees, as well as retired educators and students in teacher preparation programs.
- Charged with interpreting special education policy in Delaware, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens operates as Delaware’s federally-mandated state advisory panel.
Delaware Special Education Blogs and Newsletters
- Delaware Family Voices: Special needs and mental health services in Delaware are the focal points of this organizational blog.
- The Link: The quarterly newsletter of the Parent Information Center of Delaware covers policies impacting special educators and their students.
- Delaware Families for Hands & Voices: Every month, this non-profit organization serving children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the professionals who serve them publishes a newsletter of community news, advocacy updates and announcements about events.