Over $1M awarded to UTRGV special education program

EDINBURG — Over $1 million has been awarded to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Program for Leaders to Educate and Advocate for Special Education, according to a statement released Thursday by the office of U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen.

The $1,243,658 will be used to fund the five-year program, which will train 14 Valley educators to administer special education and early intervention programs, the release stated.

“We need teachers who are able to empathize, connect and have a greater understanding of special education and the learning process in the classroom with special needs students,” Gonzalez wrote in the statement. “As your congressman, I will continue to promote robust special education programs because everyone has the right to an education.”

According to the release, educators selected for the program will have the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a specialization in special education.

“Our team is grateful to have the support of our Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, as well as that of our school districts in acquiring this personnel training grant to prepare 14 special education leaders through our Education Doctoral Program,” Dr. Hsyuing C. Ward, a professor at the university’s College of Education, wrote in the statement. “With the collaboration from the nine partner school districts, we know we will ensure best special education practices and improve the learning outcomes of the children with disabilities in our region.”

Nine school districts will nominate two district educators who presently focus on special education to apply for Project PLEASE, the release read.