Explore UAB

The UAB School of Education Receives a $1.14 Million grant to recruit, train, and retain special education teachers and school psychometrists in Birmingham Metro Area Schools.

Deborah Voltz, Ed.D., professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Education and director of the UAB Center for Urban Education, along with assistant professor and school psychometry program coordinator Stephanie Corcoran, Ph.D., have received a $1.14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. The Interdisciplinary Preparation of Professionals in Special Education (IPPSE) is a five-year grant focused on recruiting, training, and retaining special education teachers and school psychometrists in targeted school districts in the Birmingham Metro Area.

Voltz and Corcoran are partnering with Birmingham City Schools, Bessemer City Schools, and Tarrant City Schools through IPPSE to train 20 special education teachers and ten school psychometrists using a collaborative, interdisciplinary model.

IPPSE participants

will receive tuition and other support to facilitate their success during program completion and their initial years of practice.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to implement IPPSE with our school district partners,” said Voltz. “Together, we will expand the pool of fully-certified special educators who are well-prepared to promote the academic success of students with disabilities.”

During the recruitment phase of the grant, faculty in UAB’s special education program will work collaboratively with school district partners in reaching out to potential participants. School district employees, such as paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, will receive program information and invitations to follow-up sessions at school sites within the partner districts.

IPPSE’s program of study can be completed in approximately two calendar years and delivered in both in-person and online formats designed for those who work full-time and need part-time study after work hours. Coursework targeted to the IPPSE cohort will be co-taught by UAB special education faculty and master educators from the partnering school districts. Every training team will include a particular education expert and a school psychometry expert, thus exemplifying the interdisciplinary nature of the program.

“A major component of IPPSE is learning to work together as collaborative interdisciplinary teams,” said Corcoran. “The IPPSE scholars will learn to synthesize the discipline-specific expertise of each team member by obscuring the boundaries that typically divide the fields to jointly solve problems, plan, and implement effective evidence-based interventions for children with disabilities.

Given the personnel shortages in education, particularly in special education, the need for IPPSE is significant. The grant’s participants will graduate ready to succeed in a critical area of demand and make an essential difference in the lives of P-12 students with disabilities in the Birmingham Metro Area.

For more information about the grant, contact Deborah Voltz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..