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By Jane Sevier
A five-year, $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs will continue funding of the IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development. The center, founded in 2001, bridges the research-to-practice gap through a free, interactive website that translates research about the education of students with disabilities into practice. Created in collaboration with nationally recognized researchers and education experts, IRIS resources address instructional and behavioral issues of critical importance to today’s educators.
The grant enables IRIS to provide instructional resources about evidence-based practices in education and to disseminate them through its open-access website. The new center grant will also provide technical assistance and training on how to use these resources effectively in educator-preparation courses and programs, in school and district professional development, and in personalized learning for individual teachers and other school staff.
“IRIS resources are used in most of our nation’s educator preparation programs, in more than 1,500 colleges and universities,” says IRIS Center Project Director Naomi Tyler, associate professor of the practice in the Department of Special Education. “Every day, thousands of teachers use our self-paced instructional resources for professional development and personalized learning. Our materials are a trusted resource, and we’re thankful that IRIS will continue to provide them to educators so that they have access to the information that they need.”