What you need to know to plan your participation in the Transition Specialist Endorsement Program.
Lesley’s Transition Specialist Endorsement program is founded on the belief that all persons have a right to a purposeful life that leads to personal fulfillment. The program is dedicated to empowering persons with disabilities to live self-directed lives in inclusive environments. To that end, its mission is to prepare professionals to educate, advocate, and to serve as agents of change, based upon the following core values:
A state endorsement is evidence and recognition by the Massachusetts
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of advanced
training and experience. In March 2012, the Massachusetts Legislature passed and the governor signed into a law An Act Relative to Student with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Education, Employment, and Independent Living, which directed DESE to establish a specialist teacher endorsement in transition services. Our endorsement program is built upon DESE regulations, competencies, and guidelines, and has received approval by DESE.
As of November 2013, DESE considers the endorsement an optional form of recognition. Though there is as yet no requirement that all individuals employed to provide transition services must seek and obtain such an endorsement, DESE notes that “school districts have authority to establish additional requirements (beyond the licensure requirements) for their employees and they may choose to require candidates to hold or be eligible for such an endorsement.”
The advanced training entailed in earning the endorsement prepares professionals to shepherd youth with disabilities, their families, their schools, and relevant community agencies through the entire transition process. Endorsed Transition Specialists have the knowledge and skills to effectively lead and manage the assessment, planning and service delivery mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). This makes them more marketable professionally, as they are correctly perceived as more highly qualified in transition by school districts. Should the rules change and an endorsement be required in the future, it will be advantageous to have already earned this credential. Moreover, the credits earned toward the TSE satisfy the requirements for Professional licensure in Moderate Disabilities (5-12).
Individuals who hold Initial or Professional Massachusetts license, and two years’ experience working under that license, in one of the following fields:
Candidates who do not yet have the required years of experience may choose to apply to enroll in the program with the understanding that their eligibility for endorsement from DESE will be pending until they have worked under their license for two years.
The program is rigorous and
demanding, designed to prepare professionals to take a leadership role
in the transition planning and service delivery process. Beyond the
coursework, the 150 hours of field experiences require intense
commitment and engagement. Consideration of applications made by individuals who do not
meet the eligibility requirements for the official endorsement, but who
are prepared to commit to the full program, will be made
on an individual basis.
Beyond completion of the endorsement coursework and two years of experience working under their license, candidates must also complete 150 hours of field experiences providing transition services for transition-aged students with disabilities with IEPs in collaboration with their families, community members, and other relevant professionals. At Lesley, this requirement is met through three 1-credit field experience courses.
The program is offered in the cohort model, which consists of a group of students who travel through a program together. This model builds community, capacity, and continuity. The cohort model calls for a commitment to take courses as scheduled. While we expect this commitment from our candidates, it is understood that unexpected emergencies sometimes arise and that adaptations/exceptions may at times need to be made based upon individual circumstances and needs.
The field experiences are divided into three 50-hour segments, each earning one credit, that have been sequenced in the program to reinforce material covered in the content courses. The courses assign a series of school- and community-based activities designed to meet the transition specialist competencies. With approval of the instructor, candidates who are currently working in an appropriate school or agency may use their own workplace to complete some relevant assignments. Assistance is provided, as needed, to find suitable sites for assignments that cannot be completed at the candidate’s workplace.
Field experiences are supervised online. Candidates maintain and electronically submit a log of hours devoted to each task, and their work is verified by an on-site cooperating professional. The Lesley faculty member overseeing the courses reviews the log and final products (e.g., assessment report, case study). A minimum of three Skype cohort meetings per semester provide an opportunity for sharing; however, since candidates are engaged in content courses concurrently with their field experience courses, they have ample opportunity to communicate face to face and discuss observations and lessons learned within varied transition-focused environments.
Yes. Candidates are encouraged to apply through our Financial Aid Office. Please call 800.999.1959, ext. 8760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Private loans and payment plans are also available. Tuition is paid per semester. Payment plans are available via the Student Accounts Office.
Applicants must submit the following:
A personal interview is required of all candidates.
Candidates may be able to waive program courses and transfer in credits earned prior to attending Lesley. The waiver/transfer process requires submission of the course syllabus, course description, and official transcript to the academic advisor. Consideration will be made based upon the course’s ability to meet Lesley’s program objectives, outcomes, and transition specialist competencies. Once admitted to the program, candidates may not take courses at other institutions for transfer credit.
Please contact Christina Chandler, Director of Academic Advising, at email@example.com or 617.349.8398, or program director Linda Lengyel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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