WSSU receives $1.2M DOE grant to support aspiring special education teachers

The Department of Education at Winston-Salem State University has been awarded a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

The funding is designated to support the OSEP Personnel Development, whose primary goal is enhancing services and outcomes for infants and children with disabilities.Over five years, the grant will provide tuition support for 35 aspiring birth to kindergarten educators who will enhance early childhood education by gaining specialized training, developing innovative teaching strategies, and fostering inclusive, high-quality learning environments for young children.

The Birth through Kindergarten (BKE) Early Intervention Transition to Teach program aims to develop a robust pipeline of trained professionals in the field by creating a seamless 2 + 2 pathway in partnership with local community colleges. This will enable students to transition smoothly into the BKE Early Intervention/Special Education Program at WSSU.

This collaborative effort will not only facilitate the professional growth of aspiring educators but also address the critical shortage of qualified personnel in special education. The financial support will cover tuition, fees and associated educational expenses. In return, it is the department’s hope that recipients will commit to teaching in early childhood education settings for a specified period, ensuring their skills and expertise benefit the community directly.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant, which is a testament to our commitment to excellence in special education,” said Dr. LaKisha B. Roseborough, interim birth-kindergarten program coordinator at WSSU.

The five-year project, with a total budget of $1.25 million, encompasses a range of activities and initiatives designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge required for effective early intervention and special education including curriculum development, faculty training, student support services, and hands-on experience in real-world settings.

The overarching goal is to produce a new generation of highly skilled educators who are well-prepared to meet the diverse needs of children with disabilities.

“This funding will empower us to build a comprehensive training program that prepares future educators to make a significant impact in the lives of children with disabilities,” said Dr. Sabrina Hinton, BKE faculty at WSSU. “By collaborating with local community colleges, we are creating a sustainable pathway for students to achieve their educational and professional goals.”

WSSU’s initiative aligns with broader national efforts to improve special education services and to increase the representation of minorities in this critical field. The grant will also support research and development activities aimed at identifying best practices in early intervention and special education, thereby contributing to the body of knowledge that informs policy and practice at the national level.