Maine Special Education
The percentage of Maine’s students who have Individualized Education Programs is 15.6, markedly higher than the national average of 13 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Maine is among the lowest-ranked states in terms of its ability to meet academic targets through its special education services, earning a “Needs Intervention” rating from the U.S. Department of Education. The state’s 662 public schools, which are divided into 246 school districts, employ nearly 2,000 special educators. Maine is also home to 145 private schools. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) oversees programs serving students with disabilities through its Office of Special Services.
Types of Licenses
Special Education Teaching Programs in Maine
The Maine DOE has approved teacher preparation programs at a relatively small number of institutions within the state.The University of Maine at Farmington offered the first teacher preparation program in Maine and provides several options for those pursuing special education. The bachelor’s degree in special education allows students to choose between an endorsement for grades K-8 or grades 7-12. Students can also pursue a degree in early childhood special education focusing on birth to age 5 with one of two certifications; this program is also available as non-certification options.The coastal campus of the University of Maine at Machias has an environmental focus. Its Teacher Education department features a special education teacher endorsement program suited for students seeking full certification, current certificate holders seeking special education endorsements and undergraduate students seeking a special education minor or concentration.
For profiles of all the schools in Maine that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The Maine DOE does not offer any alternative certification programs. However, the Maine branch of Troops to Teachers serves the region, coordinating the training and placement of eligible members of the military in Maine’s highest-need public schools.
Working in Special Education in Main
- The Maine DOE has created the Maine Professional Development Model to communicate its goals concerning teachers’ professional growth.Consult the DOE’s training calendar for the latest department-approved workshops and courses.
- Maine-AIM provides trainings and other support services for educators working with accessible instructional materials and assistive technology.
Professional Groups for Maine Special Educators
- The state teacher’s union, the Maine Education Association, is affiliated with the National Education Association and represents public educators, public school staff, retired teachers and students in Maine teacher preparation programs.
- Educators, community advocates, people with disabilities and family members of children with disabilities comprise the membership of the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council. The organization sponsors projects and initiatives that support people with developmental disabilities.
Maine Special Education Bloggers
- Maine Learning Technology Initiative: Detailed posts review research and best practices in professional development for teacher of students with diverse educational needs.
- From the Commissioner: The Maine DOE e-newsletter updates educators about conferences, professional development, changes in policy and noteworthy programs. The department also publishes the Maine DOE Monthly.
- Ability Maine: This advocacy group’s blog reports and provides opinion pieces on current events, proposed legislation and new research in the area of disabilities.