Preparing Early Childhood Special Educators in Appalachian Kentucky
National shortages of qualified personnel in the field of early childhood special education are well documented, with shortages magnified in regions characterized by poverty and rural geography. This article provides an overview of the challenges faced and innovations implemented by an alternate track, personnel preparation program in Appalachian Kentucky attempting to (a) address the chronic shortage of highly-qualified early childhood personnel and (b) meet the needs of nontraditional students dispersed across a rural region where accessibility to traditional programs limits participation and enrollment. Strategies implemented to overcome obstacles common to rural teacher preparation include flexibility in course delivery methods (on-line, face-to-face, hybrid, and weekend workshops) and practicum placement.
Rural Special Education Quarterly, Volume 32, No. 1, pages 46-55.