Strategies for Attracting, Preparing, and Retaining Special Education Teachers through Alternative Route Programs




alternative routes, special education teacher preparation, teacher shortage, teacher recruitment, teacher retention


To address the national teacher shortage, the federal government has permitted alternative route preparation programs in an attempt to increase the supply of licensed teachers. Alternative route (AR) programs vary by state, but generally aim to train teacher candidates who do not have a traditional education preparation background to fulfill high-need teaching areas, such as special education. As a result, many AR special education programs are housed within various institutions of higher education across the United States. However, teacher educators often bear the responsibility to develop and sustain ARs within their institution of higher education with little guidance. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide a pillar framework for teacher educators in attracting, preparing, and retaining high quality AR special education teachers. Research-based strategies specific to AR infrastructure and teacher preparation policy implications are discussed.


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Author Biographies

Jamie Day, University of Missouri

Dr. Jamie Day is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Missouri. Broadly, her research revolves around strategies to attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel for all multilingual students with disabilities. This includes researching special education teacher preparation and evidence-based literacy interventions for multilingual students going through the special education process. Dr. Day is a former K-12 English Learner lead teacher and has taught English learner students with and without disabilities for over 10 years.

Kevin Monnin, George Mason University

Kevin Monnin is a third-year Doctoral Fellow in the Special Education Program at George Mason University. His research interests focus on studying strategies to attract, prepare, and retain high-quality teachers. These often include non-traditional methods for preparing teachers in high-needs fields. Mr. Monnin previously worked as a special education teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools. He earned his Master of Education in special education at George Mason University and received his bachelor’s in Government and International Politics

Tashnuva Shaheen, Boston University

Tashnuva is a doctoral student in the field of Special Education at Boston University. Her research focuses on the relationship between special education teacher preparation, its quality, and resulting outcomes such as workforce readiness and self-efficacy among educators.

Kathlyn Kale-Mokake, University of Florida

Kathlyn Kale-Mokake is a school psychology graduate student at the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida. She also works at the CEEDAR Center, providing technical assistance to states in the areas of teacher and leader preparation to support students with disabilities. Her research interests include the experiences of immigrant youth in schools, examining the role stereotypes play in the academic performance of minoritized and marginalized youth, and culturally relevant SEL practices. 

Cametreus Jaylen Clardy, University of Florida

Cametreus J. Clardy, M.Ed, is a doctoral student studying special education, as well as a graduate research assistant at the CEEDAR Center at the University of Florida. His research interests include the preparation and retention of culturally and linguistically diverse special education teachers and teacher candidates. He is also interested in preparation strategies that produce special education teachers who are responsive to the needs of all students. 

Garrett S. Stevens, University of Florida

Garrett Stevens is a school psychology graduate student at the University of Florida. He currently works with the CEEDAR Center, which provides technical assistance to better prepare teachers and leaders to support students with disabilities by implementing evidence-based practices within multi-tiered systems of support. His interests include English learner language acquisition intervention and assessment, as well as school psychopharmacology and its impact on academic performance.



How to Cite

Day, J., Monnin, K., Shaheen, T. ., Kale-Mokake, K., Clardy, C. J., & Stevens, G. S. (2023). Strategies for Attracting, Preparing, and Retaining Special Education Teachers through Alternative Route Programs . Journal of Special Education Preparation, 3(2), 8–16.



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