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The Elementary Education undergraduate program at WKU leads to the Bachelor of Science degree and the Kentucky Elementary Certificate (P-5). Elementary Education is a Program Area in the School of Teacher Education in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. All teacher certification programs are accredited by Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and require completion of at least 200 hours of field experiences in appropriate off-campus settings. Teacher candidates are provided opportunities to serve as reflective decision makers in instructional settings of diverse learners in both upper and lower grade levels in elementary classrooms in the local school systems.
The School of Teacher Education offers several alternatives for graduate study in elementary education. At the Rank II level, there are the Master's of Arts in Education in Elementary Education for Teacher Leaders and the Planned 5th Year/Rank II Program in Elementary Education for Teacher Leaders. Both of these programs consist of two components: Professional Education which provides advanced level pedagogy, leadership, and content related to Kentucky Teacher Standards; and Specialization which directs the candidate into an individual program in content, pedagogy, and/or areas of professional growth concurrent with the goals of each candidate. An Action Research Project for Teacher Leaders focusing on a classroom, school, or district issue is the capstone for the completion of the programs.
A Planned Sixth-Year/Rank I program in Elementary Education that leads to the Rank I salary status for certified teachers in Kentucky is also offered. This program requires 30 semester hours in addition to the requirements for a Planned Fifth-Year program, or 60 semester hours including a master's degree. The Elementary Education Specialist Degree (EdS) is offered and is a post master's program that provides opportunity for the advanced graduate student to improve the foundations and competencies for teaching. This program may also be structured to meet Rank I salary requirements under Kentucky's minimum foundation program of education. The EdS in Elementary Education requires 30 hours beyond a master's degree. The School of Teacher Education offers the following endorsements for graduate study:
- Elementary Education Math Specialist
- Environmental Education
- English as a Second Language
- Gifted and Talented
- Instructional Computer Technology