April 21, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Tuition-Free Prerequisite Course for a Provisional (Special Education) License Offered Online by Radford University – 100 Slots Available Statewide – Applications Due May 3, 2017

To address the critical shortages of teachers in special education, the Virginia Department of Education has awarded a grant to Radford University to offer, tuition free, the course, EDSP651-Diverse Learners and the Special Education Processes, to 100 individuals recommended by Virginia division superintendents or designees.  This summer, course work for individuals interested in employment for the 2017-2018 school year will be taught as a compressed, five-week online course for two summer sessions, Summer I (5/14-6/16) or Summer II (6/25-7/28). 

Among other requirements set forth in the Licensure Regulations for School PersonnelThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website and state statute, individuals seeking a Provisional (Special Education) License with an endorsement in special education must complete a prerequisite course that includes “foundations for educating students with disabilities and an understanding and application of the legal aspects and regulatory requirements associated with identification, education, and evaluation of students with disabilities.”  The Radford University course will meet this course requirement. 

The cost of applying to Radford University as a non-degree seeking student and the tuition for the course will be covered under the grant.  The only cost to participants will be the purchase of one $35 textbook.

Applicants should apply by May 3.  Space is limited to 100 participants, and each region will have approximately 12 slots with no more than two applicants from any one school divisions on a first-come, first served basis.  After May 3, any slots remaining will be awarded with geographic and division distribution consideration.  Applicants eligible to apply, interested applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university, must not currently be employed or previously been employed under a provisional license in special education, and must be recommended by a school division superintendent or designee who has hired or is considering employing as a special educator in the 2017-2018 school year. 

Applicants must submit the following forms:

  1. School Division Superintendent (or Designee) Recommendation Form.  This form should be submitted to Radford University by e-mail at ruspecialed@radford.edu, by fax to (540) 831-5124, or by mail to Special Education Grant, P.O. Box 6959, Radford University, Radford, Virginia 24142; and

  2. Online Interest Form.  The Online Interest Form must be completed online at http://goo.gl/h0AC4WThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website

Selected applicants will be notified by Radford University.  Additional assistance will be provided by Radford staff to complete the registration process. 

For information about the course, please contact Dr. Liz Altieri, Coordinator, Graduate Programs in Special Education, Radford University at ealtieri@radford.edu or (540) 831-5590.  You also may contact Dr. Debora Bays, Program Area Leader, Special Education, Radford University, at dbays@radford.edu or (540) 831-5190.  Please contact Ms. Johnelle Torbert, Special Education Human Resources Development Specialist, Department of Education, at Johnelle.Torbert@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 371-2475 if you have questions about this grant opportunity.



  1. School Division Superintendent (or Designee) Recommendation Form (PDF)