Scope and Sequence
The scope and sequence of the program is designed to ensure that students develop their skills and knowledge in a logical and meaningful way. In the first year of the program, students focus primarily on their general education certification to ensure that they build a strong foundation in the fundamentals of effective teaching. During the second year of the program, students focus on their special education coursework.
Year One: Student Growth and Achievement and Content Methods Courses
In the first year of the program, students are enrolled in both student growth and achievement and content methods courses.
Student Growth and Achievement Courses
Student growth and achievement courses represent the knowledge and skills all great teachers must have regardless of the grades or subjects that they teach. These classes encompass three of the four elements of effective teaching: Self and other people, classroom culture, and teaching cycle. In student growth and achievement courses, students also create and follow their pathways for student growth and achievement. Finally, some student growth and achievement courses provide the opportunity to select elective topics within a course. Elective modules within a course address a variety of teaching knowledge and skills, such as teacher-organization skills or launching restorative justice practices with PK–12 students. Students take student growth and achievement courses with Relay faculty members in a consistent section (e.g., always at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday nights) in both the fall and spring terms.
Content Methods Courses
Content methods coursework comprises the knowledge and skills necessary to teach a particular grade or subject. Content methods coursework is taught in grade- and/or subject-specific groups led by a faculty member with that particular area of teaching expertise and experience. Typically, these courses take place on Saturdays, though some weeknight and online options are available.
Year Two: Teaching Exceptional Learners Courses (Weekly Class Sessions)
During the second year of the program, the scope and sequence is designed to ensure that students develop specialized skills and knowledge around designing and implementing specialized instruction in a logical and meaningful way. For this reason, most coursework is taught in weekly sessions by the full-time Relay faculty member who is the student’s advisor. Weekly sessions build on prior knowledge and establish the foundation for increasing rigor and complexity across the year. Additional sessions may be taught on Saturdays by adjunct instructors.
The Relay Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education and Dual Certification in Special Education programs are 42-credit-hour programs. Most students complete the program over the course of two academic calendar years (six terms; summer, fall, and spring) of part-time study (enrolled in fewer than nine credits but at least four credits per term).
See the AY20-21 Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education/Dual Certification Course Overview (PK–12 and ECE-specific) for a listing of courses by term and details about the topics and skills taught in each course. Please note that there may be some campus variation within courses and programs.
Effective teachers of exceptional learners have the ability to assess and address the needs of an individual student with precision and intentionality. To provide sufficient practice in this skill, students will provide one-on-one intervention to a student for the entirety of their second year. Teachers' work with their PK–12 students will directly relate to courses in the scope and sequence. Faculty will observe teachers during their one-on-one interventions in order to provide formative feedback and evaluate progress.
As teachers, students work with their PK–12 students to build the academic skills and strength of character necessary for them to succeed in college and life. To do this work with integrity, each teacher must embody the same standards that they set for PK–12 students. For additional details, see “Professionalism.”
To see firsthand how students are progressing as teachers, faculty members will observe students’ classrooms multiple times over the course of the program. Faculty members’ expectations for these observations will become more complex as the students progress through their time at Relay. Observations may be used for course assessment and/or to meet requirements for certification. For additional details, see “Classroom Observations.”
Special Education Capstone
As a final assessment, all students will reflect on the one-on-one work they have done in the intervention intensive and advocate for a specific revision to their student’s educational program. This written analysis and reflection, combined with a presentation to both peers and faculty, is an opportunity to synthesize the learning the student has done across the year.