A young student with learning disorders works with her teacher.

All About Georgetown College’s LBD Certification for Initial Certification Program

What does the LBD Certification for Initial Certification Program encompass?

As a former K-12 teacher of students with learning disabilities, I am proud to teach in the M.A.Ed. LBD for Initial Certification at Georgetown College. This program is for candidates who wish to teach students with learning and behavior disorders — those K-12 students who have mild to moderate learning disabilities. This program is offered to candidates with bachelor’s degrees but do not have teaching licenses in this area.

In our program, our teacher candidates will study various strategies and topics that will prepare them to address the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs of K-12 students with learning disabilities.

LBD students include:

  • Students who are learning disabled
  • Gifted and talented students
  • Students with speech and language problems
  • Intellectually disabled students
  • Students that are emotional-behavioral disordered
  • Autistic students
  • Students with orthopedic and other health impairments
  • Multi-handicapped students
  • Deaf or blind students

There are two tracks: Traditional Initial Certification and the Alternative Certification. When special education teachers are in high demand in school districts, some districts will hire candidates under a temporary provisional certification as long as they have a bachelor’s degree and are enrolled in an alternative LBD certification program.

All classes are taught online during the week. Our faculty uses the Canvas platform to create courses that incorporate readings, videos, PowerPoints, discussion posts, assignments, and Zoom sessions to deliver content and encourage teacher candidate participation.

Course overviews:

Candidates take a Typical and Atypical Development course to study the normal growth and development of humans, the research in physical, social, and emotional development, and a foundation in learning and behavior theories.

In our Educational Evaluation class, candidates are taught the principles of testing and measurement, formative and summative assessment, and how to use the data obtained from assessment to enhance instruction. Candidates work on the goals and objectives of creating an Individual Education Program (IEP), which is the core document of an LBD student’s learning.

Our Educational Programming course addresses the importance of creating and writing a comprehensive lesson plan and unit plan. For LBD students to be successful, the teacher must implement a wide array of differentiation strategies along with specially designed instruction of the course content. A special education teacher must collaborate with other educational professionals to deliver successful instruction for an LBD student.

In our course on Collaboration and Advocacy, candidates explore how to work with other school professionals such as the general education teacher, the school counselor, physical therapist, speech pathologist, even the teacher assistant, bus driver, etc., if needed. We must strive to make our LBD students successful in transitioning to becoming an independent adult capable of contributing to society.

We have a course wholly devoted to the current trends and diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It addresses the unique challenges to learning needs across the spectrum, including language, social behaviors, theory of mind, and sensory processing. There are specific academic content courses in reading, math, and technology.

In our three field experiences, candidates will have a mentored classroom teaching experience with an assigned faculty observer. In these courses, candidates will develop and teach lesson plans to K-12 students using effective strategies. This experience will strengthen their professional and personal skills as they interact with students in the real classroom.

What differentiates Georgetown College’s LBD Certification for Initial Certification Program from other schools that offer similar programs?

As a former LBD teacher, I know our candidates graduate from this program equipped with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to make them successful teachers in the classroom.

In all our LBD classes, teacher candidates learn how to use the 22 High Leverage teaching practices. These cutting-edge practices were developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and the CEEDAR Center to improve instruction for special education students. The Special Education program at Georgetown College received a grant in 2018 to implement these practices in their special education programs.

In addition to completing their coursework, our LBD teacher candidates must also pass the Praxis test #5543 for Special Education: Core Knowledge- Mild to Moderate Application. Our teacher candidates have had a high pass rate over the years which is a testimony to our comprehensive LBD program.

How will this program help educators during this time of COVID and post-COVID teaching? How will it better prepare them for today’s education challenges?

The COVID-19 pandemic brought more challenges to teaching. The Graduate Education Program at Georgetown College did not suffer any disruption due to the courses being taught online. Our professors were prepared for the challenges our teacher candidates faced having to shift all their instruction in K-12 schools to online learning. We were understanding, helpful, and guided the candidates to brainstorm the alternative instruction they faced. Now that we have experienced the pandemic, we are ready for any challenge.

What career opportunities are available to students who graduate from the program? 

There is a great demand for special education teachers right now. We get calls and emails all the time from school districts looking for LBD teachers. This should encourage our candidates.

Why should a prospective student choose this program? Why should they choose Georgetown College?

We invite you to check out our Initial M.A.Ed. LBD for Initial Certification program. You will receive personalized attention from professors and staff who genuinely care about your success. If you are looking to be successful in a rewarding career, are compassionate and caring, and want to help K-12 students, this could be for you. We want to help you succeed; join us at Georgetown College!