Project DE-SPEC

Project DE-SPEC logo

Project Delaware Special Educator Certification (Project DE-SPEC) is designed to address the special education teacher shortage. Project DE-SPEC will prepare approximately 64 current practicing teachers to provide effective, culturally and linguistically responsive and equitable instruction, interventions, and services to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Using a focus on evidence-based practices and interwoven culturally responsive teaching, scholars who successfully complete the coursework in Project DE-SPEC will be eligible for K-12 special education certification through the state of Delaware. With this certification these teachers will be qualified to teach students with disabilities which will contribute to a reduction in the current special education teacher shortage in Delaware. Scholars will be given full tuition support to remove the financial burden of pursuing a certificate in special education.  

Project DE-SPEC is funded by a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education (Grant #H325M230015).

Project DE-SPEC scholars will complete 5 different online special education courses:

  • EDUC 521: Special Education Legislation and Policy
  • EDUC 517: Diagnostic Assessment and Literacy Instruction for Students with Disabilities
  • EDUC 518: Education Evaluation and IEP Development
  • EDUC 519: Universally Designed Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Disabilities
  • EDUC 520: Behavior Analysis and Modification for Students with Disabilities

After successful completion of all 5 courses, scholars will take and pass the Praxis Subject Assessment – Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications. Once the Praxis has been passed, scholars can apply for and receive their Special Education Teacher of Students with Disabilities Standard Certificate from the state of Delaware making them eligible for special education teaching positions in Delaware. 


Check back soon for more information on recruitment for the first Project DE-SPEC cohort!

Project DE-SPEC In the Media

Personnel Information

Dr. Rachel JuergensenDr. Rachel Juergensen is the Principal Investigator and Project Director for Project DE-SPEC. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education and Coordinator of the Special Education Program at DSU. With 20 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, administrator, and state leader for schoolwide positive behavior support, her experiences and knowledge related to equitable opportunities for students with disabilities are critical to the innovative work happening with special education teacher preparation at DSU. Dr. Juergensen’s research interests include supporting both preservice and inservice teachers as they work to provide equitable opportunities for students with disabilities and students experiencing difficulty in their classrooms. 

Project DE-SPEC Research

Coming Soon!