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Adolescence Education and Special Education BA/MSEd Dual Degree (ASPIRE Program)

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Be Ready to Serve the Needs of All Learners

You want to teach both secondary and special education to help all students learn and grow, especially those with unique learning needs.

There’s no better place to prepare than at Saint Rose. With expert faculty steeped in experience and a proven job-placement record, our accelerated Adolescence Education and Special Education program is the only program you will need to reach your dreams.

All of our faculty are New York State certified educators with several years of practical experience in the field. They’re up-to-date on the latest teaching methods and industry knowledge to ensure you’re equipped to teach in any classroom setting. With a high-level understanding of what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, they take you under their wings and become your mentors, guiding you through every step of your education. Their dedication pays off — students pass rates on the New York State Teacher Certification Exams that exceed New York State averages.

Unlike other institutions, education at Saint Rose isn’t just a major. The Thelma P. Lally School of Education is an entire school with dedicated resources, facilities, and faculty producing teachers who are consistently sought after by school districts. And with more than 28,000 alumni who have been trained as teachers, mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities in schools are part of the student experience starting in their first year on campus.

Informally known as “ASPIRE” (which refers to Adolescence Special Education for Inclusive and Reflective Educators), our program equally integrates the field of special education and general education with a laser focus on hands-on experience. Throughout the program, students gain over 150 hours of fieldwork at local schools where Saint Rose has built strong relationships. To round out your education, you will also complete courses in a specialty area: English or social studies.

At the end of the program, you will complete two student-teaching experiences — in special education and general education — and have a portfolio of accomplishments to reflect on. With hundreds of hours of hands-on experience and an advanced degree, you will stand out as a well-rounded, highly skilled candidate who is ready to teach.

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Program Highlights

  • Earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degree in five-years, accelerating your time spent in the classroom and launching you into your career as an educator.
  • Be eligible to receive two New York State certifications: grades 7-12 in either a social studies or English content area AND special education generalist.
  • Complete two 7-week student-teaching experiences in special education and general education, one at the grades 7-9 level and another at the grades 10-12 level. At the end of each student-teaching placement, candidates take over the role of teacher.
  • Engage in hundreds of hours of fieldwork in urban, rural, and suburban public schools, starting as early as your first year.
  • Experience first-hand what it’s like to work and teach students with a wide range of disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds. 
  • Maintain eligibility to continue college financial aid throughout your fifth year.
  • Work closely with faculty at the Thelma P. Lally School of Education and with teachers in the surrounding school districts.

Curriculum and Placements

The Special Education/Adolescence Education program provides pre-service teachers with integrated course content across the disciplines of special education, adolescence education, adolescent development, literacy, educational psychology, and instructional technology.

The program prepares future educators to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of a diverse student population, collaborate with colleagues, and exhibit leadership in their professional endeavors. This program requires a minimum of 63 credits of study, includes a full semester of student-teaching, and involves the College-wide liberal education program with specific expanded course work to meet certification requirements.

Learn more about these programs

Candidates in professional education programs at The College of Saint Rose will:

  • Apply principles and theories of lifespan human development and learning in all of its diversity to education, service learning and clinical practice, and demonstrate a capacity and disposition to continuously update that knowledge and, therefore, practice according to the best emerging research in the field.
  • Plan and implement practice that is rigorous, comprehensive, inclusive, creative and motivating, inviting students’ analytical skills and promoting their dispositions to be lifelong learners.
  • Acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and dispositions of disciplines relevant to candidates’ projected educational or clinical roles.
  • Ensure that evaluation and decision-making are data-driven, multi-faceted, collaborative and recursive, and align instructional/clinical goals, practice, assessments, and standards.
  • Develop and demonstrate personal and professional values that foster the highest ethical standards of the profession; intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness; understanding and responsiveness to multiple social and global perspectives; and collegiality and collaboration among partners in the educational or clinical process that involve children, families, community members, and other professionals.
  • Promote optimal learning opportunities and environments for all individuals in the context of their experiential, cultural, and/or racial/ethnic backgrounds, including, but not limited to learners who are speakers of non-English languages, or who are gifted, have disabilities, are educationally challenged or who have different interests, ambitions or sexual orientations.
  • Demonstrate in their practice that oral and written language is a functional, as well as social and artistic tool, for communication and thought, and as such reflect the multiple literacies of local, national and global cultures.
  • Integrate a variety of technological methods and programs to enhance pupil learning and practitioner effectiveness, facilitate candidates’ acquisition of technological skills, and their dispositions to use them.

Most kids, when they come to me, don’t choose to read on their own time. So, if I can give them a really rich experience with the text, and they get into it and love sharing their ideas and building on each other’s answers, those are the best days for me. I just sit back and watch it happen.”

Middle school English teacher in Troy, New York, who was teaching in New Orleans when he won a 2019 Milken Educator Award, an “Oscar of teaching” that is bestowed annually by the Milken Family Foundation and recognizes promising young teachers nationwide. Gamache says he appreciated the focus at Saint Rose on equity and social justice and found the College’s emphasis on curriculum planning had given him an invaluable skill set as a teacher. 

Steven Gamache G’10

Middle school English teacher in Troy, New York

I took many classes with Dr. Frances Ihle for the ASPIRE program and had her as my advisor all five years. She is an incredible professor and her passion for her work is contagious.

She was always there to support us. I know I will carry her classes with me throughout my career."

 Maja De Garay ‘21, G’21

English Adolescence Education/Special Education

Meet our Teaching and Special Education Faculty

Our faculty are great scholars, but your success is their top priority. That’s why Saint Rose has been named a top 25 college for professors who excel at teaching undergraduates by U.S. News & World Report for the second year.
Dana Abbott Associate Professor of Special Education

I have taught special education or literacy at Saint Rose since 2010. My previous experience includes teaching at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Post University, University at Albany, and Hudson Valley Community College; I also taught kindergarten and preschool students in Troy, New York. My teaching interests include developmental assessment, students with disabilities, and positive behavior supports; I have published or presented on emotional behavioral disorders, and teacher certification and assessment.

Patricia Baldwin Assistant Professor of Teacher Education

I taught elementary students in the Newburgh City School District for eight years before working in higher education and, today, I teach in the childhood education and inclusive early childhood education programs at Saint Rose with my research focusing on those areas and the field experiences of our teacher candidates. I believe that each Saint Rose student brings unique gifts, and that our programs should help prepare them to share those gifts with young children to create quality educational programs in their own classrooms.

Susan V. DeLuke Associate Professor of Special Education

I am the Director of Social Intervention programs at Saint Rose and consult with school districts across New York State on students with disabilities. I have worked as a school administrator and special education teacher. My teaching interests include behavior supports, assessment, and intervention; emotional, behavior, and mental health concerns for children and youth; and autism spectrum disorders. My research interests include autism spectrum disorder, merging special- and general-education programs, and families advocating for their children with disabilities.

Kristi Fragnoli Professor of Teacher Education

I have over 10 years of public school teaching experience and understand that it’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest in social studies education. I am a consultant for the New York State Archives and an editorial consultant for its magazine, a member of the New York State Education Department Content Advisory Board for Social Studies, and am chair of the New York State Council for History Education. In 2020, I was awarded the New York State Council for Social Studies, Dr. Benita Jorkasky Outstanding College Educator Award. Additionally, I have taught as an assistant professor at the State University at Cortland and was an adjunct at Syracuse University while finishing my doctorate degree at Binghamton University.

Dana AbbottAssociate Professor of Special Education

I have taught special education or literacy at Saint Rose since 2010. My previous experience includes teaching at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Post University, University at Albany, and Hudson Valley Community College; I also taught kindergarten and preschool students in Troy, New York. My teaching interests include developmental assessment, students with disabilities, and positive behavior supports; I have published or presented on emotional behavioral disorders, and teacher certification and assessment.

Patricia Baldwin Assistant Professor of Teacher Education

I taught elementary students in the Newburgh City School District for eight years before working in higher education and, today, I teach in the childhood education and inclusive early childhood education programs at Saint Rose with my research focusing on those areas and the field experiences of our teacher candidates. I believe that each Saint Rose student brings unique gifts, and that our programs should help prepare them to share those gifts with young children to create quality educational programs in their own classrooms.

Susan V. DeLukeAssociate Professor of Special Education

I am the Director of Social Intervention programs at Saint Rose and consult with school districts across New York State on students with disabilities. I have worked as a school administrator and special education teacher. My teaching interests include behavior supports, assessment, and intervention; emotional, behavior, and mental health concerns for children and youth; and autism spectrum disorders. My research interests include autism spectrum disorder, merging special- and general-education programs, and families advocating for their children with disabilities.

Kristi FragnoliProfessor of Teacher Education

I have over 10 years of public school teaching experience and understand that it’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest in social studies education. I am a consultant for the New York State Archives and an editorial consultant for its magazine, a member of the New York State Education Department Content Advisory Board for Social Studies, and am chair of the New York State Council for History Education. In 2020, I was awarded the New York State Council for Social Studies, Dr. Benita Jorkasky Outstanding College Educator Award. Additionally, I have taught as an assistant professor at the State University at Cortland and was an adjunct at Syracuse University while finishing my doctorate degree at Binghamton University.

Frances Ihle Associate Professor of Special Education

I have taught special education and literacy at Saint Rose since 2011; previous experience includes a doctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas, and being a high-school special-education teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I presently work to prepare students with disabilities for post-secondary success through Project ASPIRE and Project THRIVE, two federally funded grants awarded to Saint Rose in 2010 and 2019.

My research projects and activities focus on academic discourse and teaching adolescents how spoken and written language patterns differ, and executive function coaching to help college students tutor their peers in self-regulation strategies such as planning, organization, and time management.

James Kahler Adjunct Faculty and Student-teacher Supervisor

I have been affiliated with Saint Rose since 2006 as a student-teacher supervisor and adjunct professor. I have taught classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in both the early childhood and childhood departments. I was an elementary school teacher for 33 years, mostly in the primary grades. I have also coached various sports at all levels from modified to varsity. I am very interested in the area of reading instruction and social studies. I have also researched and done my master’s paper on ESL studies. On a personal note, I have been married for 48 years and have two grown children, a son (41) and a daughter (45) and two terrific grandsons ages 7 and 5. In 2017, I was lucky enough to procure a cabin in the Adirondacks by Whiteface Mountain. I like to do outdoor activities, and my recent adventures have been targeted toward completing the hiking of all 46 High Peaks.

Timothy “Julio” McLaughlin Adjunct Faculty

I am a three-time (4 degrees) alumnus from The College of Saint Rose. The faculty and overall experience as a “Rose Bud” have meant more to me than words can capture; it is both an honor and a privilege to keep that tradition going, helping to develop the next generation of educators. Broadly, I’m an educational generalist. I have taught in public schools and at every level from grade 5 to graduate school. My background in educational psychology and methodology has equipped me to teach courses in learning, development, classroom assessment, diversity, research, and educational foundations. My specific areas of research are on classroom learning, specifically creativity, motivation, theories of learning, formative assessment, and high-ordered thinking.

Christina Pfister Professor of Teacher Education

I’m a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the Lally School of Education at The College of Saint Rose.  My research interests include studying the process of becoming a teacher, including mentoring and the experiences of novice teachers. I teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels and serves as an academic advisor.  

Frances IhleAssociate Professor of Special Education

I have taught special education and literacy at Saint Rose since 2011; previous experience includes a doctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas, and being a high-school special-education teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I presently work to prepare students with disabilities for post-secondary success through Project ASPIRE and Project THRIVE, two federally funded grants awarded to Saint Rose in 2010 and 2019.

My research projects and activities focus on academic discourse and teaching adolescents how spoken and written language patterns differ, and executive function coaching to help college students tutor their peers in self-regulation strategies such as planning, organization, and time management.

James KahlerAdjunct Faculty and Student-teacher Supervisor

I have been affiliated with Saint Rose since 2006 as a student-teacher supervisor and adjunct professor. I have taught classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in both the early childhood and childhood departments. I was an elementary school teacher for 33 years, mostly in the primary grades. I have also coached various sports at all levels from modified to varsity. I am very interested in the area of reading instruction and social studies. I have also researched and done my master’s paper on ESL studies. On a personal note, I have been married for 48 years and have two grown children, a son (41) and a daughter (45) and two terrific grandsons ages 7 and 5. In 2017, I was lucky enough to procure a cabin in the Adirondacks by Whiteface Mountain. I like to do outdoor activities, and my recent adventures have been targeted toward completing the hiking of all 46 High Peaks.

Timothy “Julio” McLaughlinAdjunct Faculty

I am a three-time (4 degrees) alumnus from The College of Saint Rose. The faculty and overall experience as a “Rose Bud” have meant more to me than words can capture; it is both an honor and a privilege to keep that tradition going, helping to develop the next generation of educators. Broadly, I’m an educational generalist. I have taught in public schools and at every level from grade 5 to graduate school. My background in educational psychology and methodology has equipped me to teach courses in learning, development, classroom assessment, diversity, research, and educational foundations. My specific areas of research are on classroom learning, specifically creativity, motivation, theories of learning, formative assessment, and high-ordered thinking.

Christina PfisterProfessor of Teacher Education

I’m a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the Lally School of Education at The College of Saint Rose.  My research interests include studying the process of becoming a teacher, including mentoring and the experiences of novice teachers. I teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels and serves as an academic advisor.  

Tammy Schillinger Adjunct Faculty

I have my doctorate in early childhood education, my master’s in elementary education pre-k through 6, and a bachelor’s in psychology. I am certified in elementary education (pre-k through 6) and TESOL pre-k through 12 (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have been a teacher for the past 20 years in a school in upstate New York. I am currently an ENL (English as a New Language) teacher and an adjunct professor at The College of Saint Rose in the education department. As an ENL teacher, a big part of my focus is teaching foundational skills focused on phonics and phonemic awareness. As a college professor, I design and teach early childhood education courses and elementary education courses. I also supervise teachers in the field in pre-k and kindergarten classes. I have experience in teaching grades pre-k through 12. My research areas include critical thinking in all subject areas, the collaboration of speech and ENL teachers, and online learning for ELLs.

Julienne Slichko Assistant Professor of Special Education

With many years of experience as a special education teacher in Capital District schools, I have helped develop the teaching practicum and was an instructional developer at University at Albany, where I helped faculty teach effectively using online technology. My teaching interests include exceptionality, inclusion, partnerships with families, and assessment. I have published papers on teaching students with disabilities, the use of technology in teaching individuals on the autism spectrum, and comparison of best practices in school districts.

Tammy SchillingerAdjunct Faculty

I have my doctorate in early childhood education, my master’s in elementary education pre-k through 6, and a bachelor’s in psychology. I am certified in elementary education (pre-k through 6) and TESOL pre-k through 12 (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have been a teacher for the past 20 years in a school in upstate New York. I am currently an ENL (English as a New Language) teacher and an adjunct professor at The College of Saint Rose in the education department. As an ENL teacher, a big part of my focus is teaching foundational skills focused on phonics and phonemic awareness. As a college professor, I design and teach early childhood education courses and elementary education courses. I also supervise teachers in the field in pre-k and kindergarten classes. I have experience in teaching grades pre-k through 12. My research areas include critical thinking in all subject areas, the collaboration of speech and ENL teachers, and online learning for ELLs.

Julienne Slichko Assistant Professor of Special Education

With many years of experience as a special education teacher in Capital District schools, I have helped develop the teaching practicum and was an instructional developer at University at Albany, where I helped faculty teach effectively using online technology. My teaching interests include exceptionality, inclusion, partnerships with families, and assessment. I have published papers on teaching students with disabilities, the use of technology in teaching individuals on the autism spectrum, and comparison of best practices in school districts.

Career Outlook 

According to NYSUT, New York State will need more than 180,000 teachers in the next decade in both urban and rural districts.

According to Education Week, a Rockefeller Institute of Government report found that teachers in New York State are paid the highest in their field in the United States with the average teacher making $79,588.

  • Albany City 
  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo 
  • Bethlehem 
  • Cohoes 
  • Green Island
  • Guilderland 
  • Menands
  • North Colonie 
  • Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk
  • South Colonie 
  • Voorheesville 
  • Watervliet
  • Chatham 
  • Ichabod Crane 
  • New Lebanon 
  • Taconic Hills
  • Broadalbin-Perth 
  • Johnstown 
  • Cairo-Durham
  • Coxsackie-Athens
  • Windham-Ashland-Jewett 
  • Greater Amsterdam
  • Canajoharie Central
  • Fonda-Fultonville Central
  • Averill Park
  • Berlin Brunswick
  • East Greenbush Hoosic Valley
  • Hoosick Falls
  • Lansingburgh
  • Rensselaer Schodack
  • Troy City
  • Wynantskill
  • Ballston Spa
  • Burnt Hills – Ballston Lake
  • Mechanicville
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Shenendehowa
  • South Glens Falls
  • Stillwater
  • Waterford-Halfmoon
  • Duanesburg
  • Niskayuna
  • Rotterdam-Mohonasen
  • Schalmont
  • Schenectady
  • Scotia-Glenville
  • Schoharie
  • Sharon Springs
  • Gilboa-Conesville
  • Glens Falls
  • Hadley-Luzerne
  • Queensbury
  • Warrensburg
  • Fort Ann
  • Fort Edward
  • Hudson Falls
  • Salem

Where Our Students Work

Because we’ve graduated more than 28,000 teachers, you can find a Saint Rose alum in countless schools, including:

  • Lansingburgh
  • Ravena
  • Glens Falls
  • Albany 
  • Guilderland
  • North Colonie
  • East Greenbush

Contact Us Today

Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out. We’re here to help.

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