BEd, Early Childhood/Early Childhood SPED

FAQs

General

What is the advantage to doing the dual licensure program?

Dual licensure programs prepare teacher candidates to enter the career field with the mindset and commitment in working with all students in their classrooms. Education is changing and teachers are having to learn strategies and provide interventions for a wide range of students, including those with and without disabilities. Therefore, general education teachers and special education teachers alike benefit from the strategies and evidence based practices designed for students with special needs. By doing this dual licensure program you would be better prepared to teach and you will be more marketable in the hiring process across both settings. Especially with the movement towards inclusive practices in all DOE schools, administrators appreciate having general education teachers and special education teachers with both sets of skills and knowledge.

Will I have to teach special education if I complete this program?

No, graduates of our dual certification programs are hired into both general education positions and special education positions. In fact, because of their diverse training, they are highly recruited by principals for both types of positions. However, if you choose to take the funding associated with becoming a special education teacher, then you will need to spend your initial 3-5 years of teaching in a special education position (number of years depend on which funding opportunities you take). However, because you would be licensed in two fields, you would be able to change or move positions if desired.

Will it take me longer to complete this dual licensure program?

No, all the BEd Elementary programs take two years to complete, although this program does have an additional summer of coursework. You will also spend the same number of hours in field settings as students in the Elementary Education program. However, this is the only BEd program that gives you the flexibility to complete this program part-time, which would then be completed over three years instead of two.

What is a cohort?

Our programs are cohorted, which means we admit people in groups and they complete the entire program together from beginning to end. Our cohorts typically have between 15-25 people, although some programs run more than one cohort at a time. Having the same people in your classes every semester helps to build community and we have found our cohorts come to support each other like family. Another benefit of this cohort model is the fixed course schedule. All the programs courses are pre-designed and taken in a specific semester. Our faculty intentionally build on the coursework so what you learn in the second semester will build on the first and so on. This provides the opportunity to have much richer and deeper learning experiences since everyone has the same prerequisite knowledge as you progress through the program. The courses are open to only those in your cohort, so you don’t have to worry about waking up early to be the first to register or courses filling up and not being able to register. The classes are also guaranteed to run so you don’t have to wonder whether what you need to graduate will be available.

One downside of the cohorted model, is that we lose some flexibility. If a program is part-time, you can’t finish in half the time by taking double the classes; if a program is full-time, you can’t just take half the classes. And if something comes up and you need to take a semester off, you might need to wait a year in order to jump back in with the next cohort. However, we feel the benefits of the cohorted model outweigh the limited flexibility it brings. As a result of the cohort model, our programs are much more successful, as we have higher retention and graduation rates.

Eligibility

What if I don’t have a laptop computer?

Students are required to have a laptop to successfully participate in this program. The laptop requirement provides students the option of using financial aid to purchase one. Students need a laptop that runs a full operating system (i.e., Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.11 and above). For example, Chromebooks or mobile tablets like an iPad or Android mobile device are NOT sufficient to run the required software for our program. If you need help determining which computer to purchase, please refer to and contact: http://www.hawaii.edu/its/help-desk/

Do I have to take the Praxis CORE test before applying?

No. Beginning in Fall 2018, the basic skills requirement can now be verified through being accepted into our bachelor of education program. You no longer need to have submitted ACT/SAT/Praxis Core exam results in order to apply and begin our programs.

What if I already have a degree?

If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, then you can pursue this program as a second Bachelor’s degree. It will still take 2 years to complete and would be considered a full-time program. Another option would be to pursue our Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education that is designed specifically for those who already have a degree. If you would be interested in teaching at the middle and high school level, we have an additional program option called our Master of Education in Teaching, Dual Secondary & Special Education program.

Do I need experience in special education in order to apply?

No, all of our BEd Elementary programs require 40 hours of documented leadership experience. While we encourage applicants to seek out opportunities in gaining experience in special education, it is not mandatory. The program will provide field experience in both general education, special education settings, and/or inclusive settings so that you would be able to determine which teaching placement you would prefer to seek out upon graduation.

What if I live on an island outside of Oahu? Can I still do the program?

Yes, this program is accessible to students on all of the islands in the state of Hawaii. Candidates are able to complete their coursework in an online/hybrid format and will be placed into a local school for field requirements. A limited number of face-to-face meetings are required each semester, where neighbor island candidates will travel to Oahu for classes on chosen weekends. As funds permit, some travel stipends are made available to students who do not live on Oahu to help offset travel costs.

What if I work? Can I still do the program?

Our programs use online synchronous class-sessions are in the late afternoon, allowing you to possibly work during the day. If you work in a school setting, it may be possible to use that setting for one or more of your field courses. Please inquire with the program specialist and placement coordinator, as all placements are approved on a case-by-case basis. However, employment outside of school settings my conflict with the hours needed to complete supervision requirements unless work hours are flexible. Please inquire to learn more about your current position and whether it is possible to complete our programs while maintaining employment.

Which community colleges have articulated course agreements with the College of Education?

Candidates who have completed an articulated A.A. degree from a UH Community College are considered to have met the UH-Mānoa General Education Core Requirements with possible exceptions (see an academic advisor).

Articulated programs include:

  • AAT from Leeward Community College
  • AS in Human Services w/Early Childhood Specialization from Maui College
  • AA in Liberal Arts, Concentration in Education from Kapiolani Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education, Preschool Option from Honolulu Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education from Kauai Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education from Hawaii Community College

Please contact our Office of Student Academic Services (osas@hawaii.edu) for more detailed information.

Can international students pursue this program?

Unfortunately, one of the requirements regarding international student visas is that they participate in traditional, face-to-face coursework on campus. Our online/hybrid programs would not meet this requirement; therefore we can not admit international students to these programs/coursework at this time. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

However, our department does offer two different programs using a traditional, face-to-face format that can accommodate international applicants:

Funding

Will the DOE pay for this program?

Due to the need for special education teachers, there is a year-to-year contract agreement between the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) and UH that provides tuition stipends for 31-33 credits of our teacher licensure programs in special education. To be eligible for the stipend, students must agree to teach special education in a HIDOE school for a minimum of 3 years after completing the program. Stipends are contingent upon yearly renewal of the DOE-UH contract and will be automatically offered to all students who were admitted that enrollment year. Students are responsible for securing their own funding for prerequisites, additional program credits, and/or any additional program costs such as travel, books, and testing/licensure fees.

The following programs are eligible for the DOE tuition stipends, with stipend amounts shown:

  1. BEd, Early Childhood & Early Childhood Special Education (33 credits, $15,543)
  2. BEd, Exceptional Students and Elementary Education (33 credits; $15,543)
  3. Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education (33 credits; $15,543)
  4. Master of Education in Teaching, Dual Secondary & Special Education (31 credits (graduate tuition rate); $20,150)
What types of funding are there for those who want to teach special education?

For content areas or specializations that are considered “high need,” there are many special funding sources available. There are three sources of funding for those specifically interested in teaching special education:

  1. TEACH Grant
  2. Hawaii DOE Stipend
  3. Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Details about these funding opportunities can be found on a separate document. In addition, candidates can also seek out financial aid and scholarships.

Coursework

What are the online classes like? What is the time commitment?

In our hybrid programs, classes will be presented through the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Laulima course site. Each course has a website that includes various components, such as the syllabus, course schedule, assignments, quizzes/tests, and other resources. Some courses may include recorded video lectures. Student should expect to study/work approximately 9 hours per week for each 3-credit course.

All courses will include periodic synchronous online class sessions (some may meet weekly; some may meet less often than weekly). A synchronous online class session is a LIVE class in which students and their course instructor get together online at the same time using video-conferencing technology. At UH Mānoa, we use Zoom for our synchronous class sessions. These sessions are very much like a typical face-to-face class session held on campus: The instructor may provide some lecture, facilitate group discussions and activities, and respond to student questions. Each synchronous class session will be held for 1-3 hours, in the late afternoon on weekdays (typically not on Fridays). A schedule of the synchronous online class sessions will be provided by each instructor at the beginning of each semester. You can expect to designate one night a week for each class you are enrolled in.

In addition, as part of your class there will be about 2 face-to-face Saturdays each semester on Oahu. Then finally, for field work each student would expect to fulfill their field placement during the school day which is typically two to three days per week.

Can I take courses at my own pace?

Our licensure programs are designed in a cohorted format. Candidates are enrolled as a group and they matriculate through the entire program together. The benefit of participating in a cohorted program is that it provides a strong support system, as you would bond with your fellow cohort members throughout the two years in the program and beyond. This cohorted model also allows for us to systematically design the coursework to build off one another each semester, allowing for a more rich and comprehensive learning experience. We have higher retention and graduation rates using this model, however the one downside is that these programs then do not have the flexibility to allow candidates to pick and choose the courses they take each semester. Candidates will progress through the program as designed. However, in the rare occasion requiring students to either stop or retake courses, the program advisor would work with the candidate to develop an alternative plan.

What if I’m already working in a school?

Our hybrid program models do have some flexibility to allow candidates already working in school settings to possibly use their paid positions in meeting the field requirements. However, each position must go through a formal process and is approved on a case-by-case basis by the placement/program coordinator.

Typically, when reviewing positions for approval, we are looking for the following:

  • The position matches your chosen level of licensure (early childhood (Pk-3), elementary (K-6), or secondary (6-12). Although the elementary licensure states K-6, candidates can not be working in a 6th grade position at an elementary school if they are pursuing secondary (6-12) licensure and vice-versa.
  • The position matches your specialization (mild/moderate for all programs, or possibly severe/autism for some post-bac candidates). You must be working regularly with these students
  • For dual licensure options, the position must also give you opportunities to work with general education students as well. Inclusive settings where a general education and special education teacher are co-teaching together would be ideal for our dual certification options. For the MEdT Secondary/SPED, candidates need to be in a position that allows them to also teach in their chosen content area.

If approved, students will be able to use the paid position to fulfill the program field requirements. The most common types of positions receiving approval are emergency hires or classroom educational assistants. Positions requiring candidates to work one-to-one with a student can not be approved (e.g., skills trainers). In addition, prior teaching experience can not count toward program field/student teaching hours.

Can I choose my own field placement?

The field placement or program coordinator has the responsibility to find and coordinate student field placements. Candidates are not allowed to make their own field arrangements. For candidates already working in school settings, the field placement coordinator will conduct a review for approval and determine whether a paid position meets the field/student teaching requirements.

Application

How much does it cost to apply?

If you are not already a UH student prior to applying for this program, then you must complete a UH System Application Form and submit a $70 application fee. This would be common for transfer students or students coming back for a second Bachelor’s degree.

However, if you are transferring from a local community college, then you should look into the Ka‘ie‘ie program, and if eligible you can have your application fee waived. To learn more, please visit: https://uhcc.hawaii.edu/kaieie/index.php

All students, including students who are already at UH, would also need to complete the College of Education Makalei application (makalei.coe.hawaii.edu), which is a free application.

Will I need to complete an interview for the BEd program?

Yes. All applicants will be interviewed by UH College of Education faculty in a group format. If you do not live on Oahu, you may be interviewed using a conference call (telephone or web-based). You will be able to schedule your interview at the time you apply to the program. Information will be shared within the Makalei application. There will be an designated day with various time slots available for candidates who meet the priority deadline and then another day with various time slots for candidates who meet the final deadline.

When will I hear if I’ve been accepted?

For applicants who meet the priority deadline (Feb. 1), decisions are typically mailed out in late March or early April. For regular deadline applicants (Mar. 1), decisions are typically mailed out in late April or early May.

One of the primary reasons for delays in admission decisions is due to transcripts. Candidates who do not send all official transcripts early or have missing transcripts will experience delays in admissions decisions. It's always best to follow up on the status of the UH application and transcripts to ensure everything is complete.