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First Severe Special Needs Bachelor’s Degree Program in Western MA Announced at Bay Path University

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Longmeadow, MA—Bay Path University has announced the launch of a new Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies: Severe Special Needs (PreK-12), Initial Licensure, now enrolling for Spring 2019. Graduates of this program will be eligible for an educator’s license in the state of Massachusetts teaching students who have severe special needs (PreK-12). Bay Path University is the only undergraduate teacher preparation program in the Western Massachusetts area offering a focus on severe special needs.  

“The national teacher shortage area list has identified a high need for educators who are qualified to teach students with severe special needs,” Associate Professor of Education,  
Chair of Education Programs, and Director of Teacher Licensure, Dr. Ellen Rustico, said. “With more than 17 percent of school-aged children in the state of Massachusetts eligible to receive special education services, and at higher rates than students across the country in the categories of Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Multiple Disabilities, and Developmental Delay, there is a strong need for teachers of students with severe disabilities.”

The licensure program in Severe Special Needs empowers undergraduate women to become leaders in education at all career stages while preparing teacher candidates to work in a constantly changing world. This initial licensure program seeks to provide teacher candidates with the skills, knowledge, and creativity needed for success in the classroom, community, and organizations. The specializations, certifications, and licensure provide depth in a particular area of educational practice, policy, curriculum, and state-of-the-art inclusionary best practices.

The Severe Special Needs license qualifies for reciprocity with states that participate in the Interstate Agreement and endorse similar licensure. This allows Bay Path University education graduates to teach in states other than Massachusetts, pending meeting specific requirements of the state. Those interested in learning more about this program can attend a free open house on December 2, 2018, 11 am-3 pm, on the University’s Longmeadow Campus, or visit

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About Bay Path University

Bay Path University was founded in 1897. With locations in Longmeadow (main), East Longmeadow (Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center), Springfield (MA), Sturbridge (MA), and Concord (MA), Bay Path’s innovative program offerings include traditional undergraduate degrees for women, The American Women's College on-ground and online, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country; over 30 graduate programs for women and men; and Strategic Alliances, offering professional development courses for individuals and organizations.  Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.