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Central Washington University

CWU’s Special Education Technology Center Awarded $360K

November 28, 2012

ELLENSBURG, Wash. —Central Washington University’s Special Education Technology Center (SETC) has again received a $360,000 grant to support assistive technology in K-12 public schools. This grant comes from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to assist the SETC in its statewide needs project.

The SETC provides all 296 public school districts in Washington State with training, technologies, and services that assist students with special educational needs. It also provides services to the families of these students through their child’s school district.

The grant is the SETC’s primary funding source. The SETC uses it to cover costs for disseminating information, providing consultations to school districts, stocking and maintaining its assistive technology lending library, and offering in-service trainings ranging from full-day conferences to webinars and tech support.

“The SETC is the only assistive technology resource in the state that focuses specifically on K-12 public schools,” says Jerry Connolly, SETC director. “Our purpose is to ensure that students with special educational needs have the opportunity to learn and receive an education appropriate to their needs and abilities. Without the SETC, school districts and families would have to rely on philanthropy, private funds, or state services like [the Department of Social and Health Services].”

The SETC is one of six projects that the OSPI funds to support special education within Washington State. Each project focuses on a different facet of special education, such as assistive technology, distance training, or autism support. The SETC has training centers in Ellensburg, Federal Way, and Spokane. It also provides training and service sessions via webinar and teleconference.

“Travel is expensive,” says Connolly. “The distance technologies we use allow us to serve every school district in Washington without hefty travel costs."

The SETC also has several part-time assistive technology specialists with backgrounds in speech therapy and occupational therapy, who are located across the state.  These employees provide consultation and hands-on technical assistance involving communication and physical access needs that can be addressed with technology interventions.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu