Minneapolis—September 24, 2007— Walden University, a regionally accredited online institution based in Minneapolis, is one of the nation’s largest providers of graduate degrees to K-12 teachers. Through approval from the Minnesota Board of Teaching, Walden now offers teacher licensure programs in two of the most vital areas of teacher shortage: Early Childhood Education (Birth–Grade 3) and Special Education (K–12) in the area of learning disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders.

In January 2008, Walden will launch these online teacher preparation programs in a practical and accelerated format for students with a bachelor’s degree and a desire to provide strong foundations in the learning lives of today’s children and youths. These programs allow working professionals to prepare for a career change while continuing to work full time.

Walden University’s teacher preparation programs will provide two paths that students can take: a post-baccalaureate program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree or post-baccalaureate program alone. At the successful completion of either pathway, candidates can look forward to beginning a career in private or public education. These programs have been approved in the state of Minnesota to meet the educational requirements for licensure, and Walden’s enrollment advisors can provide information to individuals from other states on how to obtain licensure in their home state.

“Walden University’s accelerated teacher preparation programs represent a national response to the urgent need for highly qualified early childhood and special education professionals,” said Susan Saxton, PhD, acting dean of the university’s College of Education. “These innovative, targeted programs are consistent with our long-term mission of social change and will provide individuals with bachelor’s degrees in any academic area the opportunity to become a career educator in one of these essential P through 12 fields.”

By offering these new post-baccalaureate programs, Walden University is responding to the growing need for additional skilled early childhood and special education teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2014, the need for preschool teachers is projected to grow by 33 percent, kindergarten teachers by 22 percent, and elementary teachers by 18 percent. In addition, as more and more states begin to require licensure, it is imperative that individuals working in an early childhood setting be provided with a convenient way to earn certification. These new programs also provide other professionals seeking to change careers and transition into teaching the opportunity to pursue licensure.

An even greater need is projected in the field of special education. According to the BLS, a shortage of 200,000 special education teachers is predicted over the next five years. In addition, 98 percent of school districts report a growing shortage, triggering creative approaches to recruit, train, and retain special education teachers. Consistent with its mission, Walden will remain in the forefront in addressing the growing challenges facing students and families throughout the nation.

Following are the three program areas available to choose from:

Post-Baccalaureate Program in Early Childhood Education (Birth–Grade 3)
This program offers a research-based understanding of why focusing on their early development is essential for young children to thrive. Included in the program are developmentally appropriate strategies from infancy through a child’s primary school years, demonstrating the impact an accomplished and caring adult can forever have on a child’s future. The program embraces the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the International Reading Association (IRA).

Post-Baccalaureate Program in Special Education, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (K–12)
Because students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders have many characteristics that hinder their academic growth, this special education program focuses on how to help them become successful. Both in terms of policy and intervention, candidates gain in-depth knowledge of appropriate ways of responding to students with emotional/behavioral disorders and preventing serious classroom issues that undermine the learning of all. The program incorporates the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.

Post-Baccalaureate Program in Special Education, Learning Disabilities (K–12)
A learning disability is a neurological condition interfering with an individual’s ability to store, process, or produce information. It can affect a child’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, reason, and it can also affect attention, memory, coordination, social skills, and emotional maturity. This program focuses on unique practices and teaching strategies proved to be effective with learning disabled children and youths.and is aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.

For more information on Walden’s teacher preparation programs, go to www.WaldenU.edu/teacherprep or call 866-492-5336.

About Walden University
Since 1970, Walden University has offered working professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Today, this comprehensive, accredited online university offers master’s and doctoral degrees in education, psychology, management, public policy and administration, and health and human services, as well as master’s programs in engineering and information technology and a bachelor’s completion program in business. Walden University is a member of the Laureate International Universities network, the largest global network of accredited campus-based and online universities. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.hlcommission.org; 312-263-0456.

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