Leadership in Special Education

MA

The Master of Arts in Leadership in Special Education prepares educators to become transformational supervisors or administrators in diverse and inclusive schools. The curriculum includes advanced study in leadership, pedagogy, and literacy as they pertain to diverse learners.

Teacher in a classroom holding a green block

Choose a Track

Coursework includes both leadership and exceptionalities and is offered in a hybrid format. Candidates have the option of choosing two tracks:

  • Administration & Supervision (MSDE Administrator I certification)
  • Exceptionalities

Additional Study Options

Student Outcomes

As a student in this program, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of learning and behavioral characteristics of students with disabilities and service delivery models that support inclusion.
  2. Apply principles of ethical leadership including professional standards and legal requirements to promote inclusive school practices.
  3. Design instructional environments that use evidenced based practices and data analysis to increase achievement of diverse learners.
  4. Demonstrate a variety of skills necessary to plan, implement and assess professional development for adult learners on inclusive school practices

Program Outcomes

At the completion of the program, you will be able to:

  1. Pass all national testing requirements, as applicable, achieving a 100% pass rate for NDMU.
  2. Enhance career and professional development opportunities for employment pathways in the profession, e.g., instructional support teacher, mentor teacher, department head, assistant principal, inclusion specialist.
  3. Design and conduct professional development that supports high achievement of diverse learners.
  4. Collaborate with all stakeholders to create instructional environments that promote and support inclusion and achievement of all students.

Courses

  • Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Educational Research: EDU-543 (3 credits)

    Provides an interactive learning environment that will enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities required for the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of educational research. In addition, the course will enable students to cultivate the skills necessary for engaging in their own creative and meaningful research. [ 3 credits ]
  • Technology for Instruction and Management: EDU-556 (3 credits)

    Introduces learners to technology as a tool for classroom instruction and management. Students will be given opportunities in planning, designing and producing projects that meet the instructional needs of students. The projects encompass skills in word processing, video, Web pages, multimedia and other technologies. Students examine online information services and the integration of technology into the curriculum and practice. [ 3 credits ]
  • Leadership Seminar I: EDU-557 (3 credits)

    Analyzes various models of leadership and explores societal and personal assumptions about leadership. Students investigate key elements of effective leadership and raise questions from several cultural viewpoints. Participants will be encouraged to integrate and apply diverse leadership perspectives in order to enhance their leadership abilities and strengthen their capacity to lead as educational professionals. [ 3 credits ]
  • Legal Issues for Teachers and Administrators: EDU-560 (3 credits)

    Surveys the fundamental legal principles and issues which affect public and private education. They will become acquainted with the American legal process and basic legal terminology. Using the case study approach to contemporary education law, students will become familiar with the diversity of legal issues that affect educators' professional lives. [ 3 credits ]
  • Curriculum Development: EDU-563 (3 credits)

    Considers the forces driving quality curriculum development. This course examines how different groups, issues, ideologies and research have influenced what and how children have been taught historically. Attention will be focused on recent reform literature directed at schools and its likely impact on curriculum. Current political, economic, demographic and academic trends will be studied. The process for curriculum design will be examined and applied as students develop a sample guide using the class as a workshop group. The course concludes with an analysis of future curriculum needs and the role of educators in bringing about needed changes. [ 3 credits ]
  • Learning Theory and Practice: EDU-567 (3 credits)

    Evaluates theories of learning from cognitive, physiological and affective perspectives as a basis for effective instructional practice. Research into the theoretical basis for learning and higher level thinking skills is applied to educational planning, implementation, and evaluation. [ 3 credits ]
  • Supervision: Empowering Teachers: EDU-569 (3 credits)

    Examines the developmental supervisory approach for teachers and support staff. Key elements of effective supervision are investigated and applied to school situations through reading, exercises, and videos. Knowledge of adult learning, interpersonal skills, and alternative supervisory practices according to varying developmental levels are stressed. Empowerment can be a motivational tool and lead to increased performance. Thus, strategies for empowering teachers and support staff are included in this course as a key requirement for supervisors. [ 3 credits ]
  • Practicum: School Administration and Supervision Part I: EDU-688 (3 credits)

    Begins the first phase of a year-long internship in school administration and supervision. This course blends leadership theory and practice and focuses on the ongoing professional growth and development of students by assisting them to improve leadership skills, techniques and behaviors that are related to effective school leadership. Students participate in an in-school practicum experience with their assigned administrators. Specific experiences will address various dimensions of effective school leadership (visionary leadership, instructional leadership, organizational leadership, community leadership, ethical leadership and political leadership). A seminar class complements the in-school practicum experience. Seminar readings and discussions focus on the conceptualization, planning, and management of innovation and change. Students are required to develop an analytic project in which they identify a particular problem and plan an effective strategy. Students are supervised, assessed and evaluated by a college supervisor and a school administrator. Prerequisite: 21 completed credits, including successful completion of EDU-543, EDU-557. [ 3 credits ]
  • Practicum in School Administration and Supervision Part II: EDU-690 (3 credits)

    Initiates the second phase of the year-long internship in school administration and super vision. T his course is designed as a culminating experience for students preparing for Administration and Supervision Certification. The course blends leadership theory with practice and focuses on the ongoing professional growth and development of students by assisting them to improve leadership skills, techniques and behaviors which are related to effective school leadership. Students participate in an in-school practicum experience with their assigned administrators. Specific experiences are planned to enable the student to gain direct experience of the administrator?s roles in the daily operation of a school. Specific experiences will address various dimensions of effective school leadership (visionary leadership, instructional leadership, organizational leadership, community leadership, ethical leadership and political leadership). This internship is taken following the successful completion of EDU-688 Practicum: School Administration and Supervision Part I. Students are supervised, assessed and evaluated by a college supervisor and a school administrator. Prerequisites: EDU-688 with a minimum grade of B. Permission of the chair of the education department. [3 credits ]
  • Attention Deficit Disorder: SPE-530 (3 credits)

    A self-paced or online course, designed to give you an understanding of the framework of and need for creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. This course will help the learner achieve a better understanding of ADD and intervention strategies to facilitate positive student change. This course covers the history of the disorder, accepted methods to assess and identify students with the disorder, and various methods, medications, and strategies that are currently used to treat it. For situations in which services beyond what can be provided in the classroom are required, the referral process for getting help for the student will be addressed. Reference materials include a list of resources for both teachers and parents who would like more help or information about ADD or ADHD. [ 3 credits ] NOTE: This course includes a final case study paper in addition to the assignments in the syllabus. [ 3 months ]
  • Understanding Aggression: SPE-533 (3 credits)

    A self-paced or online course, designed to give you an understanding of the framework or an need for creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. This course includes topics on violence, aggression in the classroom, youth gangs, aggression in sports and on television, how drugs and alcohol play a role in aggression and violence, and "hot spots" that tend to breed aggression and violence. It is designed to help school personnel become more aware of the causes of aggression and ways to evaluate it and intervene before it turns to violence in the schools. The course also discusses aggression in our communities through driving, dating, sports, television, and music, and how these issues are dealt with in modern society. [ 3 credits ]
  • Assessment of Special Needs Populations II: SPE-545 (3 credits)

    Addresses current issues and trends in assessment, and explores formal, informal, and innovative means of assessing student needs and achievement. Issues related to testing exemptions and accommodations will also be addressed. Designed for students with experience in special education. Prerequisite: Prior experience in special needs testing. [ 3 credits ]

Curriculum

Required Courses

EDU 543 - Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Educational Research (3)
EDU 556 - Technology for Instruction and Management (3)
EDU 557 - Leadership Seminar I (3)
EDU 560 - Legal Issues for Teachers and Administrators (3)
EDU 567 - Learning Theory and Practice (3)
EDU 569 - Supervision: Empowering Teachers (3)
SPE 518 - Behavior Is Language (3)

Total Credits: 21 (36 with Track Courses)

Administration & Supervision Track

EDU 563 - Curriculum Development (3)
EDU 688 - Practicum: School Administration & Supervision I (3)
EDU 690 - Practicum: School Administration & Supervision II (3)
SPE 531 - Autism and Asperger’s Disorder (3)
SPE 533 - Understanding Aggression (3)

Total Credits: 15

Exceptionalities Track

Select five of the following:

EDON 511 - Harassment, Bullying & Cyber Intimidation (3)
EDON 526 - Violence in the School (3)
EDON 525 - Traumatized Child (3)
EDON 530 - Differentiated Instruction (3)
SPE 530 - Attention Deficit Disorder (3)
SPE 533 - Understanding Aggression (3)
SPE 531 - Autism and Asperger’s Disorder (3)

Total Credits: 15

What to Expect Studying at Notre Dame of Maryland University

With award-winning teacher certification programs nationally recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, you can expect to benefit from small class sizes, expert faculty, and practical field experiences.

Flexible Class Schedules

Work with an advisor to develop a personalized program plan: 

  • Courses offered in the evenings at times convenient for working adults.
  • Occasional courses available on Saturdays or online.

Education Careers

Notre Dame is one of the state’s largest and most significant private providers of teacher education.

See Our Award-Winning Teachers

The knowledge, skills and competencies developed in the Master of Leadership in Special Education program prepares educators for leadership roles at the classroom, school and district level.

Career Opportunities

  • Mentor
  • Master Teacher
  • Instructional Support Teacher
  • Department Head
  • Specialist
  • Principal