Secretary Rivera Announces Grants to Benefit Deaf-Blind Students (October 10, 2018)

On Friday, October 5th, PA Education Secretary Pedro Rivera announced that the Commonwealth will receive a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to improve services to students who are deaf and blind. According to Rivera, “This funding will provide resources to schools, educators, and families to help them provide equitable instruction to students who are deaf-blind.”
Currently, PA educates 602 deaf and blind students from birth to 21 years old and have varying degrees of hearing and vision loss, which are often complicated by other disabilities.
According to the PDE, the Bureau of Special Education applied for the federal funds to implement the state’s Deaf-Blind Project, which provides resources to support schools, educators and families of those students. Rivera said the project is designed to address the complex needs of educators and families through a multi-tiered system, including implementing a regional model using the state’s intermediate units to establish deaf-blind resource teams; providing qualified paraprofessionals and interveners with training geared toward addressing needs of deaf-blind students; and facilitating family participation and engagement strategies to connect them with state and national resources. It will also evaluate education and employment outcomes for deaf-blind students.