B.S.Ed. in Early Childhood-Special Education, Urban Track

  • The Urban Track within the Department of Professional Studies in Education prepares students for teaching in urban school districts, especially in low-income communities with high minority enrollments where the need for highly qualified teachers is often great.

    Coursework and field experiences emphasize the historical, economic, political, and sociocultural contexts of urban schools and seek to develop within future teachers the skills, knowledge base, and sensitivities for working with students whose backgrounds and life experiences often differ in significant ways from their own.

    For more information on the Urban Track, contact Dr. Monte Tidwell at 724-357-2651 or mtidwell@iup.edu.

    Why is a focus on urban education important?

    • To help meet the needs of urban students who often face challenges that differ from those faced by learners in suburban and rural schools.
    • Because all of our pre-service teachers need positive, structured experiences with diverse groups of learners in a variety of settings in order to prepare them for a rapidly diversifying society.
    • Because the vast majority of good jobs for highly qualified teachers are in urban areas.

    In recent years, the Department of Professional Studies in Education has been strengthening its programs and presence in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia due to the critical need for high-quality teachers in urban schools. Because of these programs, more of our future teachers are showing an interest in urban teaching and more are finding meaningful and rewarding employment in city schools. The department has made modifications in existing courses and field experiences in order to provide students in the urban track with the requisite knowledge, attitudes, and skills for addressing the educational challenges that are often unique to urban settings. The department has also been expanding opportunities for summer internships and tutoring work in partnership with particular city schools, most notably our Professional Development School (PDS) partners in Pittsburgh.

    There are two routes by which an Urban Track designation can be obtained. Track A would require students to undertake their initial set of education courses (known as Professional Sequence I) during the second semester of their sophomore year as part of a designated Urban Track Cohort. A course, Orientation to Teaching in Urban Centers (FDED 440), is added to this blocked set of courses that comprise the Professional Sequence I and is taught by a faculty member with experience in urban schools. Students who choose Track A will also be required to take an additional summer course, Field Experiences in Urban Centers (FDED 441). They will also be required to do their student teaching in an urban school.

    The Track B route for obtaining an Urban Track designation is for those students who opt to participate in the Professional Development School (PDS) year-long field experience (called the Professional Year), which encompasses their entire senior year and entails taking a modified version of their Professional Sequence II on-site at a PDS partner school during the first semester of the Professional Year. The second semester on-site corresponds to the student teaching semester in our traditional program. Note: These students are required to participate in Professional Sequence I as a member of the Urban Track Cohort and are required to take the FDED 440 and the FDED 441 courses.

    Those students who are unable to participate in the Professional Sequence I during their Semester 4 (e.g., honors students who must take a required core course during that semester, students who did not complete all requirements for Teacher Certification, etc.) can still take Professional Sequence I in Semester 5 and still be eligible for full participation in Track A or B.