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Mount St. Joseph University Educators Receive Education Grant

Young, smiling teacher in her classroomTwo professors of education at Mount St. Joseph University, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education and University of Cincinnati School Psychology program, have been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to work with three local school districts on improving the literacy of students with or at risk for dyslexia.

The U.S. Department of Education Model Demonstration Projects for Early Identification of Students with Dyslexia Grant was awarded to a team led by the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Approaches to Teaching and Professional Learning in collaboration with Amy Murdoch and Wendy Strickler, professors of reading science at the Mount.

“Literacy is truly the foundation of a solid education,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in announcing the grant. “By helping children learn and by meeting their unique needs, Ohio’s teachers are giving children the opportunity to ultimately pursue their dreams. These grants will help establish model programs that could be replicated across the state.”

The grant will support a four-year partnership to provide professional development, technical assistance, and dissemination to improve services and results for children at risk for reading difficulty through a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, or MTSS, framework. It will also be used to develop model demonstration projects for early identification of students at risk for dyslexia, providing guidelines for assessment in the context of instruction.

“A federal grant of this amount for a smaller institution of our size places The Mount and its contributions to society among those of larger research institutions,” said Laura Saylor, the Mount’s dean of education and assistant professor. “The awarding of this grant greatly acknowledges the work of The School of Education as a model of teacher preparation with highly sought-after programs and experts. Further, and because it has a focus on changing the lives of all children, including those living in poverty, it highlights the university’s leadership in addressing issues surrounding the intersection of education and social justice.”

“This grant provides an opportunity to work with three Ohio Schools to establish a process for ensuring effective support for all learners, and then determine a process and guidelines for identification of dyslexia within the context of strong instruction and data-based decision making. It provides an opportunity for The Mount to have a role in guiding decision making regarding dyslexia to ensure a comprehensive look at students, their needs, and their instructional environment to advocate for a socially just approach to disability identification,” said Strickler.

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