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$1.06 Million Grant to Fund Preparation of 50 New Early Childhood Special Education Teachers

Minnesota State Mankato partnering with three public school districts.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-24-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Special Education will be partnering with three public school districts in preparing up to 50 new early childhood special education teachers over the next five years as a result of a $1,064,592 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.

The 50 new fully credentialed early childhood special education (ECSE) professionals will help address a shortage of ECSE teachers in Minnesota (listed on page 8 of this Education Minnesota report) and nationwide. The funds, according to the U.S. Department of Education, help address state-identified needs for personnel preparation in early childhood special education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities; and also ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children.

Partnering with Minnesota State Mankato in educating the new early childhood special education teachers will be Mankato Area Public Schools, Bloomington Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools.

The teacher preparation will be conducted through “Project PREP: Preparing Early childhood Practitioners using evidenced-based practices.” The early childhood special education courses are offered online. In addition to strong field experience and student teaching opportunities, Project PREP will work with school district partners to support on-site seminars, which will include practicing teachers. In addition, a mentoring website, video observations and support system will be provided to ensure graduates are supported in their development.

The five-year project is funded through Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 84.325K), Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, grant #H325K160048. The grant funds will be used to fund up to 50 students to secure initial or add-on licensure in early childhood special education.

The primary contact for the grant is Minnesota State Mankato Associate Professor Aaron Deris, the principal investigator/project director. He can be reached by email at Minnesota State Mankato Professor Teri Wallace, co-principal investigator, can be reached by email at

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Special Education is part of the University’s College of Education.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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