The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced the funding of nine new centers and projects. 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. As previously reported in the Policy Insider, three centers specialize in early childhood education. The additional six programs are as follows:
- The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Inc. received funding for an investment for 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.
- Benetechreceived 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.
- 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.
- Vanderbilt University received an award for its IRIS center, which offers a 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.
- 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.
- 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.