U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded $250,000, the first installment of a five-year, estimated $1.25 million grant, to Hofstra University’s Early Childhood Interdisciplinary Professionals (HECIP) program to prepare highly-qualified teachers to support young children with disabilities and their families.
Through the program, a total of 51 college graduates (broken up into four cohorts) will be recruited for a dual certification master’s degree program in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education and trained to serve young children with special needs. The grant is provided through the Department of Education’s Personnel Preparation program, which helps address needs for qualified special education personnel and ensure that those personnel have the skills and knowledge needed to serve children with special needs.
“Early education can have a tremendous impact on the lives of children with special needs,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice, who received an honorary doctorate from Hofstra during the university’s commencement activities on May 17. “This federal funding will expand access to early education by providing more teachers with the advanced training and skills they need to help young children with disabilities succeed throughout their lives and achieve their full potential.”
“Providing outstanding teaching to students with disabilities is extraordinarily important and this award will allow us to support highly-qualified teachers to help fulfill this need,” said Hofstra University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman A. Berliner.
Dr. Sean Fanelli, dean of the School of Education, said, “Hofstra University’s School of Education appreciates this support from Rep. Rice and the U.S. Department of Education.
“Hofstra has long set the standard for high quality teacher preparation in early childhood special education. This funding allows us to continue to build on our academic offerings for graduate students who have dedicated themselves to working with children who have developmental delays and disabilities.”