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December 12, 2013

Darden College's CSEEP Receives Innovation in Teacher Education Award

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Old Dominion's Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement Program (CSEEP) received the Southern Regional Association of Teacher Educators 2013 Innovation in Teacher Education Award in October. The award recognizes and honors outstanding teacher education programs that have developed innovative approaches to teacher preparation.

CSEEP, part of ODU's Darden College of Education, was honored as a result of the program's effectiveness in preparing special educators to meet the needs of Virginia students with disabilities by using evidence-based practices, technology and comprehensive assessment. Initiated in 1998 by faculty members Steve Tonelson, Robert Gable, Cheryl Baker and Jane Hager, the Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement Program was created to address the shortage of special educators in Virginia and continues, with the addition of Ann Maydosz as associate director, to increase the likelihood that Virginia students with disabilities will achieve academic gains (see photo below).

The need for CSEEP is clear. Each day in Virginia schools, more than 20,000 students with disabilities are taught by over 2,500 educators who have minimal preparation for the challenges they face. At issue is the need for highly qualified and fully licensed special education teachers, a need that is expanding at a faster rate than the capacity of traditional teacher preparation programs to respond. CSEEP utilizes distance-learning technologies in collaboration with partners across commonwealth to provide a readily accessible path to evidence-based coursework and full licensure for Virginia's more than 3,000 provisionally licensed special education teachers, ensuring a high-quality education for Virginia students with disabilities.

"The impact of this program is evident, and it is encouraging to know that what we do is seen as vital," said Tonelson, CSEEP program director and professor of special education and early childhood education. To date, the technology-rich and innovative program boasts more than 1,600 highly effective teachers who have completed the program.

The program is funded by the Virginia Department of Education; additional program partners include Virginia's public school systems and state-operated programs, as well as the Virginia Community College System.

The Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators is a regional professional organization affiliated with the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). Its purpose is to improve teacher education in the southeastern United States and throughout the nation by its affiliation with the ATE. Member states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information about the program, contact CSEEP at cseep@odu.edu or 683-5372.

morenews3-lg01Members of the CSEEP team are, from left: Steve Tonelson, Cheryl Baker, Tracy Murray, Ann Maydosz, Jackie Royster and Robert Gable.