Coppin State University announced on Wednesday that it received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to support and train special education teachers in Maryland.
The program is called Project POSE (Preparing Outstanding Special Educators) and its goal is to improve overall reading, math, and social emotional outcomes for school-age children with disabilities, including children of color and those who are multi-lingual. POSE will train and support nearly two dozen students earning the certifications and credentials they need to teach students with disabilities in grades 1 through 8 in Maryland.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) reported that in 2022, 12 percent of students in Maryland public schools had a disability. Additionally, 64 percent of students with learning disabilities were children of color, and 50 percent with emotional disabilities were Black or African American children.
Coppin State University, a public HBCU, has deep roots as a school that trains educators. When it was founded in 1900, it was specifically founded as a school for Black educators whose namesake, Fanny Jackson Coppin was a teacher and principal herself who had blazed a trail from being born into slavery to becoming the first African American woman to lead an institution of higher learning (The Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia), and was the first African American school superintendent in the United States.
“Coppin State was founded as a training ground for those who educate generations of students. It is only natural that we continue that tradition by developing a model of excellence for inclusive education and fill a need that exists across our state,” said Anthony L. Jenkins, president of Coppin State University. “Training more teachers from diverse backgrounds helps build connections with our children, bolster their confidence, improve their academic achievement, and provide them with skills that will help them thrive well into adulthood.”
“Assistant Professors Nicole Anthony, Ph.D. and Anita Weisburger, Ph.D. of the Coppin State University School of Education will lead Project POSE and will work with the National Center on Intensive Intervention to strengthen the existing special education curriculum at Coppin State University to include additional evidence-based and best practices critical to the development of all school-aged children with disabilities,” read the press release announcing the award.
Upon completion of the degree program, educators will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in special education. They will also have the benefit of professional development opportunities, diverse field experiences, and mentorship.
The first cohort will consist of ten future educators, beginning their studies at Coppin State University during the 2024-2025 academic year, and are expected to graduate in Spring 2026. The second cohort will enter Coppin State in Fall 2025, with expected graduation in Spring 2027.
Prospective students interested in the program should contact Nicole Anthony, Ph.D. at 410.951.6448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.