For Immediate Release
March 14, 2006
Grant Names SIUE, SIUC To Facilitate Training In Southern
As part of a statewide grant from the Illinois State
Board of Education (ISBE), Southern Illinois University
has been awarded $1.9 million to establish a center to
support student assessment in preK-12 schools throughout
41 counties in the southern part of the state.
The ISBE award was granted with funds received from the
Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department
The center will provide professional training practices
for teachers in providing (a) scientific, research-based
instruction for all students; (b) screening of all students
in academics and behavior; (c) continuous progress monitoring
of students skills; and (d) specialized assessment and
intervention support to pinpoint the needs of students
who demonstrate difficulties.
The center—which also will provide on-site support
to school administrators, teachers, parents, and special
education professionals—is designed to support schools
as they implement policies in the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act of 2004.
State School Superintendent Randy Dunn said he believed
the center will be a great asset to school districts as
they strive to meet the guidelines laid out by the No
Child Left Behind Act.
“We have an obligation at the state level to reach
out to these districts and provide assistance to them
and this partnership with SIU will allow us to accomplish
that objective here in Southern Illinois.”
Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard,
a former high school teacher and former director of a
regional educational service program, praised the collaborative
"The SIU campuses have assembled a team of outstanding
partners including local education agencies, regional
providers, and parent entities to create a research-based
program of personnel development and technical assistance
in the southern region of Illinois," Poshard commented.
"We want to ensure that at-risk children and children
with disabilities get the opportunities to improve their
educational outcomes. As the leading institutions of higher
education in the region, Southern Illinois University
at Carbondale and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
are well equipped to accomplish this goal," Poshard
Creators of the grant said the program will increase
the overall achievement of all students, while also identifying
and providing additional instruction and support for students
who may be at-risk for experiencing educational difficulties.
“The center will support schools in designing a
system that provides a true continuum of services between
general education and special education,” said Melissa
Bergstrom, principal grant writer and assistant professor
of Special Education and Communication Disorders at SIU
“The center will focus on increasing the achievement
of all students by focusing on strategic instruction for
In partnership with Bergrstom in creation of the grant
proposal were: Michael McCollum, director of SASED; Phil
Weishaar, director of the Perandoe (Perry, Randolph, Monroe
counties) Special Education Cooperative; Mary Weishaar,
SIUE Special Education Program Director; Victoria Scott,
an associate professor of Special Education and Communication
Disorders at SIUE; Elliott Lessen, dean of the SIUE School
of Education; Nancy Mundschenk, associate professor of
Educational Psychology and Special Education at SIU Carbondale;
Regina Foley, also an associate professor at SIUC; Patricia
Elmore, dean of the SIUC College of Education and Human
Services; John Davis, director of the Saluki Kids Program
at SIUC; Christy Magnuson, director of the Belleville
Area Special Services Cooperative; Marc Kiehna, superintendent
of the Monroe/Randolph Regional Office of Education; Rebecca
Keim, superintendent of the Chester Community School District;
Linda Nelson, director of JAMP Special Education Services,
and Deb Einhorn, director of Family Matters.
Bergstrom said the initiative will begin with an “integration
of knowledge and skills” into the education curriculum
at SIUE and SIUC.
The center will be co-directed by Bergstrom and McCollum.
Mundschenk and Foley will be serving as regional coordinators
at SIUC, and Susan Claflin, assistant professor of Special
Education and Communication Disorders at SIUE, will be
serving as a regional coordinator. Einhorn and Scott will
be working as parent coordinators, and Ann Schwarm will
be the standards aligned curriculum coordinator. Ken Hill
will be conducting the evaluation of the projects.
Under the program guidelines, Bergstrom said, schools
may submit a competitive application to work in partnership
with the center. “Schools will select representative
teams to participate in the center’s training series,”
Bergstrom said. “These teams will have the charge
of implementing the new practices and procedures in their
“The school teams will receive extensive follow-up
support throughout the funding period because educational
systems change often requires at least 3-5 years of support.
During this time,” she said, “school teams
and parents will receive on-going training and consultation.
Also, extensive data will be collected to ascertain the
effectiveness of the activities in increasing the school’s
performance and students’ achievement.”
The center will also be working with institutions of
higher education across Southern Illinois “to integrate
the cutting-edge practices of the Center” into the
curriculum for future educators, Bergstrom explained.
“This will impact the education of future teachers,
school administrators, school psychologists, school social
workers, counselors, and speech and language therapists
in order to better prepare them to become leaders in improving