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NEW MIDDLE GRADES EDUCATION PROGRAM ESTABLISHED

August 20, 2001

Coastal Carolina University's College of Education has established a new degree program in middle grades education. The new bachelor of arts degree, which prepares teachers specifically for the unique demands of educating middle school-age students, was recently approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Coastal is one of the first institutions in the state to offer the middle grades education program.

"Receiving approval from the Commission to offer the bachelor's degree in middle grades education represents an important achievement for Coastal," said Gilbert Hunt, dean of Coastal's College of Education. "With the forthcoming expectation that the State Department of Education will require teachers in the middle grades to be specifically certified at this level, making this degree available will enable Coastal to respond to a local as well as statewide need."

Students in middle schools are typically between the ages of 11 to 14 and are in fifth- through eighth-grade. According to Dennis Wiseman, associate provost and special assistant to the president for K-12 education, the middle school years represent a complex stage in a child's development. "These students face major transitions educationally, moving from a relatively self-contained learning environment to a multi-teacher environment and a much more difficult curricula," said Wiseman. "A teaching methodology devoted to children in the middle grades represents a positive step in K-12 educational delivery in South Carolina."

The addition of the program in middle grades education will complement programs already offered by Coastal's College of Education. Programs are currently offered leading to certification in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education and K-12 education. Coastal also offers a master of education degree in early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education.