Master of Education
Exceptional Student Education
Raise your profile with the School of Education & Social Science's online M.Ed. with a concentration in exceptional student education.
The program is designed for general educators who wish to increase their understanding and experience in special education to expand areas of certification.
Classrooms are made of diverse learners. As a K-12 teacher, your goal is to help all students overcome learning barriers and realize their full potential. With Saint Leo’s Exceptional Student Education program, you’ll learn how to effectively work with special needs students.
Coursework is offered through a hybrid format, with classes offered fully online, and expectations for field work assignments to be completed in your own school setting.
Saint Leo offers three M.Ed. exceptional student education tracks:
- Track A:
This is a Florida State-approved program for those students who wish to become a teacher or whom are already a teacher leading to certification eligibility in the State of Florida in Exceptional Student Education (K12) with Reading and ESOL endorsements. This track is for those students who want to increase their knowledge in the area of special education.
- Track B:
This is a Florida state-approved program for those students who are already a teacher with a Florida Professional teaching certificate, and Reading and ESOL Endorsements who want to increase their knowledge in the area of special education and seeking certification eligibility in the State of Florida in Exceptional Student Education (K12).
- Track C:
This is a non state-approved program for those students who are already a teacher seeking to increase their knowledge in the area of special education.
Why choose Exceptional Student Education at Saint Leo?
Saint Leo University is a nationally recognized leader in education, founded in 1889 and accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Saint Leo has built a solid reputation in the educational community for our quality programs that produce tomorrow's master teachers and educational leaders.
A commitment to a set of core values is the cornerstone of Saint Leo University. Our mission is to offer a practical, effective model for life and leadership in a challenging world. It is a model designed with working adults in mind offering highly personalized attention, flexible learning opportunities, and a solid foundation for personal fulfillment and career advancement.
Our instructors are current practitioners in the field of school administration, and regular presenters at national and international conferences. The Exceptional Student Education concentration consists of a coherent set of courses that are sequenced to assist you in mastering:
- Etiology, theory and intervention for students with specific learning disabilities and emotional disturbance, and students who are cognitively impaired, developmentally delayed and/or physically impaired
- Curriculum development theory, research and policy
- Curricular needs of English language learners (ELLs) in the K-12 classroom
- Testing and measurement theory
- Collaborative and consultative models
- Law, ethics, placement and diversity
- Instructional design for ESE
- Applied linguistics and cross-cultural communication
- Behavior management, with a focus on positive behavioral support
Flexibility for the working professional
Exceptional Student Education courses are offered fully online. To enhance the learning experience and meet requirements set by the Department of Education, a practicum and field experiences are required to complete the program. Since most courses require fieldwork, you can start applying what you learn in the classroom immediately in a K-12 school. If you are not currently teaching in a K-12 setting, you are encouraged to volunteer once a week in a classroom. Most students complete the degree within two years.
Contact your Graduate Admissions Counselor for more information on fitting a Master’s degree program into your life.
Professional development opportunities
- Florida Certification: The sequence of coursework allows you to master the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices, the Florida Professional Education Competencies and Skills for Certification, the ESOL Performance Standards and Competencies and Skills, the Reading Endorsement Competencies, and the Florida Exceptional Student Education Standards.
- Field experience: In a supervised practicum that you arrange, you’ll complete an action research project in a K-12 classroom to improve outcomes for students with exceptionality.
- 21st century classroom: Discover how to enhance learning with technologies such as iPads, the MimioVote™ assessment system and interactive SMART Boards.
- Co-curricular activities: Participate in the Future Teachers Association and join Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society for Educators.
What can you do with a degree in Exceptional Student Education?
- K-12 Exceptional Student Education Teacher
- K-12 School Teacher
- Department Chair
- Organizational Leader
- Higher Education Instructor in ESE Content Area
Where are Saint Leo Education grads now?
Our students find success as certified teachers, principals and administrators in school districts throughout Florida and outside of the state, thanks to interstate agreements the Florida Department of Education negotiates.
Saint Leo graduates often assume leadership positions in their schools—as team leaders and department chairs—within three to four years of employment. Graduates consistently receive "Teacher of the Year" and "Administrator of the Year" awards in their districts.
Take the next step in your career.
Apply for Saint Leo's M.Ed. Exceptional Student Education today.
Students who graduate from a Saint Leo state-approved undergraduate education program are eligible to complete the Exceptional Student Education program in one year, immediately following their bachelor’s program. For this option, apply in January of your senior year and, if admitted, begin the program in the Summer 1 term.
(Track B): Two approved electives in Graduate Education (6 credits)
(Track C): EDU 653: Collaborative in Inclusive Settings AND one approved elective in Graduate Education (6 credits)
Exceptional Student Education Core (30 credits)
- Course Name
EDU 620 Special Education: An Introduction to Law, Ethics, Placement, and Diversity 3
Laws governing special education, ethics, and diversity/overrepresentation, and federal classification categories and placement are targeted in this course. Additionally, general information regarding high- and low-incidence disabilities will be covered.
EDU 633 Theories and Methods for Mild to Moderate Populations 3
This course focuses on etiology, theory, and intervention for students with specific learning disabilities and emotional disturbance. Attention is placed on theoretical implications for the educational planning, instructional management, and delivery of educational services in K-12 settings. Field experience is required.
EDU 636 Application of Theory and Strategies for Students with Mild and Moderate Disabilities 3
Using course content, online discussions, field- based experiences and application assignments students will demonstrate knowledge of instructional interventions and accommodations for students with disabilities and ELLs through the application of differentiated research-based methods and strategies. Students will integrate reading and ESOL best practices across the course content through the implementation of instructional strategies and differentiated lessons and assignments for students with mild or moderate disabilities who may also be ELLs.
EDU 565 Literacy Assessment and Intervention 3
This course focuses on providing teachers with formal and informal assessment measures to use to determine students’ literacy levels in the secondary school. This course also provides the students with the knowledge and use of effective scientifically based intervention strategies. Field experience is required.
EDU 625 Foundations in Language and Cognition 3
This course provides the Exceptional Education Major with the investigation of the basic theories and underlying recent approaches to the teaching of reading. It includes the study of the six essential components of the reading process: oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. This course also includes how these six essential components are integrated into the K-12 students reading development to assist the students to the end goal of reading which comprehension is. Field experiences required.
EDU 640 Managing Students with Exceptionality 3
This course examines the theories of behavior management in exceptional student education, with a focus on positive behavioral support. Students learn how to apply behavior management principles in the K-12 exceptional education classroom, to collect and analyze data, and to select appropriate interventions. Field experience is required.
EDU 646 Assessment for ESE: Evaluation, Interpretation, and Placement 3
This course introduces the basic concepts of testing and measurement theory and explains the nature of assessment and evaluation. The course presents commonly used testing instruments and assessment procedures (both formal and informal and traditional and alternative assessments) used with exceptional students (K-12). Emphasis is on the selection of an appropriate comprehensive battery of tests and assessment measures, practice in administration and assessment activity, practice in scoring and interpretation for diagnosis and instruction, practice in reporting results, ability to establish a test environment, and training in ethics and requirements of fair testing, assessment, and evaluation. Field experience is required.
Prerequisites: Twelve graduate hours
EDU 656 Transition Planning for Students with Exceptionality 3
This course explores the process through which students with exceptionality make the transition from school to adult life. The stages of career development, domains of transition planning, family and community roles in transition, and transition IEPs are discussed.
Prerequisites: Twelve graduate hours
EDU 672 Instructional Design for ESE 3
The purpose of this course is to equip educators with valuable instructional strategies for working with diverse learners with exceptionalities. Methods from a broad domain of effective teaching practices will be identified, developed, and implemented in the teacher’s classroom. Teachers will collect data on students’ performance to evaluate their teaching strategies and improve their practice. This course will be offered in a 16-week format and must be taken concurrently with EDU 674 .
Prerequisites: 24 graduate hours or permission of the Director and passing scores on the FTCE and the ESE Subject Area Exam. Corequisites: EDU 674 .
EDU 674 Practicum in ESE 3
Exceptional education students are required to complete a supervised practicum in a preK12 classroom that serves the needs of students with exceptionality and who are ELLs. This practicum may be completed in an inclusive or self-contained environment. During this practicum, students are expected to complete an action research project that has been approved by the university supervisor. This project must focus on improving outcomes for students with exceptionality. In addition, the graduate student will work with several K-12 students in a classroom setting - diagnosing, prescribing, and implementing a reading plan for improvement. Students will apply ‘best practices’ in reading instruction based upon concepts and research acquired in the prerequisite courses in the Reading Program. Grade is pass or fail. This course is offered across two consecutive terms and must be taken concurrently with EDU 672.
Prerequisites: 24 graduate hours or permission of the Director and passing scores on the FTCE and the ESE Subject Area Exam. Corequisites: EDU 672.
Exceptional Student Education (Track A) (6 credits)
- Course Name
EDU 562 ESOL: Culturally Responsive Instruction and Applied Linguistics 3
This course is designed to provide pre-service teachers at the graduate level a knowledge base in the areas of Culture and Applied Linguistics to provide research-based classroom instruction to linguistically and culturally diverse English Language Learners (ELL) students in the state of Florida. Specifically the course will covers Domains 1 and 2 of the ESOL Teacher Standards 2010 in the state of Florida. The focus is on developing cross-cultural understanding and knowledge of Applied Linguistics. Learning about culturally responsive pedagogy and about the elements of language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and classroom discourse) will help candidates build the foundation of knowledge to effectively address ELLs students literacy and learning needs. This course also addresses the mandates of the Consent Decree and the theoretical underpinnings that address the relationship between first and second language acquisition and development. Field experience is required.T Field experience is required.
Prerequisites: 9 graduate credits or the permission of the Director
EDU 563 ESOL: Methodology Curriculum and Assessment 3
This course is designed to provide pre-service teachers at the graduate level a knowledge base in the areas of TESOL Methodology, Curriculum Development and Assessment to provide research-based classroom instruction and assessment to linguistically and culturally diverse English Language Learners (ELL) students in the state of Florida. Specifically the course will covers Domains 3, 4 and 5 of the ESOL Teacher Standards 2010 in the state of Florida. The focus is on developing a strong knowledge base of ESOL Research and History, Planning for Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction, Effective Use Instructional Resources and Technology, and Assessment Issues for ELL students, including language-proficiency based assessment and classroom-based assessment. Field experience is required.T Field experience is required.
Prerequisites: EDU 562 - Culturally Responsive Instruction & Applied Linguistics
Total Credits 36
- Course Name
EDU 580 ESE EDU 580 Final Internship (Track A) 3
The internship is a full-time practice teaching experience in the classroom, which is taken in one of the two final semesters under the supervision of a qualified teacher and a University supervisor. Students apply the knowledge and skills acquired in professional preparation. The program of study involves a time block coinciding with daily schedules of teachers, usually from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The course is available only to students who have applied and been approved for student teaching through the office of Graduate Studies in Education. This is a pass/fail course. This course is offered over two consecutive terms.
Prerequisites: 27-30 (depending on content specialty) hours completed in program or permission of the Director; passing score on FTCE: General Knowledge and Professional Education. Corequisites: EDU 550 .