The Dual Certification Family Goes Beyond LSU

2 September 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA – Storey Smith, Sarah Owens, Madison Hanning, and Kathleen Brechtel all have one thing in common: the LSU Dual Certification Program. Sarah Owens, a 2020 LSU graduate, is a 4th grade inclusion teacher at Brusly Upper Elementary School and will be Kathleen Brechtel’s mentor teacher this year. Kathleen Brechtel, an LSU senior and winner of the 2022 First Year Special Education Student Award, is looking forward to her residency at Brusly Upper Elementary this year. Madison Hanning, a 2022 graduate and winner of the 2022 Accomplished Special Education Student Teacher Award, has started her teaching career at Brusly Upper Elementary School. Storey Smith, an LSU undergraduate and master’s graduate that just completed her educational diagnostician certification, is an instructional coach in West Baton Rouge Parish that will be supporting Madison, Sarah, and Kathleen at Brusly Upper Elementary School this year. The “DUALC family” at Brusly is ready to take on this school year together.

Kathleen explains, “Since day one of starting the Dual Certification program, it has been referred to as the ‘DUALC family.’ This phrase has shown itself to be true in all phases of my journey to becoming a teacher. Having members of my DUALC family has been a relief as I navigate a new school environment for my year of residency. Knowing that a group of teachers on campus went through the same program that I am going through now is comforting and inspiring. I see what amazing things are ahead in my career.”

Sarah shared, “It’s always nice to be around people of similar backgrounds! I have always found that Dual Certs have a special bond. We had the same professors for the most part and can share similar stories and experiences. We’ve all written an in-depth behavior plan for Dr. Denny and discussed IEP goals with Dr. Mooney. Having that extra comfort and support at my school is so welcome. I know exactly who will understand my excitement when one of my students meets a behavior goal or improves a benchmark score. It’s just good to be around people who ‘get it’.”
DUALC Family at BUES

Kathleen Brechtel (2nd from left) is the co-winner of the 2022 Outstanding First Year Special Education Student Award. Madison Hanning (3rd from left) is the winner of the 2022 Accomplished Special Education Student Teacher Award. Storey Smith (far left) and Sarah Owens (far right) are both LSU DUALC graduates.

The LSU Dual Certification Program is child centered, data driven, outcome oriented, and solution seeking. The program is an eight-semester program of study that allows students to graduate with two certifications. Candidates who are interested in the PK - 3 or 6 - 12 programs can complete the five-course minor in special education in addition to their respective program coursework. That alone makes you stand out to the school principal who will offer you your first job upon graduation, but Sarah and Kathleen both shared some thoughts about what makes the DUALC program truly special.

Kathleen said, “LSU’s Dual Certification program is special because it allows future teachers to expand their knowledge in how to best assist their students. The program allows for more inclusion and understanding for all future students that enter your classroom, whether that is a general or special education classroom. I would recommend that every future educator enrolls in the Dual Certification program because the knowledge gained is applicable to all students since no two students will learn identically.”

Sarah felt similarly and said, “LSU DUALC is a special program because it equips teachers to meet the diverse needs they’ll encounter in their classroom. Whether a general education or special education teacher, there will always be a student that learns differently. The DUALC program gives new teachers tools to support these diverse needs, meeting students where they are with the ability to push them where they need to go.”

The Dual Certification Program allows you to improve student outcomes, expand your teaching skill toolkit, double your certifications, and stand out to school principals. LSU is transforming education by offering students the ability to pursue dual certification in general education and special education. Moreover, the DUALC program is a family that supports, encourages, and mentors each other long after graduation. We are so excited to cheer on this DUALC family at Brusly Upper Elementary School this year!