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FMU School of Education Receives $1.25-Million Grant to Train Special-Education Leaders

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The Florida Memorial University School of Education (SOE) is preparing to launch Project Preparing Leaders to Execute Effective Actions in Special Education (PLEEASE) to train local special-education leaders. The project is funded by a $1.25-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Project participants will earn a master’s degree in Exceptional Special Education (ESE), with a focus on leadership. The grant will provide full funding to train 50 ESE leaders over the next five years.

“We, at FMU, are thrilled to help the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services advance its mission of fully integrating people with disabilities into all facets of community living,” said Makola Abdullah, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “With this grant, we are working to enhance personnel development and give leaders the resources they need to improve educational results for children with disabilities.”

A congratulatory letter from the Education Department noted that 95 applications were reviewed, and only 13 were funded. FMU’s proposal team was composed of four SOE professors: Tamar Riley, Ph.D., co-director; Annamaria Jerome-Raja, Ph.D., co-director; Yvonne Campbell, Ph.D. and Althea Durden, Ed.D. Riley said the program will emphasize a special focus is on providing leadership to urban school personnel.

“Our biggest objective is to increase the number of special-education leaders in the local community to improve the quality of education and outcomes for students with disabilities in K-12 classrooms,” said Riley, associate professor of special education.

The grant offers full tuition and includes stipends for travel and books. The first group of participants will begin January 2013. The second group will start in August 2014 and the final group will begin May 2016. Prospective candidates are required to hold a degree or certification in ESE; currently teach or provide leadership in ESE; be recommended by their principal or supervisor; and, meet FMU graduate-program admission criteria.

“Participants will enjoy a five-semester program with an engaging and interactive curriculum,” Riley revealed. “We will teach and collaborate with leaders from Miami-Dade and Broward county school districts. We will also connect participants with industry mentors.”

SOE is a Florida Department of Education-accredited school that offers 11 undergraduate and four graduate degrees. The school is hosting an information session next month. For more information, contact Tamar Riley at Tamar.Riley@FMUniv.edu.


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