Project RIIPL (Rural Interdisciplinary, Interconnected Practitioner-Leader), a $1.6 million grant funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), will train 20 special education and school psychology practitioner-leaders with specific expertise in rural education settings, interdisciplinary collaboration, and integrating mental health, social, emotional and behavioral supports to students at-risk for and with high-intensity needs.

To accomplish this primary goal, project requirements will be integrated across three principal training objectives: (a) collaborate with a variety of stakeholders and lead interdisciplinary efforts in education agencies; (b) lead the implementation of individualized and differentiated intervention to promote high expectations for students with significant social, emotional, and behavioral needs; and (c) conduct high-quality, evidence-based assessment.

We will train 20 (10 special education and 10 school psychology) practitioner-leaders through their Ed.S. programs to serve as school and district leaders in the multitiered Interconnected Systems Framework (i.e., mental health, social, emotional, behavioral programming). Each student will receive funding and tuition support for 2 years of coursework with special ed students earning their degree at the end of 2 years and school psych students getting theirs at the end of their internship or 3rd years. Students will collaboratively complete course assignments and clinical placements in pairs. The project will be evaluated using qualitative and quantitative formative and summative assessments conducted by an external evaluator experienced in program evaluation.

Sara McDaniel, professor of collaborative special education, will serve as the principal investigator/project director.  Co-PIs include Daniel Cohen (assistant professor of school psychology), Laci Watkins (assistant professor of autism and collaborative special education), June Preast (assistant professor of school psychology), and Lucy Barnard-Brak (associate professor, University Autism Cluster).

For more information, contact Sara McDaniel:

  • Recruitment began October 2020
  • Enrollment will begin in Spring 2021
  • Coursework will begin Fall 2021