Whitney Bashaw, Editor-in-Chief
Last week SUNY Oneonta announced the new addition to its growing graduate studies program: a Masters in Special Education in partnership with local organization Springbrook.
In this program students will be able to earn a Master of Education (M.S.Ed.) in special education with concentrations in early childhood, childhood or adolescence. The program, allows graduate students to work first-hand as teacher’s assistants at Springbrook’s school for children with autism. There will be classes taught online and on the Oneonta campus, but most will take place at Springbrook, whose campus is eight miles east of Oneonta.
Springbrook is a not-for-profit, state-licensed company with facilities in and around Oneonta that serve over 700 people (children and adults) with autism. It provides respite care as well as housing and a K-12 residential school program. It also provides an integrated preschool, Kids Unlimited, for children with or without autism.
As reported on the college’s website, Springbrook Executive Director Patricia Kennedy said of the partnership: “This is an opportunity for students, number one, to come and work at Springbrook with a very challenging and interesting population, students with autism, and at the same time complete their master’s while we provide employment for them and pay for their tuition.”
At the conclusion of students’ degrees, Springbrook will reimburse the price of their tuition. This will offer those who are already teacher’s assistants in Springbrook’s school to become degree candidates as well. The program begins during the Fall 2012 semester.
With a staff of nearly 1,000 people, Springbrook is one of the largest employers in Otsego County. The institution also has employees in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Tioga and Tompkins counties.
Earlier this year, Springbrook rolled out a plan for expansion, announcing its plan to buy the former Saint Mary’s School on Highway 7. With the acquisition of this property and subsequent expansion,
Springbook anticipates an annual increase of $5 million in the local economy and 112 new jobs in the area. The building will become a training center and a bigger Kids United program, as well as housing the company’s IT and purchasing departments.