TDOE receives Teaching All Students grant to better serve students with disabilities

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Posted at 10:17 PM, Oct 02, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Department of Education received a five-year, $5.5 million State Personnel Development Grant to strengthen instructional practices for serving students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

It's called the "Teaching All Students" grant and will build on the department’s previous SPDG by giving students with disabilities access to and participation in standards-aligned instruction, according to a TDOE press release.

“We are thrilled to receive this SPDG to continue our work ensuring all students are given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in the release. “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.”

The State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) program assists state education agencies and their partners to improve results for children with disabilities through systems of professional development and dissemination of knowledge about best practices to educators and families.

This particular grant will fund multi-year training to help high school teachers and staff build an accessible learning environment for all students, with the goals of reducing the achievement gap and increasing the graduation rate and enrollment in postsecondary education (e.g. inclusive higher education, technical colleges, community colleges) and competitive integrated employment for students with complex needs.

“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,” said Theresa Nicholls, Assistant Commissioner for Special Populations. “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.”