Immaculata University Receives Grant to Develop Future Special Education Teachers

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IMMACULATA UNIVERSITY, PAImmaculata University received the Special Education Performance Grant 2022-2024: Developing Future Special Educators from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The grant provides $25,000 funding through the 2024 academic year. The goal of the grant is to recruit future special education professionals.

“The teaching shortage effects all areas, including special education,” states Melissa Reed, Ed.D., chair of the Immaculata University Education Division. “This grant allows us to fully engage the next generation of teachers who may be interested in a career teaching and supporting students with disabilities.”

Through experiential learning, high school and college students will support students with disabilities through participation in structured activities, programs and events. Immaculata’s education faculty members will provide guidance and oversight during these learning opportunities. Chester Upland School District, who was also awarded the grant, is partnering with Immaculata.

In addition, the grant allows Immaculata and other educational institutions to work collaboratively to attract, retain and prepare current education majors toward a career in special education. An emphasis on retaining and supporting new graduates already working in special education is a focus of the grant, along with encouraging paraeducators to obtain certification through mentorships and professional development. Plans to develop three asynchronous special education courses, allowing paraeducators to become certified special educators, is underway.

Other innovative initiatives include supporting an annual spring special education conference to support retention for those working in the field of special education. Launching a chapter of the non-profit organization Best Buddies at Immaculata, and then collaborating with local high school chapters of Best Buddies, will create opportunities to support the success of students with disabilities through experiential learning.

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“Receiving the Special Education Performance Grant to help recruit future special ed teachers is an honor. I am excited to partner with Immaculata to provide students from Chester Upland School District the opportunity to support this important initiative,” states Dr. Craig Parkinson, superintendent of Chester Upland School District, who earned his Ed.D. from Immaculata in 2011.

For more information about Immaculata’s education degree programs, contact Admissions at

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