New York State Certification, Special Education, Professional Development
April 11, 2019

Fact Sheet 19-10 NYS Certification: Students with Disabilities

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

Special education certification has undergone many changes in the past 20 years.  Prior to 2004, the special education certificate was considered an ‘All Grades’ certificate, or K-12.  Individuals with this certificate could fulfill any and all assignments related to special education, including special class assignments.

In 2004 the special education certificate was replaced by the certificate title of Students with Disabilities (SWD) and this SWD title was broken into four (4) grade level certificates:

 SWD: Birth – Grade 2  SWD: Grades 1 – 6
 SWD: Grades 5 – 9  SWD: Grades 7 –12: Content Area

The SWD Grades 5-9 certificate was further delineated into a generalist title (for non-departmentalized assignments) or a content-specific title. The SWD Grades 7-12 certificates were separated into content areas, requiring knowledge of a specific content area in addition to the knowledge base in special education.

In 2011 the SWD: Grades 5-9 and the SWD: Grades 7-12 content-specific certificate titles were eliminated and replaced with the SWD Grades 7-12 Generalist certificate, with the availability of content area extensions that could be attached to this certificate.

In 2018-19, additional changes were made to the SWD titles; state regulations were amended to allow for grade level extensions to existing SWD certificate titles.

Grade-Level Extensions

Current Certification

Teaching Experience Requirement

Teachers Choose One of the Following Requirements

Grade Extension to Current SWD Certificate

 

 

 

 

Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE)

College Course

 

 

SWD Birth - Grade 2

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 1st and/or 2nd grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the elementary level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the elementary education level.

Grades 3-4

SWD Grades 1 -6

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 1st and/or 2nd grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the early childhood level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the early childhood education level.

PK-K


 

 

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 5th and/or 6th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Grades 7-8

SWD 7-12 Generalist or Content Specialist

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 7th and/or 8th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Grades 5-6

SWD 5-9 Generalist or Content Specialist

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 8th and/or 9th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the adolescent education level AND 15 hours of acceptable CTLE in ELA OR 3 credits in ELA.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the adolescent education level AND 15 hours of acceptable CTLE in ELA OR 3 credits in ELA.

Grades 10-12

For each of the grade level extensions, teaching experience is defined as at least 75% or more of the applicant’s time is spent teaching students with disabilities in either of the two grade levels closest to the grade level extension during each of the three school years. Applicants for the grade level extension(s) use the state’s Verification of Paid Experience form for Classroom Teachers and Pupil Personnel Services Professionals: Professional and Permanent Certificates, Extensions, Limited Extensions, and Statements of Continued Eligibility to fulfill this requirement.

New York State Teacher Centers offer state-approved CTLE courses that fulfill the requirement for grade level extensions. Interested parties can contact the director of the Rome Teacher Center at jlattimorertc@gmail.com for information on availability of these courses across the state.

Statements of Continued Eligibility and Limited Content Area Extensions

In addition to grade level flexibility, the State Education Department also adopted regulations to increase the flexibility of select Students with Disabilities certificates to teach special classes. The SWD titles eligible for this flexibility include: SWD 7-12 Generalist, SWD 7-12 Content Specialist, SWD 5-9 Generalist, SWD 5-9 Content Specialist, and Special Education K-12.

a.    Statement of Continued Eligibility or SOCE: The SOCE is available to special education teachers with any of the identified certificate titles who will teach a special class and have at least three years of satisfactory full-time teaching experience in grades 7-12 on or before July 1, 2019, during which time they were considered Highly Qualified by a school district in one or more subject areas using the High, Objective, State Standard of Evaluation or HOUSSE rubric (from NCLB).

b.    Limited Content Area Extension:  The limited extension is available to special education teachers with any of the identified certificate titles who will teach a special class but do not qualify for the SOCE. The limited extension enables these teachers to teach special classes for five years (with additional 5-year renewal option) while they complete 18 credits required for a content area extension in the subject areas (biology, chemistry, earth science, ELA, mathematics, physics, and social studies) they teach within the special class.

Limited extensions can be obtained by:

  • having at least two years of satisfactory full-time teaching experience with students with disabilities in grades 7-12 (must have valid SWD 7-12 Generalist certificate) and previous designation as Highly Qualified by a district in the subject area using the HOUSSE rubric for NCLB purposes prior to July 1, 2019; or
  • passing the NYS Content Specialty Test in the subject area; or
  • passing an industry accepted exam in the subject area; or
  • completing at least 9 credits of course work in the subject area; or
  • completing at least 45 CTLE hours in the subject area and either:
    • having at least two years of satisfactory full-time teaching experience with students with disabilities in grades 7-12 in the subject area, or
    • being mentored for at least one year by a teacher in the school or school district who holds a professional or permanent certificate in the subject area.

Current special education teachers may possess any of the certificate titles listed above. Due to the variety of special education certificates held by current teachers and the varied teaching assignments they fulfilled, SED issued guidance for the appropriate assignments for special education teachers.

 Attachment A is SED’s guidance on ‘Special Education Certificate Titles and Teaching Assignment’
 Attachment B is SED’s ‘Examples of Reporting Primary and Special Education Instructors in Course Instructor Assignment’ guidance
 Attachment C is SED’s Search Requirements Examples


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