Illustration of faces showing different emotions, all drawn on a lined sheet of notebook paper

MINRS project to help children needing additional support to succeed

by Claire Miller

College of Education & Human Development Associate Professor Stephen Truscott received a five-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs for the Multi-level Interventions for Non-Responders (MINRS) project, which will prepare school psychologists to work with children with special needs in both special and general education classrooms who require concentrated effort and additional supports to succeed.

Truscott will work with fellow college faculty members and co-principal investigators Joel Meyers and Catherine Perkins; the Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management; the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence; the Center for Leadership in Disability in Georgia State’s School of Public Health; and four local school districts – Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Schools, Fulton County Schools and Marietta City Schools – to recruit, train and support 40 scholars dedicated to providing behavioral and mental health services to diverse special education students who do not respond to existing school supports.

“Although some improvement in educational and mental health outcomes for students at risk for placement in special education has been made, much less emphasis has been given to students who do not respond to interventions once they are identified as having a disability,” Truscott said. “There is a continuing need for data-based assessment and intervention for students in special education to ensure they progress academically and behaviorally.”

School psychology students in the MINRS project will complete a one-year practicum and a one-year internship placement in local schools, where they’ll work with a school-based mentor to provide interventions to students who need targeted mental health counseling and behavioral interventions.

Students and their mentors will also attend the National Association of School Psychologists conference annually and have access to professional development sessions on topics related to school psychology – allowing both parties to learn how best to support special education students and share their findings with others working in the same field.

“Our goal is to leverage our cross-disciplinary resources and expertise to address long-standing issues in education that no one agency or discipline can tackle on its own,” Truscott said.