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JUSTICE_Kagen_WorkshopThe JUSTICE Project is a Canisius College program funded through the U.S. Department of Special Education Programs. This $1.4 million grant supports professional development and resources to improve outcomes for students with mild disabilities in high-needs schools. JUSTICE is an acronym for Justice for Underserved Students: Teacher Preparation in Inclusive Classroom Environments. The JUSTICE Project provides teacher candidates, faculty and area K-12 teachers with opportunities to learn about and address the critical issues presented in today’s classrooms. The work of the project affords opportunities to build partnerships and work collaboratively with stakeholders to promote best practices in education.

The project’s scope of work is driven by 11 elements that are critical in improving education for children with special needs. These include using data to make decisions, teaching literacy, evidence-based practice, response to intervention, culturally relevant teaching, families, universal design for learning, assistive technology, collaboration with general educators, and positive behavior intervention and supports. The JUSTICE Project’s initiatives include research, enhancement of the Special Education Program curriculum, professional development for K-12 teachers, and integration of assistive technology into classrooms. The 2015-2016 Professional Development Series highlights evidence-based practices to improve behavioral and academic outcomes for all students.  Attendance at the program promotes a proactive approach to address classroom management and disciplinary issues for students with emotional and behavioral concerns. Data from JUSTICE Project research can be used to assess and evaluate behavioral interventions so that teachers work collaboratively with parents to promote cohesive behavior support systems.

Marya Grande, PhD, associate professor of education and undergraduate special education coordinator, is the principal investigator for the grant. Michele Marable, PhD, professor of education and chair, and Kelly Harper, PhD, associate professor of education, are co-principal investigators for the grant.  Any of these faculty members can provide additional information about the grant and the projects it is funding.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs