Project IMPRESS - Intermediate Unit/School District Responsibilities
The shortage of qualified speech-language pathologists in the public school setting is a national concern. As a result, school districts must resort to hiring less-than-qualified personnel (bachelor’s level) under emergency certificates.
Seventy-nine percent of school administrators identify a “shortage of qualified applicants” as a moderate to great recruiting barrier of speech language pathologists (CPSSE, 2004).
Bloomsburg University is attempting to respond to the crisis through Project IMPRESS. The primary purpose of the degree program is to provide participants with a M.Ed. in School-Based Speech-Language Pathology thus qualifying them for Pennsylvania teacher certification in speech-language impaired.
Speech-language pathology is a clinically driven degree program. In order to fulfill required field-based practical experiences, partnerships must be established with interested education agencies (i.e. Intermediate Units and school districts).
All course work is offered utilizing a dis- tance learning model. Course content is disseminated via an online learning management system and live, virtual class- rooms by BU faculty members. Students are expected to have access to the computer hardware and software required to participate. Specific technology requirements are available on the program’s website.
In addition to course work, students complete 5 practical experiences and one student teaching experience. Each practical experience focuses on a different dis- order group and is supervised by a mas- ter-level, CCC clinician. The practical experiences may require students to re- quest leave time from their current work responsibilities. For example, one hour a week leave to work with children with autism. Practical experiences also are completed during the summer. A clinical supervisor will coordinate the practical experiences with the student. The student teaching experience is completed with the student’s caseload at their work setting.