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Albany High School_Cliff Mele

This program links evidence-based practices and clinically rich experiences in the schools. It leads to certification in both special education and general education in New York State for teaching grades 7-12.


This program is informally known around campus as “ASPIRE”, which refers to Adolescence Special Education for Inclusive and Reflective Educators. The coursework equally integrates the field of special education and general education in order to prepare pre-service teachers (often called “candidates”) with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are needed to help all students learn, especially those with unique learning needs.

With each education course, a pre-service candidate can usually expect to spend at least 10 hours in the schools completing embedded field hour assignments. Over the course of the program, candidates spend over 150 hours conducting school-based field hours. Candidates must also complete courses in one major concentration area (Math, Science, Social Studies, or English) plus liberal education classes, which are requirements for teaching in New York State.

At the conclusion of the 5-year program, candidates complete two 7-week student teaching experiences, one at the grades 7-9 level and another at the grades 10-12 level. One placement is in special education, and the other in general education. At the end of each student teaching placement, candidates take over the role of the teacher. Also during the final semester, candidates present their professional portfolio to the faculty and members of the professional community. The portfolio is a compilation of work completed throughout the undergraduate and graduate program. The portfolio process is an exciting time when candidates are given the opportunity to reflect on all they have learned while presenting those accomplishments to other professionals.


Unique Program Features

  • Earn your Bachelors (BA) and Masters Degree (MSEd) in this 5 year integrated undergraduate and graduate program
  • Be eligible for 2 certifications: Grades 7-12 in a content area (Math, Science, Social Studies, English or Spanish) AND Special Education Generalist
  • Engage in Field Work in urban, rural, and suburban public schools beginning freshman year
  • Work closely with faculty both at the College of Saint Rose and in the surrounding school districts
  • Experience firsthand working and teaching students with a wide range of disabilities from culturally diverse backgrounds beginning in your freshman year
  • Attend classes with low student-faculty ratio and hands-on learning
  • Maintain eligibility to continue college financial aid for the 5th year


Learning Objectives

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

  • Acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and dispositions of disciplines relevant to candidates’ projected educational or clinical roles.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Project ASPIRE is funded by the Office of Special Education Program of the U.S. Department of Education to improve the training of teachers who will work with students in Special and General Education classrooms in grades 7-12. Watch the clip below to learn more about The College of Saint Rose ASPIRE Program.