BETHANY, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved Bethany College’s revised, proposed PreK-K, K-6 and 5-Adult Multicategorical Special Education with Autism Program in Dec. 2015. This approval ranks Bethany as the only college in the state of West Virginia to offer the PreK-K, K-6 and 5-Adult for Multi-Categorical Special Education with Autism Program.

Prior to the acceptance of the PreK-K endorsement and revision of the other programs, specific courses had to be revised to infuse a richer montage of content specific to autism, as well as integrating multi-categorical content. Since the PreK-K is a new licensure band, three additional courses in PreK methods, reading and family involvement had to be added to the curriculum. These additions allowed the Educator Preparation Program Review Board (EPPRB) from the WVBE to accept the revised programs as proposed.

In particular, the new PreK-K endorsement requires prospective students to complete five courses (14 credit hours), including a six-week clinical student teaching placement in a classroom housing children with autism. In addition to the content specific coursework, prospective students will complete 300 hours of field or clinical placements in classrooms with children having autism. The program revisions and addition of the PreK-K endorsement will help to fill the vacant teaching positions in the state of West Virginia.

Dr. Sherri Theaker, chair of the education department, is excited with the Board’s recent approval. “The PreK-K endorsement is the only one of its kind in the state,” said Theaker. “Not only are we educating students with a liberal arts background and content preparation, we are also submerging students into first-hand field experience to grasp further understanding of children with autism.”

Upon transcript review, practicing licensed teachers may complete the PreK-K endorsement with as few as five courses. Such candidates will be admitted to Bethany College as non-degree seeking students and may choose to receive undergraduate or graduate credit for all completed coursework.

For more information about the new PreK-K endorsement, as well as other education programs at Bethany College, please contact the Education Department at 304.829.7182.

About Bethany College

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.