PAIRSS (Preparing Alternate Certificate Instructors for Rural Special Services)

Application Deadlines:

For second cohort of Master’s students: May 31, 2015.

For second cohort of Alternate Certificate students: August 15, 2015


The University of Kentucky (UK) College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling was recently awarded a five-year, $1.2 million personnel preparation grant from the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The project, called “Preparing Alternate Certificate Instructors for Rural Special Services” (PAIRSS), is designed to meet Kentucky’s need for low incidence teachers by pairing experienced special educators with novice special educators who serve students with low incidence disabilities in districts with high need schools located in rural Eastern Kentucky.

First, the project will provide K-12 licensure coursework in moderate and severe disabilities (MSD) for scholars enrolled in the graduate alternate certificate program via distance education technology at UK and also employed as teachers of students with low incidence disabilities.

Second, the project will provide master’s degree coursework with a focus in MSD through UK’s new special education teacher leader program, which must be completed by all teachers holding MSD certification in Kentucky to retain their licensure.

Scholars in these two programs will be paired throughout the project period, allowing the experienced scholars to provide support for the novice scholars through required mentoring activities. In addition to obtaining an endorsement in leadership, scholars in the master’s program also may complete elective coursework in assistive technology and autism spectrum disorders, making them an even greater resource to scholars in the alternate certificate program.

The project will:

  • Provide tuition support for two cohorts of 16 (eight alternate certificate and eight master’s degree) students for a total of 32 scholars over 5 years.
  • Begin recruiting students in the Spring 2015 semester.
  • Begin providing coursework in the Fall 2015 semester.
  • Require students apply to the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling; the Graduate School; and the Teacher Education Program (alternate certification students only).


More Information

Co-principal investigators of the grant:

Margaret E. Bausch, Ed.D.
Melinda Jones Ault, Ph.D.
Amy Spriggs, Ph.D.