One of the things that are so critical in ensuring proper access to education is ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access that best suits their needs. Education must be accessible for all students regardless of their cognitive ability, or physical disabilities. The goal should be to ensure that students can participate in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education in a way that allows them to succeed and thrive. In Tennessee, a $5.5 million grant has been awarded to the Tennessee Department of Education to create more accessible education for all students, especially for students with disabilities.
Commissioner Penny Schwinn had this to say about the grant award from the federal government:
We are thrilled to receive this SPDG to continue our work ensuring all students are given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. All students deserve to receive a great education and this grant enables the department to support teachers in providing excellent instruction to students with disabilities.”
Here’s what this grant will go to fund: This Teaching All Students grant will go towards funding a multi-year training that will help high school educators and staff build a more accessible learning program for students for all students within the system. The goal of this program is to help close the achievement gap and increasing the graduation rate and enrollment for postsecondary education. This includes technical school, university, and community college. This can also go to create competitive integrated employment for students with complex needs.
Theresa Nicholls, Assistant Commissioner for Special Populations also spoke on this grant award:
This new SPDG will provide the department with the resources and capacity to support our LEAs in the important work of instructing students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. We have accomplished great things through our previous SPDG and look forward to expanding on that work to ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve their goals.”
Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations, agencies, tribal governments, and IHEs to develop technology and procedures that help promote self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. Special emphasis is placed on individuals with severe disabilities. Funding is intended to maximize full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency. Additionally, the goal is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.