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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Project SPOKES Works to Identify Needs of Special Educators

project spokes
Last Spring, the College of Education’s Improving Futures Fund awarded support to Project SPOKES—Sustaining evidence-based Practices of preK-22 Education Specialists—in order to allow new special education teachers to identify their needs.

Project SPOKES focuses on investigating the needs of beginning special educators in San Diego and then providing training to their support providers so that they can be the most effective mentors and coaches possible. Three Department of Special Education faculty members—Drs. Yasemin Turan Qian, Regina Brandon, and Nicole Pyle—are in charge of the implementation and evaluation of this project.

The Department of Special Education currently works with approximately 17 school districts throughout San Diego and Imperial counties and has 10 active intern agreements. The Department estimates participation from 40 support providers who work with recent graduates across all three credential program areas (early childhood, mild-to-moderate, and moderate-to-severe disabilities).

The project will establish four initial focus groups, one for each of the three credential programs and one for interns. Each focus group will include 10 support providers who will help identify the needs of novice educators and identify the strategies that might be most effective in meeting those needs.

Using the information acquired from the focus groups, the Department will then develop training modules for the support providers and provide a stipend for each participant. Finally, the Department will evaluate the effect of the training on the practices of the support provider and the novice special educators.

In addition, Project SPOKES will create a revised Induction Handbook to be used for the training of future providers. According to department chair Dr. Laura Hall, the project builds on the established strengths in the department of collaborating with partners in the field and designing programs that sustain the effective practices of special educators post graduation.

Ultimately, the goal is to help ensure that every educator who earns a special education credential at SDSU will be well prepared to make a difference in the lives of the children and youth they will have the opportunity to serve.

About the Improving Futures Fund

In the Fall of 2014 Dean Johnson and the College of Education implemented a brand new initiative to help improve the futures of our students and graduates and the populations they will serve. The aptly named Improving Futures Fund will review COE faculty and staff submitted proposals and identify powerful projects that will improve the futures of our graduates and the children, youth and adults they will serve. Proposals will be reviewed by the individuals and organizations that generously contribute to the Improving Futures Fund.

Learn more about the Improving Futures Fund