With Clark County School District (CCSD) as one of the fifth largest diverse school districts in the nation facing a teacher shortage, training programs to prepare students to understand and respond to exceptionalities and diversity is critical. Project CULTURED, which stands for College and University Leaders Trained to Understand and Respond to Exceptionalities and Diversity, is one such federally-funded program aimed towards preparing future leaders for work in CCSD. The expected outcomes of the project are to prepare graduates to: (a) work at colleges and universities, (b) conduct high quality research in urban public schools, and (c) provide high quality teacher education of teachers to target the achievement of this population in urban settings.
Project CULTURED is a federal grant intended to develop doctoral scholars in research, teaching, and service as it relates to the provision of access to college and career readiness standards, especially for students with disabilities identified as English Language Learners. The five-year training program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education for $1.03 million, is intended to recruit and retain high quality doctoral students through the provision of support for tuition, stipends, travel money, research funds, and professional organization membership.
In addition to their doctoral studies, scholars funded through Project CULTURED participate in a series of internship activities designed to enhance and expand their understanding of conducting high quality research in urban public school settings. Project CULTURED scholars are also involved in an urban public school research internship during the four years of their program, in which they shadow the administrators and teachers on the school campus to develop a thorough understanding of the variables that impact research in urban public school environments. The first year of their internship is focused on developing a thorough understanding of the variables impacting urban research. The second and third years of this internship will focus on developing a pilot study to address the academic and behavioral outcomes of high needs students with disabilities, and then bringing that study to scale. Finally, they teach a series of courses and serve on various committees to fully understand the role the academy plays in public school educational policy.
The seven doctoral scholars funded through Project CULTURED are as follows: Kathy Ewoldt, Matthew Love, Sarah Murphy, Heike Ruedenauer-Plummer, Dominique Tetzlaff, Kristan Withey, Katelyn Zirkus.
Dr. Joseph Morgan, Assistant Professor, serves as the Principal Investigator of the grant, with Drs. Kyle Higgins (Co-Principal Investigator), Joshua Baker, and Tracy Spies serving on the project team. Team members are faculty in the Department of Educational and Clinical Studies.