Special Ed master’s students write mini-grants for classroom materials

Several Northwestern State University graduate students completing Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching or add-on certification in special education were awarded mini-grants by the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children (LA-CEC). The $425 grants will be used in the students’ classrooms and includes a one-year membership in the organization.

Students were awarded the mini-grants by following guidelines to apply for funding as a class project. Grants are awarded for projects that educate children with exceptionalities, improve relationships within families of children with exceptionalities, develop independent living or employment skills for students with exceptionalities or use technology to enhance education for children/youth with exceptionalities.

“Students learned the step-by-step grant writing process including the project description, statement of need, description of the classroom population, project objectives, project activities and project timeline, evaluation procedures, project benefits, project budget and a letter of endorsement,” said Dr. Barb Duchardt, professor of special education. “Furthermore, they can be entrepreneurs by writing and procuring larger grants for their classrooms and school.”

NSU award winners were Kriston Brewer, Jaimie Hankins, Robin Horton, Mary Huff, Cindy Hughes, Gregory Lane, Kelli McCarter and Dawn Evans.

Four of the eight graduate students who attended the LA-CEC conference – Lane, Horton, Hankins and Stevens — displayed their mini-grant at a poster session.

Huff, who teaches at Mary Goff Elementary School in Rapides Parish, detailed a project focused on providing students with engaging manipulatives – physical objects that can be used as teaching tools – and sensory-stimulating activities to develop phonemic awareness and phonics, in which students listen to and break down the sound of words to improve reading comprehension and spelling.

Huff teaches students with learning and intellectual disabilities, hearing and vision impairment and developmental delays. Her grant was entitled “Reading Made Possible with Manipulative Interventions.”

“I have never written a grant before, so this was very valuable in understanding and learning how to complete a grant properly,” Huff said. “I have shared what I learned with co-workers so they can write a grant to provide materials for their students.”

Hankins, a teacher at Union Central Elementary in Caldwell Parish, plans to use her grant materials to help her students learn concepts of time and money, which will encourage them to be more aware of their community and people in it.

Lane, who teaches at Natchitoches Central High School, plans to purchase materials, supplies and software to improve student math competencies.

For information on NSU’s master’s program in special education, contact Duchardt at (318) 357-5154 or duchardt@nsula.edu or visit education.nsula.edu/program-offerings/med-special-education.

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