Special Education Online Program

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve already discovered that personal drive to educate. Becoming a certified special education teacher will allow you to have a greater impact in on children with exceptionalities than you do now as a   special education teacher’s assistant. Check out some of our most Frequently Asked Questions and contact us if we can help you further.

WHERE DO I COMPLETE MY STUDENT TEACHING?

Student teaching is divided into 2 sections, upper and lower grade. The first section will be completed in the  special education classroom where you work. The second section will be completed at your same school, but in an upper or lower grade depending on what grade you teach.  

I NEED SOME FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. WHERE DO I START?

Click here for more information: http://www.usm.edu/financialaid/

TEACH Grant

The U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program provides grant funds to postsecondary students who are completing or planning to complete coursework that is needed to begin a career in teaching, and who agree to serve for at least four years as a full-time, highly qualified teacher in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students. Eligible full-time students may receive $4,000 per year in TEACH Grant funds, up to a maximum of $16,000 for undergraduates and post-baccalaureate study, and $8,000 for graduate study.
The first TEACH Grants will be awarded to eligible students at Southern Miss for spring 2009.  The TEACH award amount is prorated based on the number of hours taken.

TEACH semester award amounts based on hours

Semester Award Amounts

Undergraduate Semester Hrs

Graduate Semester Hrs

$ 2,000

>= 12

>= 9

$ 1,000

6 to 11

4 to 8

$ 500

< 6

< 4

Eligibility requirements:

  • Within eight years of finishing your teacher preparation program, you must serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field for at least four years in designated schools that serve low-income students.

High-Need Fields:

  • foreign language
  • mathematics
  • reading specialist
  • science
  • special education
  • You must establish and maintain a 3.25 Southern Miss cumulative grade point average.
  • You will be required to complete online counseling through the financial aid office each year that you accept a TEACH Grant. You will also be required to attend exit counseling when you graduate or leave school.
  • Each year that you receive a TEACH grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS).  If you receive the TEACH Grant but do not fulfill the requirements of the program, your grant will convert to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan, which you will have to repay with interest calculated back to the date the funds were disbursed.  Once it converts to a loan it can never go back to a grant.

To apply for the TEACH Grant, go to the Southern Miss Financial Aid website (www.usm.edu/financialaid) and click on TEACH Grant.  Follow the steps on the website.

CAN I TAKE COURSES WHILE I AM STUDENT TEACHING?

No. Student teaching requires your full attention so all coursework must be completed before you begin your student teaching experience.

WHAT IS THE STUDENT TEACHING PACKET?

The student teaching packet includes forms that you fill out showing all your coursework, endorsement areas, and educational philosophy. You must fill this out the semester before you plan to student teach: in the spring for fall student teaching, in the fall for spring student teaching. Your senior block instructors will assist you in this process.

WHEN IS THE GRADUATION APPLICATION DUE?

The graduation application must be filled out the semester before you intend to graduate: spring for fall graduation, fall for spring graduation. Your senior block instructors will help you with this process.

Does it matter what type of Special Education classroom I’m working in?

 It does not matter as long as you are working full time as a special education teacher’s assistant.

When I finish what am I qualified to teach?

Any Special Education Classroom K-12 with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (any other endorsements are up to you to seek).

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