A new special education certificate for general ed teachers is targeting the shortage of qualified special education teachers in New Mexico.
The pilot program is operated in coordination with Rio Rancho Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College. Funds were provided by RRPS to help pay teacher tuition. Upon completion, each teacher could apply for their state special education license.
“There’s a nationwide shortage of special education teachers and here in New Mexico, in all of our school districts, we’re experiencing a teacher shortage in special education and so we came up with this program as one solution to support the needs of our local district,” said Catron Allred, director of CNM’s education program. “It gives the students in those districts access to highly qualified teachers — a lot of these classrooms, if they don’t have a qualified special education teacher, (they) are being filled with long-term substitutes.”
Teachers were required to have previous teaching experience and to fill a special education teaching position during the year long program.