The Classroom Academy Program

Classroom Academy Logo in the shape of an apple with red bands around it

The Classroom Academy residency model is a pathway option within our existing 3-year MAT program. After the first year of the program, Classroom Academy Residents are fully integrated into a host school for year 2 and 3. MAT students will teach alongside a Critic Teacher, under a gradual release of responsibility model. Over 2 years, the Resident will gradually take over the responsibilities of the teacher, including following curriculum, lesson planning, and classroom leadership. Residents will have the support and guidance of their Critic Teacher, Field Supervisor and course instructors over 2 years while working in their placement.

Residents are eligible for a living stipend through the Classroom Academy P-12 partners of $22,000 per year. In addition, students are welcome to apply for a Federal Works Study grant, which would be applied during the period of time the student is acting as the teacher in their residency placement. Completion of this program will give each Resident 1 year to count towards their professional certification.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Adolescent Special Education

Empire State University's Master of Arts in Teaching in Adolescent Special Education program is a 45-credit, innovative, clinically rich, approved teacher education program consisting of multiple tracks designed to meet the diverse needs and experiences of our students. The fully accredited program is designed for both career changers and recent college graduates seeking 7-12 NYS Initial certification.

The program’s philosophy and subsequent courses are based on an inclusive model that prepares teacher candidates for collaboration and co-teaching in the inclusion classroom. The MAT in Special Education program’s goal is twofold:

  1. to produce caring and highly specialized teachers who have the ability to meet the challenges in today’s inclusion classrooms; and
  2. to produce teacher candidates who facilitate the growth of their students by empowering students to actively participate in their learning and reach their highest potential.

Particular attention will be given to instructional design for the inclusive and co-teaching classrooms; special education identification and assessment practices; classroom management and behavioral interventions; foundations of research with an emphasis on action research; and applied behavioral analysis for severe stereotypic behavior.

Note:  The MAT in Special Education program is appropriate for individuals pursuing their first Initial teacher certification in New York State. Those already holding Initial certification may wish to consider the M.Ed. in Special Education.

Using blended approaches of online, face-to-face and video conferencing, the MAT in Special Education program is able to serve students in Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs and Syracuse.  Completion of the MAT in Special Education program (and passing the appropriate certification exams) leads to Students with Disabilities 7-12 Generalist Initial and Professional certification.

All MAT in Special Education program tracks feature extensive mentoring by program faculty, attention to the Common Core Learning Standards and other contemporary issues in NYS education, a clinical orientation including extensive immersion in NYS schools and the affordable, flexible approach central to SUNY Empire's history and mission. Whether you are a current special education teacher in a small, rural independent school, a teaching assistant in a large, urban district, or a mid-career professional looking to pursue a new career in teaching special education, the MAT program can help you reach your goal of becoming a certified special education classroom teacher.

For detailed information on the MAT in Special Education program pathways, please follow the links below:

Each pathway is 45 credits, leads to Initial and Professional certification and is designed to be completed in two to three years of part-time study.

Important Information Regarding Prior Criminal History

State University of New York (SUNY) policy prohibits SUNY Empire admission applications from inquiring into an applicant’s prior criminal history. After acceptance, the university shall inquire if the student previously has been convicted of a felony if such individual seeks campus housing or participation in clinical or field experiences, internships or study abroad programs. The information required to be disclosed under SUNY policy regarding such felony convictions shall be reviewed by a standing campus committee consistent with the legal standards articulated in New York State Corrections Law.

Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs (e.g. teacher certification programs) and/or to meet licensure/certification requirements for certain professions (e.g. K-12 teaching). Students who have concerns about such matters are advised to contact the dean's office of their intended academic program.