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SOE researchers secure $940,000 NYSED grant for program to help high-need schools support children with disabilities
SOE researchers secure $940,000 NYSED grant for program to help high-need schools support children with disabilitiesOctober 31, 2007Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
The New York State Education Department (NYSED), through its Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) division, has awarded three Syracuse University School of Education (SOE) faculty researchers a $940,000 grant for Promising Practices, a program to identify and cultivate promising inclusive practices to meet the needs of all students — and in particular students with disabilities — in mid-state region public schools. The program was developed in response to a VESID School Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) request for proposals.
The Promising Practices program is designed to extend the inclusive education practices identified and cultivated in the School of Education’s Schools of Promise program by migrating and adapting them to targeted schools across 16 mid-state region counties that have been identified by the state as needing help to support students with disabilities. Carefully structured school-to-school mentoring relationships will be established and supported to guide the diffusion of the Schools of Promise practices across the mid-state region.
“The idea and work exactly complements what we are doing with Schools of Promise,” says George Theoharis, assistant professor of teaching and leadership and one of the program’s three co-principal investigators. “They even share the same word, `promise.'” The program’s other co-PIs are Julie Causton-Theoharis and Ben Dotger, also assistant professors of teaching and leadership.
Promising Practices is an extension of the pioneering work of Theoharis and Caustin-Theoharis to institute whole-school reform efforts on inclusive schooling through the Schools of Promise partnership. Schools of Promise covers issues of inclusion and belonging relating to school climate, classroom community and students with disabilities. The program also provides for extensive on-site professional development and support for teachers and leaders to meet a wide range of student needs in collaborative ways. Schools of Promise currently involves multi-year partnerships with the Syracuse City School District, the East-Syracuse Minoa School District and Longbranch Elementary School in the Liverpool School District.
Through Promising Practices, the lessons learned through Schools of Promise will be introduced and further developed in high-need schools throughout the mid-state region. “The needs of this area are considerable,” says Causton-Theoharis. “The School of Education is committed to building capacity in these high-needs schools to create lasting change.”