Educators attending ISRC/Special Education Department Summer Institute at MSU
Educators from a variety of disciplines serving children with disabilities will attend this year’s ISRC/Special Education Summer Institute on Minot State University’s campus, July 6-8. The institute’s theme is "Cognitive Science Meets Behavior: Brain-based Learning Strategies for Young Children with Disabilities." Holly Pedersen and Johnna Westby, assistant professors of special education, and Alan Ekblad, chair of the special education department and associate professor of special education, are co-directors of this collaborative effort between the ISRC project and the Department of Special Education.
"As a result of this collaboration, students and professionals from across North Dakota will learn from networking with each other and from participating in group projects and discussions," Ekblad said. "Overall, it provides a sense of connectedness and common purpose for all participants working in a variety of rural settings."
Prompted by a significant need in North Dakota for trained personnel to work with infants, toddlers and young children with low-incidence disabilities and their families, MSU secured a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities project (ISRC) in 2009. The ISRC grant funding will conclude in May 2013.
Students enrolled in the project, known as trainees, are graduate students from health, education and human services disciplines. Graduates of the program will be qualified in North Dakota for employment by Part C or B service provider agencies, as well as other health, education and human service agencies/programs that serve young children with disabilities and their families.
Trainees typically take one or two courses per semester and attend Summer Institutes. All courses to secure a master’s degree are offered online. In most cases, it takes three years for a trainee to complete the cycle of courses and complete the Master of Science in special education, concentration in early childhood special education. Students who receive scholarships from ISRC grant funds are obligated upon graduation either to work in a job that serves infants, toddlers, children or youth with disabilities for a specific period or to repay the federal government.
Originally envisioned to fill a need in North Dakota, ISRC has had a greater impact. There is a national need for trained early intervention personnel, and this project has developed a rural distance training model that can be replicated in other states.
For further information, contact Ekblad at 858-3045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.