Loyola faculty receive grant to help develop courses for special education leaders – Newsroom

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February 23, 2021 | By Molly Robey

Left to right: Irene Bal, lecturer in the Educational Technology Program, and Kelly Keane, Ed.D., senior lecturer and director of the Educational Technology Program


Irene Bal, lecturer in the Educational Technology Program, and Kelly Keane, Ed.D., senior lecturer and director of the Educational Technology Program at Loyola University Maryland, have been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Division of Early Intervention/Special Education Services. The grant will assist with the design, development, and pilot testing of four to five fully online micro-credential courses to address Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and support IEP chairpersons in Maryland public schools. The support from this grant is focused on narrowing the gap for children and youth with disabilities and their families by focusing on access, equity, and progress through a credentialing system for IEP chairs. 

“Through competency-based learning, we are creating systems to ensure IEP chairperson who go through this program can demonstrate the skills needed to communicate, collaborate, and facilitate IEPs in both in-person and online environments,” said Keane.  

These micro-credentials for Maryland Special Education Services Chairs will support special education school leaders in navigating the legal requirements for IEPs, quality components of IEPs, and the communication, facilitation, coaching and information dissemination of the IEP process through the lens of their local school system in Maryland.

Bal and Keane will partner with the MSDE, Division of Early Intervention/Special Education Services, and the Maryland Coalition of Inclusive Education to develop and launch this new series of courses. The courses will be designed through the spring and summer of 2021 with a pilot test including 50 Maryland IEP chairpersons beginning in fall 2021. The grant, “Micro-Credentials for Maryland Special Education Services Chairs – Addressing Best Practices for Leading IEP Meetings,” will run through February 2022.

“We are excited to work with our partners to support Maryland students and families for equitable access to learning,” said Bal. “Through this partnership, we will create courses that focus on the legal components of IEPs and support IEP chairpersons in the communication and collaboration skills needed in this socially distanced learning environment.”

More about Loyola’s Educational Technology Program

Loyola’s Educational Technology graduate program is designed to assist students with becoming educational technology leaders at the school and district level by emphasizing a conscientious approach to technology that goes beyond the latest trends. Loyola’s comprehensive course of study blends practical applications of technology integration—whether developing, implementing, or administering technological resources or curriculum—with ethical, philosophical, and theoretical perspectives. Students gain hands-on experience and opportunities to pursue educational technology research and scholarship, as well as strategies to improve pedagogy and instructional practice. Loyola’s M.Ed. program is nationally recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education.

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