UTEP receives grant to go towards special education, school counseling graduate students


From left to right: Carleton Brown, Beverley Argus-Calvo, Anjanette Todd, and Kristopher Yeager. The UTEP colleagues work together on a team to train graduates who will serve K-12 public schools and to help students with disabilities.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP is helping school counseling and special education graduate students finance their education thanks to a five-year one million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant intends to give these students more access to enhanced technical instruction and supervision support.

Project BLESSED (Bringing Leadership in Education: School Counselor and Special Educator Development) will boost the UTEP College of Education’s ability to train graduates who will serve K-12 public school students with disabilities who have high-intensity mental health or social-emotional learning needs.

 “This wonderful grant and Project BLESSED come at the exact right time. The impact of COVID-19 has been profound for the well-being of children in El Paso, and this grant will enable school counseling and special education students to enhance their preparation and expertise, which in turn will empower their ability to serve K-12 students throughout our region.”

Clifton Tanabe, dean of utep college of education

This grant’s co-principal investigators are assistant professor, Kristopher Yeager and, associate professor, Carleton Brown. Both professors are from the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Services. Department colleagues Beverley Argus-Calvo and Anjanette Todd are also on the team.

The grant is especially important today because of COVID-19’s impact on the social-emotional well-being of K-12 students, Yeager said.

According to the Texas Education Agency’s 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report, 20,443 students – or about 11.7% of registered students in the Region 19 Education Service Center – had a disability.

“Our goal is to provide professionals with the necessary tools to confront these ongoing challenges in the years to come,” Yeager said.

“We are grateful for this opportunity, and pleased to say that this grant helps us meet the spirit of UTEP’s dedication to excellence, access, community engagement, and impact for our scholars and the community.”

Carleton Brown, UTEP associate professor

The grant is another step in the college’s overarching mission to provide students with the best programming possible to enhance the region’s well-being, UTEP officials said.

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