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Bay Path University Awarded $1.2 Million from U.S. Department of Education to Fund Special Education Teacher Training

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One of 41 programs nationwide to receive federal funding to improve services and results for children with disabilities

Longmeadow, Massachusetts—Bay Path University has been awarded a federal
grant totaling $1,201,833 from the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education
Programs (OSEP) to train special education teachers. The grant, to be applied over five
years, will help Bay Path fund scholarships for graduate students and help the
University create and offer professional development opportunities to faculty and
teachers at partnering school districts, which include Holyoke Public Schools, Worcester
Public Schools, and the Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction, based in Worcester.

“As a result of this award, forty scholars will successfully obtain educator licenses in
both Massachusetts Severe Disabilities and Moderate Disabilities, combined with a
Master of Science Degree in Education. We’ll be able to support them through high-
quality mentoring and supervision, both during the program and for two years after
graduating,” explains Dr. Kristen Lech, EdD, the program director of Bay Path’s
graduate program in special education and English as a Second Language. Dr Lech is
also a professor of special education and the project director of this initiative.

“This grant will help us increase the number of highly qualified and dually licensed
diverse educators in the field of special education,” says Dr. Ellen Rustico, EdD,
Assistant Dean of Education and Licensure Programs at Bay Path’s School of Education,
Psychology& Humanities. 

Through this project, Bay Path will prepare for accreditation from the Council of
Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization
dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts
and talents.

Bay Path is one of 41 colleges and universities nationally to receive funding through this
grant competition. The grant comes at a time when Massachusetts has adjusted its
licensing requirements as a means of streamlining the process by which an educator
becomes qualified to teach special education.
In 2019, it was reported that 118,867 students in Massachusetts had complex or
challenging special education needs, up from 62,660 in 2004, representing the majority
of the state’s entire special education student population of nearly 174,000.