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Queens College Receives $1.25M Federal Grant for Teaching Children with Autism in High-Needs Communities

--Will Address Critical Shortage of Qualified Teachers and Support Services

for Preschoolers from Diverse Backgrounds --

FLUSHING, NY, November 28, 2011—Queens College Professor of Educational and Community Programs Peishi Wang has received a five-year, $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide education and support services to preschoolers with autism and other disabilities in high-needs communities in Queens.  Beginning in 2012, QC will receive $250,000 in funding to be renewed annually, which will be used to recruit and train 48 graduate special education teachers.

According to Wang, 60% of the borough’s children under three years old who are developmentally disabled come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“This grant will directly address the critical shortage of highly qualified, early childhood special education teachers and behavioral support services in these communities,” says Wang.

The funding for this program, called I-CARE (Culturally Aligned and Responsive Early Intervention), will cover intensive training courses, student financial assistance, field experiences and internships at community sites, peer and professional mentoring, conferences, membership in professional organizations and job search assistance.  Upon completion of the training, 26 of these students will have earned a Master’s of Science in Education degree, New York State Certification in early childhood special education and Board-Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) Certification.  The other 22 students will have earned a Post-Masters degree in early childhood special education.

Peishi Wang has worked for many years with preschool children with developmental disabilities.  Her research focuses on comparison studies of families of young children with special needs in the U.S. and China and the development of social intervention programs for children with autism.  She recently returned from China where she worked with five QC grad students in special education to help create special classes for these children.


The Queens College Education Division is a national leader in urban education--well positioned by its geography, cultural diversity, and reputation for exemplary research and practice in preparing teachers, leaders, and counselors for their careers in urban schools. With 97 registered, rigorous programs preparing teachers and other school professionals for New York State certification, QC educates more teachers in the New York metropolitan and the tri-state area than any other college. The division is continuously redesigning its programs to meet the needs of urban schools while its faculty focuses their research on developing best practices to improve student achievement. Its Center for the Improvement of Education is dedicated to partnering the college with schools and other agencies to provide equitable educational opportunities for culturally, ethnically, and economically diverse populations.

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