Federal Grant Funds Equitable Programming Initiative for Children with Disabilities and from Underserved Populations
In partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), the United States Department of Education (USDOE) awarded Eastern Michigan University (EMU) more than $2.5 million over the next five years to support the expansion of DPSCD’s Gifted and Talented (GATE) program.
Supported by Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented federal grant, the Matter of Equity 2.0 (MoE2.0) Gifted and Talented Project seeks to be a catalyst for greater change for gifted and talented youth in Southeast Michigan. The project centers on underrepresented children, who may be racially and culturally marginalized, economically disadvantaged, English Language Learners (ELL), and or students with disabilities (also known as 2e).
“We invest a lot of resources in supporting students who are below grade level but there are a number of our students who need academic acceleration. We are not a monolithic District with one type of student. This grant recognizes our initial work to restore gifted and talented programming in the District and will allow us to continue to develop the capacity of our staff to better serve all students,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent.
The Matter of Equity 2.0 Gifted and Talented Project includes three overarching components within DPSCD:
- Professional development for teachers to increase identification and education of Twice Exceptional (2e) student learners who may have a disability and are also gifted and talented;
- Professional development, coaching and enhanced capacity for ancillary/support services staff (such as counselors, social workers, and psychologists) to be able to increase identification of and provisions for services to 2e students and;
- Professional development to promote equity in student access to educational resources and opportunities.
“This grant will allow Detroit Public Schools Community District to expand our equitable opportunities to students through building sustainable professional learning communities (PLC’s) with specific and ongoing professional development as well as increased and expanded access to the curriculum,” said Lohren Carter-Nzoma, Assistant Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District. Nzoma is the leader of DPSCD’s Office of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) at one time referred to as Special Education. “We owe this to our students.”
“The DPSCD Board of Education continues our commitment to the action of implementing our core values including equity and our priority of Outstanding Achievement by expanding the academic experience for our students. Reigniting Gifted Education practices in DPSCD underlines this commitment,” said Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill, Vice President, DPSCD Board of Education.
Other educational institutions in the partnership include Roeper Institute, a Detroit area based not-for-profit corporation, Wayne State University (Detroit, MI), Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Georgia), Wayne County, MI Regional Education Service (Wayne RESA) and Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI).
The Javits Gifted and Talented Children and Youth Act of 1987 directs the U.S. Secretary of Education to make grants and contracts for programs and projects designed to meet educational needs of gifted and talented children and youth, including the training of teachers and their supervisors. It is named after Jacob Javits, a renowned American lawyer and politician, who represented the state of New York in both houses of the United States Congress along with serving as the state’s Attorney General.
“The Javits Grant will center educational equity with underrepresented/underserved in Southeast Michigan and pave the way for Detroit Public Schools Community District to be a statewide leader in gifted and talented education,” said Angie Mann-Williams, Eastern Michigan University School of Social Work.