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Urban Special Education BS for K-12 ABS licensure

About The Program

This bachelor’s degree program prepares you to earn initial K12 Special Education licensure to work as academic and behavior strategist (ABS). The SPED ABS certification program provides experiences in foundations, methods, content, and practicum experiences associated with teaching urban students with exceptionalities, urban students with disabilities, and urban students with gifts and talents.

Special emphasis of the undergraduate ABS program focuses on the legal aspects of educating urban students with disabilities, characteristics of urban exceptional children, and the assessment, instructional, and collaborative strategies associated with educating urban students with exceptionalities. The undergraduate ABS special education program provides candidates with tools for providing person-centered education and better adapting lessons based on different learning types and levels.

Career Opportunities

Special education opens up opportunities for both personal and professional growth. This program is most appropriate for individuals who are interested in working with students with mild to moderate disabilities. Make a difference in the lives of urban children by setting a strong education foundation that will last a lifetime. Empower yourself with the content knowledge, teaching skills, urban field experiences, and professional poise you need to give urban students with disabilities a high-quality education.

Program Highlights

  • Designed to provide flexibility for working adult students
  • Create a flexible schedule to take classes at your pace given your other life and work responsibilities
  • Courses meet once per week, often in the evening
  • Courses are offered in-person, online with synchronous meetings and in hybrid formats
  • Participate in direct field experience in urban classrooms and courses focusing on urban education
  • The curriculum has a strong focus on cultural relevance and education equity throughout the program
  • Instructors integrate and build upon the rich, diverse cultural knowledge and professional experience of students in program courses
  • Learn with the most diverse student and faculty population of any teacher preparation unit in Minnesota; a majority of our students, faculty and staff in the School of Urban Education are from BIPOC communities
  • Learn in small, friendly classes that allow you to know instructors and fellow students well
  • Get a high-quality education at the most affordable cost of any university in Minnesota

Program Goals

The Urban Special Education ABS Program goals are:

  1. Through critical inquiry, participate in the development and evaluation of evidence and research-based practices intended to improve the learning of urban students with disabilities.
  2. Demonstrate skills for group facilitation and collaboration with a variety of stakeholders, including the students in their classrooms to improve services and outcomes for urban students with disabilities.
  3. Develop self-reflective and critical thinking skills that promote innovative special education practice and learning using multiple perspectives.

Transfer Students

This major is an excellent option for students transferring from a Minnesota State 2-year college with an associate degree having completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Whether or not you have completed your associate’s degree, the Special Education Transfer Pathway, just some coursework in Education or no Education coursework yet, the School of Urban Education is the place for you because nearly 90% of Metro State’s students transfer from other institutions.

Consult with an Urban Education advisor to know which transfer courses meet major requirements, or visit www.transferology.com.

Program Accreditation

This program is accredited by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Urban Special Education BS for K-12 ABS licensure now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Urban Special Education BS for K-12 ABS licensure

Program eligibility requirements

To be eligible for acceptance to the Urban Special Education major and K–12 Academic Behavior Strategist (ABS) licensure program, students must complete the Urban Special Education pre-major and apply for admission to the Urban Teacher Program.

To be admitted in the Urban Teacher Program, students need to meet the requirements and criteria stated in the Undergraduate Admission Requirements in the Urban Teacher Program. 

Contact urban.education@metrostate.edu or meet with an advisor to learn more.

 

Courses and Requirements

SKIP TO COURSE REQUIREMENTS

In addition to completing required coursework for the major and University graduation requirements, the following are among the requirements for program completion and K–6 licensure:

  • Completion of at least 120 hours in urban K-6 (40 hours), Middle School (40 hours), and High School (40 hours) are required prior to student teaching. 
  • Completion of a total 15 weeks of full-time student teaching done in two different placements (K-6 and either Middle School or High School)
  • Passing all required licensure exams and performance assessments.
  • Background check and licensure application with fee.

Courses Needed for the Major and Licensure (63 total net credits)

+ PRE - MAJOR COURSES REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION TO THE URBAN TEACHER PROGRAM and SPED MAJOR (13 credits)

The following courses are open to all students and are among the requirements for admission to the Urban Teacher Program. In addition to the below list, any Ethnic Studies (ETHS) course (at least 3cr) and the University General Education/MnTC Requirements (All 10 Goal Areas completed, 40cr, consult with your advisor on recommended courses for this major). PSYC 308 also meets the University Liberal Studies requirement so those credits aren't included in the total for the major.

This course provides an introduction to urban learners, urban teaching, and urban school systems using case studies and first-person accounts of teaching and learning in an urban environment. Current issues facing urban P-12 students, teachers, schools, districts, and communities will be discussed. Society's responsibility to urban schools will be examined along with the roles that teachers and schools play in increasing student achievement and leading school improvement. Key concepts of the Urban Teacher Program will be introduced including the importance of high expectations, student and teacher resiliency, educational equity, using the community as a resource, and reflection. Various perspectives and dimensions of the achievement gap will be examined, including causes due to discrimination and perspectives on what constitutes high educational achievement for culturally and linguistically diverse youth. Students in this course are expected to explore and express their own…

Full course description for Introduction to Urban Education and Reflective Teaching

This course introduces prospective urban teacher candidates to core concepts and approaches of multicultural education including issues related to student, family and community diversity based on race, culture, language, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability. Issues of oppression, privilege and equity in relation to schools and society are also addressed as students use their life experiences as a multicultural reference point to begin to understand the life experiences of the diverse students who attend urban public schools. Emphasis is placed on demonstrating the multicultural competence required of all successful teachers working with diverse urban youth. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Multicultural Education

This course provides an overview of the science of child psychology. Major theories and research related to a child's perceptual, motor, emotional, social and cognitive development are reviewed, and their practical applications are explored. Overlap: PSYC 308T Child Psychology Theory Seminar.

Full course description for Child Psychology

This is the introductory course in the urban special education degree/licensure program . This course provides an overview of urban student exceptionalities, urban students with disabilities and urban students with gifts and talents. Special emphasis will be placed on the legal aspects of educating urban students with disabilities, characteristics of urban exceptional children, and the assessment, instructional, and collaborative strategies associated with educating urban students with exceptionalities.

Full course description for Foundations of Special Education in Urban Settings

+ CORE ONE (12 credits)

Pre-Requisites: Admission to the major and Urban Teacher Program. Core One courses include 25 hours of documented urban field experiences. NOTE: EDU 325, SPED 350 and SPED 360 are only expected to be offered in spring.

This course will cover the normal development of skills and understandings necessary for a young child to learn to read and write. The individual nature of readiness and the differences in children's approaches to learning to read and write will be a focus of the course. The instructional strategies and materials that constitute a developmentally and culturally appropriate reading and language arts program for young urban children will be presented and used in practice sessions. The important role of multicultural literature in an emergent literacy curriculum for diverse urban children from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and families will be emphasized. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Emergent Literacy in Urban Early Childhood Education

This course provides the background for teaching contemporary mathematics in the elementary school. The use of mathematics manipulatives for modeling the basic operations is emphasized. Set theory, numeration, and the system of whole numbers, integers and rational numbers are considered. Requirements include knowing what mathematics is expected of and taught to K-6 learners. Mathematics is taught as an integrated and continuous curriculum.

Full course description for Math for Elementary Teachers

This practicum is designed to give urban teacher candidates the opportunity to document and reflect upon at least 40 hours practical clinical experience working with diverse youth in an urban middle school or high school. Most of the field experience hours will be determined by field-based assignments required in other Education courses. Included with these experiences, urban teacher candidates practice using diagnostic assessment to guide their instructional planning of at least three lessons for a small group of 1-5 students needing help to improve their reading or mathematics literacy. Successful completion of this practicum is a prerequisite for student teaching. Requirements include attendance and participation in periodic seminars to help prospective urban teacher candidates reflect upon their field experiences, and prepare for future clinical field experiences including student teaching. Co-requisites: EDU 306, OR EDU 606, OR EDU 323, OR EDU 481.

Full course description for Urban Teaching Practicum and Seminar

Students in this course will examine and discuss the legal aspects of special education law, litigation, and ethics of professional practice in special education. In addition, the course will use an antiracist lens when discussing how provisions in the legislation and litigation affect the identification, eligibility determination, planning, programming, and instruction of urban students with disabilities.

Full course description for Legal, Political, Ethical Issues in Special Education

+ Summer CORE ONE (4 - 7 credits)

PSYC 385 also meets University Liberal Studies requirement so those credits aren't included in the total for the major. These courses are among the few usually offered in the summer, and it may be better for students to take EDU 430 in Summer CORE THREE instead.

This course introduces psychological perspective to teaching and learning in classroom contexts through an overview of theories, principles, issues, and related research in educational psychology. Through readings, lectures, discussions, videos, activities and assignments, we will explore thinking, learning and memory in both classroom and daily life situations. Topics include, but not limited to: child and adolescent development, research in educational psychology, cognitive process and motivation, information processing, assessment of student learning, classroom management, and instructional strategies in education.

Full course description for Educational Psychology

This course explores historical, cultural, and sociological foundations of urban education in the United States. Core concepts include democracy and education, educational equity for all students and historical as well as contemporary relationships between school and society. Emphasis is on issues of power and the educational segregation and attempted deculturalization of historically marginalized groups. Resilience and persistent struggles for equal educational opportunity in the face of oppression are also emphasized from diverse cultural perspectives. Philosophical, legal, cultural and ethical perspectives about education are explored as students develop critical awareness of issues to further develop their own philosophies of urban education. The community is a resource for cross-cultural inquiry and learning about the educational strengths and challenges faced by diverse groups living in urban areas. Students gain understanding of the contributions and lifestyles of various…

Full course description for Historical and Cultural Foundations of Urban Education

+ CORE TWO (13 credits)

Pre-Requisites: CORE ONE courses. NOTE: SPED 410 and SPED 420 are only expected to be offered fall semester.

This course explores the fundamentals of reading instruction. The course provides Early Childhood and pre service k-6 teachers with knowledge of the foundations of the reading and writing process, strategies and curriculum materials to support reading and writing instruction, assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction, and create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing.

Full course description for Foundations of Teaching Reading in Urban Grades K-6

This course provides students with the knowledge and experience of intermediate and middle school mathematics to be an effective teacher in urban, multicultural classrooms. The content of this math methods course emphasizes the interconnectedness of curriculum, instruction and assessment. The overarching philosophical framework for this course is the social justice perspective of mathematics education particularly for urban students. Field experience in an intermediate or middle school mathematics classroom is required. Prerequisites for Mathematics Teaching majors: EDU 300 Assessment of Learning and Teaching in Urban Grades 5-12 and EDU 306 Urban Middle School and High School Methods and at least 24 credits of Math courses required for the Mathematics Teaching major. Prerequisite for Urban Elementary Education majors: MATH 106 Math for Elementary Teachers AND one of the following: MATH 110 Math for Liberal Arts OR MATH 115 College Algebra OR STAT 201 Statistics I. Corequisite…

Full course description for Teaching Mathematics to Urban Learners in Grades K-8

Students will examine and explore effective instructional practices including technology and assistive technology, differentiation of instruction, cooperative learning, accommodations and adaptations leading to inclusive models of education that promote urban student with disabilities growth, development, and independence.

Full course description for Supporting Inclusive Education through Differentiation and Technology

This course will prepare urban special education teacher candidates in developing the communication strategies to collaborate with other professionals and establish productive relationships with parents and families to support student learning including planning for students in transition from school to postschool environments. Candidates will learn to understand dynamic roles within families and communities and access services, networks, agencies, and support.

Full course description for Collaboration and Transition Practices in Special Education

+ CORE THREE (14 credits)

Pre-Requisites: Core Two courses. Core Three courses include 40 hours of documented urban field experiences. NOTE: These SPED courses are only expected to be offered in spring semester.

This course presents an in-depth study of the predominant current philosophies and methodologies of Early Childhood and Elementary reading instruction. Emphasis will be placed on the critical elements in literacy development. These elements are: phonemic awareness, phonic instruction, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. Current organizational procedures and foundations of reading instruction will be presented. Special consideration is given to effective practices and adapting instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Full course description for Methods of Teaching Reading in Urban Grades K-6

This methods course will introduce students to the basic psychometric foundations of standardized and classroom-based assessment to inform data-based decision-making about exceptionality, eligibility, and educational programming for urban students with disabilities. Students in this course will learn models of educational assessment, practice methods of observation in classroom and clinical education settings, and administration of standardized assessments of academic achievement. Concurrent enrollment in SPED 405 places candidates in an urban education/special education setting to complete applied learning activities.

Full course description for Assessment in Urban Special Education

This course will prepare urban special education teacher candidates in academic and behavioral interventions and practices for differentiating, adapting, and accommodating the needs of urban learners with mild disabilities in diverse urban educational settings. Candidates will design, implement, modify, and adjust instructional programs and processes and adapt content materials and environments to enhance urban student learning, participation, and performance. Concurrent enrollment in SPED 445 places candidates in an urban special education setting to complete applied learning activities.

Full course description for Interventions: Mild Disabilities

This advanced pre-student teaching practicum is designed to give urban teacher candidates the opportunity to document and reflect upon at least 60 hours practical clinical experience in an urban middle school or high school classroom within their subject area of licensure. Requirements include teaching at least 3 lessons in their licensure area to a whole class of students, but most of the clinical field experience hours and active classroom involvement will be determined by field-based assignments required in other Education courses and the cooperating urban school teacher hosting the practicum. Successful completion of this practicum is a prerequisite for student teaching. Requirements include attendance and participation in periodic seminars to help prospective urban teacher candidates reflect upon their field experiences, and prepare for student teaching.

Full course description for Advanced Urban Teaching Practicum and Seminar

+ Summer CORE THREE (3 - 6 credits)

These course may be taken other semesters instead.

This course includes an examination of the process of second language acquisition and strategies for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) subject matter content in urban K-12 classrooms. Prospective teachers will learn how to modify mainstream course materials and instructional strategies so that ELL students can engage in course content while simultaneously developing their English language skills. Course activities and expectations include demonstrating teaching strategies; developing lesson modifications; evaluating textbooks and other materials and resources available in the field; and examining issues in testing students of limited English proficiency for placement, diagnosis, exit, and evaluation. There is a requirement of a 10-hour field experience in urban setting involving classroom participant-observations and working with an ELL student.

Full course description for Teaching and Assessing English Language Learners

This course explores historical, cultural, and sociological foundations of urban education in the United States. Core concepts include democracy and education, educational equity for all students and historical as well as contemporary relationships between school and society. Emphasis is on issues of power and the educational segregation and attempted deculturalization of historically marginalized groups. Resilience and persistent struggles for equal educational opportunity in the face of oppression are also emphasized from diverse cultural perspectives. Philosophical, legal, cultural and ethical perspectives about education are explored as students develop critical awareness of issues to further develop their own philosophies of urban education. The community is a resource for cross-cultural inquiry and learning about the educational strengths and challenges faced by diverse groups living in urban areas. Students gain understanding of the contributions and lifestyles of various…

Full course description for Historical and Cultural Foundations of Urban Education

+ Student Teaching (9 credits, 15 full - time weeks including two placements)

Two placements--one in the elementary level and one in either middle or high school--will be needed for a total of 15 full-time weeks. Teacher Candidates must notify the Field Experience Director two semesters prior to doing their student teaching. They must also submit a draft student teaching application to their advisor by September 1st for spring placements and February 1st for fall placements. MTLE Content and Pedagogy exams must be taken before student teaching.

This course is the clinical field experience where special education teacher candidates will demonstrate their learning in an urban environment, working with urban students with disabilities. Special education teacher candidates will be supervised by a university professional and a cooperating classroom teacher in an urban special education setting. Placement is for a minimum of twelve full-time weeks based on teacher candidate's Individualized Student Teaching Plan that is developed with and approved by the teacher candidate's advisor and the Field Experience Coordinator, the semester prior to clinical field experience. Weekly reflections, periodic seminars with other student teachers, and the development of a standards-based e-folio are also required.

Full course description for Student Teaching in Urban Special Education