Communicative Sciences and Disorders

“A Training Program in Speech-Language Pathology for Scholars to Work in High Poverty Schools”

In 2015, the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders was awarded a $1.26 million grant from the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to train Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). A minimum of twenty-four (24) high achieving scholars, selected over a period of three years, will receive scholarships for graduate education and must commit to at least three years of employment in a high poverty and/or low achieving urban or rural school. This grant aims to mitigate the persistent shortage of school-based SLPs. In so doing, it also addresses the “Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)” (2004) mandate that all school districts have enough SLPs to meet the needs of every special education student requiring speech/language services.

The training program is a two-year program that requires completion of fifty-one (51) credit hours including the completion and presentation/publication of a research project in an area pertaining to language, literacy, and poverty. Each scholar must also achieve a score of at least 84% on the graduate comprehensive examination. A seminar series has been implemented and a course on language, literacy, and poverty will be added to the curriculum. Additional specialized training is achieved through field trips, clinical experiences, coursework for identified classes, and other activities that highlight the conditions and immense needs of children in historically low achieving, high poverty schools. Diversity training and cultural immersion experiences derived from evidence-based practices are integrated into coursework, research projects, and clinical experiences to ensure the achievement of cultural competence.