SDE Receives $5.3 million grant to serve
special needs children
OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 21, 2022) – The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Special Education Services team has received a $5.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support Oklahoma school districts and early career teachers in serving children with disabilities.
This year marks the fourth time that the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) has been awarded the State Personnel Development Grant. Each grant provides five years of support.
The department currently is working with educators at Sand Springs Public Schools and Dickson Public Schools to provide professional development opportunities and help the districts implement multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), a framework used by educators to provide academic and behavioral support to students with a variety of needs.
“We’ve seen reduced risks in reading remediation and a decline in the number of discipline referrals,” said Kristen Perez-Rickels, State Personnel Development Grant director for the OSDE.
Next year (2023), the OSDE will select two new districts to support that want to implement MTSS. Oklahoma school districts can apply in February to partner with the OSDE for grant support. Two additional districts will be selected in 2025.
While the OSDE has been helping districts implement MTSS with the current grant cycle, the new grant will allow the department to add a professional development component for special education teachers who are in the first few years of their career.
“We get a lot of requests for professional development,” Perez-Rickels said. “We feel like working with educators early in their careers is one way we can help special education teachers feel supported and stay in their roles longer.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s State Personnel Development Grants program provides grants to help state educational agencies reform and improve their systems for personnel preparation and professional development of individuals providing early intervention, educational and transition services to improve results for children with disabilities.