OSEP funds nine new centers and projects

By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

WASHINGTON (Oct. 24, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced the funding of nine new centers and projects Oct. 23.

OSEP distributes discretionary grants to help fund centers and projects specific to special education in order to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology and personnel development, and parent-training and information centers.

Of the nine new centers and projects receiving funding to support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), three centers specialize in early childhood education.

For a complete list of OSEP Funded Centers, visit OSEP IDEAS That Work.

The following is a list of newly funded centers and projects:

Research and Development Center on Developing Software to Adapt and Customize Instruction in Digital Learning Environments

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Inc. received funding for a new investment that will go towards developing software designed to adapt and customize digital materials for children with disabilities, whether or not delivered online.

The software should enable teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities.

Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities

Benetech received an award to further its Bookshare® project, which provides accessible resources using an online library collection of more than 350,000 titles to more than 360,000 people with print disabilities in nearly 50 countries.

National Technical Assistance Center for Inclusive Practices and Policies

The University of Minnesota received an award for its center, which will provide technical assistance (TA) to state and local education agencies on how to implement and sustain inclusive practices and policies for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in elementary and middle school programs.

National Center for Development and Dissemination of Digital Open Educational Tools and Resources Supported by Evidence to Enhance Personnel Preparation and Professional Development for Educators of Students with Disabilities

Vanderbilt University received an award for its IRIS center, which offers a wide variety of resources on evidence-based practices and programs, including instructional modules and research summaries primarily designed for use by college and university faculty, professional development providers, and practicing educators.

National Center for Improving Teacher and Leader Performance to Better Serve Children with Disabilities

The University of Florida received an award for its CEEDAR Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education reform their teacher and leader preparation programs, revise their licensure standards to align with reforms, refine personnel evaluation systems, and realign policy structures and professional learning systems.

National Center to Enhance Educational Systems to Promote the Use of Practices Supported by Evidence

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill received an award for its State Implementation & Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices (SISEP) Center.

The center provides content and TA to establish large-scale, sustainable, high-fidelity implementation of effective education practices to state, regional, and district educational systems to maximize academic and social outcomes of all students, especially those students with disabilities.

Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill received an award for its Early Childhood System Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center.

This center will provide TA to states for building and maintaining high-quality early childhood systems equipped with supports to implement the IDEA consistent with its requirements.

The center will also support states in providing high-quality IDEA services for young children with disabilities and their families.

Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC)

The University of Connecticut Health Center its Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC), which will improve the quality of personnel who serve young children with disabilities and their families by providing TA to state IDEA Part C and Part B, Section 619 (preschool) programs for implementing high-quality comprehensive systems of personnel development (CSPD).

The center will also provide TA to faculty of institutions of higher education to develop programs of study for providing high-quality services and inclusive programs for young children with disabilities and their families.

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation

The University of South Florida received an award for a new investment to support young children’s social, emotional, and behavioral development, and reduce their challenging behaviors by developing an early childhood multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework.

The investment will also support states, early-childhood programs and personnel in implementing this MTSS framework.