I scanned the project descriptions offered by the 49 winners of the Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund grants, searching for projects related specifically to students with disabilities. Here are the projects I found and how the winners described them:
Collaborative Strategic Reading Colorado, Denver, $25,202,752: “Collaborative Strategic Reading Colorado (CSR-CO) is designed around the CU BUENO Center literacy intervention, Collaborative Strategic Reading, used successfully in linguistically diverse classrooms to address the linguistic and academic needs of ELLs and students with disabilities.”
EngageME-P.L.E.A.S.E. (Personalized Learning Experiences Accelerate Standards-based Education), Forsyth County, Ga., $4,738,500: “Goals for this i3 project include: 1) increase student achievement and student growth as evidenced by reduction in numbers of high-need students in subgroups and in total, 2) increase graduation rate in subgroups and in total, and 3) increase graduation rate for high need students, students in subgroups, and in total.”
Everyday Arts for Special Education, New York, N.Y., $4,633,397: “District 75 serves 23,000 students with special needs in New York City, with over 4,000 teachers in 56 schools across all five boroughs. In partnership with the Manhattan New Music Project, we are seeking funding for a five-year initiative to increase the number of effective teachers in special education settings. Everyday Art for Special Education (EASE) is a professional development program designed to improve student achievement in the areas of communication, socialization, academic learning, and arts proficiency through integrated, arts-based approaches.”
New Mexico K-3 Plus Extended School Year Validation Study,
state of New Mexico Gallup-McKinley, Albuquerque, Gadsden, and Las Cruces school districts, $15,282,720: “The K-3 Plus intervention is a targeted approach to educational reform and provides significantly more time for students in kindergarten to third grade to learn core academic content by expanding the school year.” English-language-learners and students on individualized education programs will receive extended-year services.
Write to Learn!, Norco, Calif.: “Currently in our schools we are reporting between a 20 percent to 60 percent proficiency gap in our English Language scores in the areas of written conventions, writing strategies and writing applications for our high needs groups—[English-language-learners, students from poor families, and students with disabilities] when compared with our overall scores. To close this gap we propose to add specific components to our writing program that will provide more immediate information and support in identified areas of need for our students.”
And of course, one can argue that anything that improves the general school environment will improve the education of students with disabilities. Most students receiving special education services spend most of their time in general education classrooms.
Have I missed any “i3" grant winners that have projects targeted towards students with disabilities? Let me know in the comments.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.