Revisions Align Education Programs with Future PDE Requirements

by Diane VanDyke

At Montgomery County Community College, future teachers can complete the new requirements they will need for their careers in education. 

The College recently revamped its Education programs to align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) redefined certifications and new requirements that will become effective January 1, 2013.

PDE expanded the Early Childhood Education certification to include pre-kindergarten through grade four. The certification for Elementary/Middle school will cover teachers of grades four through eight. Certification for Secondary Education will include grades seven through 12.

In addition to the redefined certifications, PDE will require students to take nine credits of special education courses and a three-credit course for teaching English language learners.

Montgomery County Community College designed two new programs to coincide with the new PDE Pre-kindergarten through fourth grade certification and the PDE Middle Years certification for grades four through eight. The Education in the Early Years Program (EEY) (Birth through grade four) was approved in May 2011, and it was launched this fall. The program, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, prepares graduates for professional opportunities as teachers in early childhood settings and/or enables them to transfer to four-year colleges to pursue their baccalaureate degrees and teach in elementary schools up to grade four.

The newly approved Education in the Middle Years (EMY) (grades four through eight) will start in the Fall 2012 semester.  Students enrolled in EMY are also required to select two areas of concentration, such as science and math, reading/language arts and social studies, or a similar combination (depending on the transfer institution).  The program prepares graduates to transfer to four-year institutions to pursue their baccalaureate degrees and receive their Middle Years certification.

Students currently enrolled in the College’s Education programs may continue in those programs, if they graduate by the end of 2012 before the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline. New students will be enrolled in the newly revised programs.

“All new education students must take an Introduction to Education course which requires them to observe in different classrooms at different grade levels and learn about the certification changes and options,” Assistant Professor of Education/Coordinator Meryl Sultanik said.  She explained that this will help students who are undecided about the grades and ages of students that they would like to teach.

“It is helpful for students in the Education in the Middle Years Program to know their interests and desired concentrations before they select courses and transfer institutions,” she added. “We recommend anyone interested in the education field meet with the Education faculty or specialized advisors.”

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