Additional US partners include organizations in MN and AZ that focus on the inclusion of persons with disabilities that will provide 4-6 week placements for fellows. These organizations include: PACER Center, Arc Minnesota, Arc Greater Twin Cities, Merrick Inc., Outcomes, While Bear Lake Public Schools, Rosemount/Eagan/Apple Valley Public Schools, Advocating Change Together, Phoenix Sister Cities Program.
US Department State
Brian Abery and Renáta Tichá
Enables high school students with and without disabilities, and their educators, from the U.S. and Costa Rica to learn and serve together while enhancing their cultural understanding, global competency, and leadership skills. This inclusive service learning project pairs 33 students - 12 of whom have disabilities - from the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley (a public high school on the grounds of the Minnesota Zoo) with 17 students from a Liceo de Poás high school in Costa Rica's Alajuela region. The students from Minnesota and Costa Rica study environment and climate change, and are developing a collaborative service learning projects to address a need in those areas. In July and August 2014, the Minnesota students spent three weeks in Costa Rica working with the students there on their service learning collaborative project. The project takes the inclusive service learning program developed at ICI and applies it to a new cultural context, thus expanding its inclusive component to another level of diversity.
Brian Abery, Renáta Tichá and Anastasia Mamaeva
Establishes a partnership between the University of Minnesota (UMN) and Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University (KSPU), Russia, to develop and evaluate a system of formative assessment suited for use with students with significant disabilities (e.g. intellectual and multiple disabilities). Given the special learning needs of such students, teachers in both countries are struggling to meaningfully assess academic progress in basic subjects. In this project, University faculty at UMN and KSPU conduct joint research to develop and evaluate the technical properties of a technology-assisted, curriculum-based system of assessment designed to meaningfully assess students with significant disabilities.
US-India Education Foundation
Brian Abery, Renáta Tichá, Premavathy Vijayan and Victoria Naomi
Fosters university-, district- and school-level partnerships between India and the U.S., using the Response to Intervention (RTI) education framework. RTI is a model for a school-wide process that helps teachers ensure that all their students, including students with disabilities, are making adequate academic progress. In this project, ICI's Brian Abery and Renáta Tichá will travel to India to work with the schools in the Coimbatore district and faculty from Avinashilingam University on delivering training, technical assistance, and mentoring for their faculty in effective implementation of RTI and its impact on successful inclusion of students with disabilities. Indian faculty will come to Minnesota to see how Minnesota schools have adapted RTI to their needs. And the collaborating Coimbatore schools will serve as model demonstration sites for other schools in Tamil Nadu, building local capacity and allowing for potential scale-up.
Renáta Tichá, Brian Abery, Christopher Johsntone, Susan O’Connor and Jerry Smith
Builds a sustainable partnership between the University of Minnesota and Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU), the only university in that central Asian country that trains both general and special education personnel. Armenia is making education more inclusive, triggering a critical need in the country for training, knowledge dissemination, and technical assistance to assist with this endeavor. In this project, the partnering universities will collaborate to ensure that inclusive education practices that were proven in the U.S. can be adapted to Armenia and their usability and feasibility understood there. The collaboration will conduct gap analysis of current needs and inclusive practices in ASPU's education and special education coursework, introduce ASPU faculty to inclusive practices in Minnesota, and build an online learning community (Inclusion Portal). Staff from the two universities will visit each other's countries. The project will also produce a film documenting Armenia's progress towards inclusive education.