May 28 2024

Coppin State University Awarded $1.2 Million to Train Diverse Special Educators in Maryland

BALTIMORE – Coppin State University received a personnel preparation grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education. This $1.2 million grant will fund Project Special Educators Qualified to Uplift Exceptional Learners (SEQUEL), which aims to improve literacy, math, and social-emotional outcomes for school-age children with disabilities, particularly those who are children of color or multilingual.  

Project SEQUEL will provide 20 diverse rural scholars with the coursework and experiences necessary to earn a B.S. in Special Education and initial certification to teach students with disabilities in grades 1-8. This initiative will not only provide high-quality education to students with disabilities but also promote diversity and inclusion within the educational workforce, addressing critical gaps in representation.   

A recent article in The Baltimore Sun highlighted the importance of initiatives like Project SEQUEL. The article noted a slight increase in the number of Black and Hispanic or Latino teachers over the past five years, with current rates at 20.4% and 4.7%, respectively. However, there remains a 36-percentage-point gap between students of color and teachers of color statewide, underscoring the urgent need for more diverse educators in our community. 

Nicole Anthony, Ph.D., SEQUEL project director, explains, "Project SEQUEL is the next logical step to build on our current 325M grant, Project POSE (Preparing Outstanding Special Educators). Project POSE provides a high-quality pathway to initial certification in special education for candidates from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who live in high-need, urban school districts. Both projects respond to the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, prioritizing the recruitment and retention of a highly qualified and diverse teacher workforce." 

Co-principal investigators Nicole Anthony, Ph.D., and Anita Weisburger, Ph.D., from the Coppin State University School of Education, are leading this transformative initiative. They will collaborate with the Center on Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to provide SEQUEL scholars specialized training on the foundations and implementation of MTSS, focusing on screening, progress monitoring, multi-level prevention systems, and data-based decision making. 

The first cohort of 10 future educators will begin their studies at Coppin State University during the 2024-25 academic year, with an expected graduation in Spring 2026. The second cohort of 10 students will start in Fall 2026 and complete the program in Spring 2028. 

Prospective students interested in the program should contact Nicole Anthony, Ph.D., at 410-951-6448 or

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CherRae Dickerson
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