Inclusiveness is at the heart of our education mission. This means learning to teach in a way that includes and builds on the cultural, linguistic, and individual skills of all children, with an emphasis on their learning strengths. Our Teaching and Learning department received a grant of $1.5 million from the United States Department of Education’s Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP) to restructure our program to prepare teachers for dual certification in general and exceptional student education, and the resulting program is called Project INCLUDE: Inclusive, Collaborative, Leaders United for Diversity in Education. Through Project INCLUDE, we have created the Elementary/Exceptional Student Education/ Reading and ESOL Endorsement program.
The Elementary/Exceptional Student Education major leads to eligibility for State of Florida certification in both Elementary (K-6) and Exceptional Student Education (K-12). This program offers students the opportunity to earn two certifications and two endorsements – a combination that is rarely available in an undergraduate teacher-preparation program! The first of its kind in Florida, this program is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in teaching at the elementary level and/or in special education at the elementary or secondary level. This major also leads to eligibility for endorsements in Reading and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), making our graduates well-qualified to meet the educational needs of diverse learners, and therefore highly sought-after for job opportunities upon graduation.
A major in education consists of a traditional four-year program. Field experiences and student teaching placements in a wide variety of schools make University of Miami students among the best-prepared teachers anywhere. Students are placed primarily in the Miami-Dade County Public School (M-DCPS) district. This school district, the fourth-largest in the nation, serves a diverse student body consisting of children whose families speak over 100 different home languages, thus providing a rich environment for UM students to engage in practical teaching experiences under the guidance of mentor teachers in the district. Five M-DCPS schools have been selected as UM Professional Development School sites, and these schools provide the ideal setting for a dynamic collaboration that transforms educational theory into practice.