Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS)

BS and Teaching Licensure

Become licensed to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities

This is also known as the “Cross-Categorical” License. Each student with a disability has a unique set of academic, behavioral, social, emotional, communication, and functional needs. The academic behavioral strategist (ABS) licensure program prepares you to meet the needs of young people—kindergarten through age 21. The program prepares you to be recommended for an ABS license, which qualifies you to work with students in K-12 school systems with a broad array of mild to moderate disabilities in the following areas:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD)
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
  • Learning Disabilities (SLD)
  • Other Health Disabilities (OHD)

Call Possibilities

Graduates of the academic behavioral strategist (ABS) licensure program:

    1. Serve as Academic & Behavioral Interventionists in Prereferral, Tiered System of Interventions, or Remedial Programs
    2. Screen students for instructional adjustments (Prereferral or Special Education)
    3. Write data-driven, goal-oriented intervention plans
    4. Are qualified to serve as a Special Education Teacher to one or multiple schools
    5. Teach in K-12 special education classrooms, resource rooms, co-teach/push in services, or 18-21 transition programs
    6. Case manage Students with Disabilities 
    7. Write and understand the Individual Education Program (IEP) and/or collaborate with public school special educators to write an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) for use in private schools
    8. Service IEP or ISP goals & objectives, provide specialized instruction & aids, manage related services, progress monitor, carry out and evaluate accommodations and modifications
    9. Are trained to be part of the comprehensive evaluation team in public schools and can understand the evaluation and eligibility process as it pertains to private schools. 
    10. Collaborate/consult with classroom teachers to problem-solve and improve inclusive practices for students with disabilities
    11. Work with students and their families directly as itinerant teachers (travel to teach students with disabilities in homes, homeschools, early childhood centers, schools, community-based programs, and hospitals)
    12. Serve students from a variety of cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds
    13. Work with public school professionals through community engagement efforts to serve students in partnership
    14. Licensed graduates are prepared for all aspects of special education and special education collaboratives (law, evaluation, instruction, adaptation, paperwork/planning) PLUS specifics about special education for private schools


Most classes are offered in person on the New Ulm campus. The BS with ABS licensure program requires the completion of 131 credits. 

Your BS coursework can be applied with incentives to an advanced license in learning disabilities (LD). Should you choose to apply for your master of education (MS) degree, additional requirements for these advanced licenses will be fulfilled as part of your master’s coursework. See BS to MS Accelerated Pathway.

Required ABS Licensure Courses 

(24 credits)

SPE1101 Foundations of Special Education 3 cr.
SPE2101 Educating the Exceptional Learner 3 cr.
SPE2102 Diagnosis & Assessment of Students in Special Education 3 cr.
SPE2103 IEP Process & Professional Practice 3 cr.
SPE2104 Developmental Disabilities 3 cr.
SPE3101 Learning Disabilities & Emotional Behavioral Disorders 3 cr.
SPE3102 Assistive Technology 3 cr.
SPE3103 Transition Planning & Collaboration 3 cr.
Total 24 cr.

Common Content Courses 

(75 credits)

EDU3002 Teaching with Technology 3 cr.
EDU3247 Teaching Mathematics in PreK-8th Grade 1 cr.
EDU4302 Reading in the Content Areas 3 cr.
EDU4210 Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary & Middle Schools 3 cr.
THE1001 Biblical History & Literature I 3 cr.
THE1002 Biblical History & Literature II 3 cr.
THE2001 Biblical History & Literature III 3 cr.
THE3001 Christian Doctrine I 3 cr.
THE3002 Christian Doctrine II 3 cr.
THE4001 Lutheran Confessional Writings  3 cr.
PSY2002 Psychology of Human Growth & Development  3 cr.
PSY3020 Psychology of Learning 3 cr.
ENG1303 Rhetoric & Composition 3 cr.
ENG130x Literature Seminar Option 3 cr.
ENG3310 Interpersonal Communication 3 cr.
MTHxxxx Mathematics General Education Elective 3 cr.
MTH2004 Math for Educators I 2 cr.
MTH2005 Math for Educators II 2 cr.
SCI1003/1004 Biology & Lab 3 cr.
SCI1102 Physical Science 3 cr.
HIS2113 Modern West 3 cr.
HIS3010 US History Since 1945 3 cr.
SSC3210 World Regional Geography 3 cr.
XXXX Intercultural Elective 3-4 cr.
PED1301 Fitness for Life 1 cr.
PEDxxxx 2 Physical Education Activity Courses 1 cr.
MUS4201 Lutheran Worship 2 cr.
XXXX Fine Arts Elective 3 cr.
XXXX Electives [Maximum credit load is 18 per semester] cr.
[Minimum] Total 75 cr.

Field Experiences, Clinical, and Student Teaching 

(32 credits)

EDU1401 Early Field Experience I .5 cr.
EDU2401 Early Field Experience II .5 cr.
EDU3401 Early Field Experience III .5 cr.
EDU3405 Individual Field Experience .5 cr.
EDU3201 Children’s Literature 2 cr.
EDU3205 Teaching Language Arts 2 cr.
EDU3210 Teaching Reading 4 cr.
EDU3411 Literacy Clinical 1 cr.
EDU3351 Teaching Special Education 4 cr.
EDU3427 Special Education Clinical 1 cr.
EDU4354 Student Teaching in Special Education in Secondary Schools 6 cr.
EDU4268 Student Teaching in Special Education in Elementary & Middle Schools 10 cr.
Total 32 cr.

Faculty & Staff


Daryl Hanneman, School Psychologist
Professor of Special Education


Kelli Green, M.A. LD/EBD
Professor of Special Education

Joining the Team in July 2022!

Dr. Rachel Youngblom, Psy.D., LP, NCSP
Professor of Special Education

“It is my calling to develop a thriving and high-quality special education system in support of educators across WELS schools. This system must support inclusion in general education classrooms (tier 1), prereferral and referral (tiers 2-3), and specialized instruction for students eligible for special education, aids and related services (special education). At MLC, it is my calling to develop quality and credible licensed candidates to serve students in prereferral and with disabilities in WELS schools.”

~Professor Kelli Green