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Leveraging Federal Funds to Strengthen and Support the Educator Workforce

Laurie VanderPloeg, Valerie Williams, Ruth Ryder, Brenda Calderon, Sarah Allen, Jennifer Coffey, Daniel Schreier
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About This Video

Schools across the country are struggling to find staff. Regardless of the geography, the problem is the same; however, the situation is more severe in certain subject areas, such as mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education, and in schools with larger percentages of students with high needs. Staffing in special education has been a challenge for decades and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) are committed to supporting districts and schools across the country in addressing educator shortages and meeting student needs. Recently, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urged states and districts to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) funds to implement short- and long-term strategies to address educator shortages.

In this session, staff from OESE and OSEP will review how grantees can leverage federal funds to attract, prepare, and retain an effective and diverse workforce by sequencing, blending, and braiding IDEA funds, as well as funds made available through the CARES, CRRSA and ARP Acts. OESE and OSEP staff will demonstrate how states and local education agencies can use these funds to strengthen existing programs and develop new programs to support our educators of today and tomorrow.


  • Laurie VanderPloeg, Council for Exceptional Children
  • Valerie Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Ruth Ryder, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Formula Grants, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Brenda Calderon, Special Assistant for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Sarah Allen, Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Jennifer Coffey, Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Daniel Schreier, Office of the Director, Office of Special Education Programs

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Combatting Shortages of Educators Serving Students With Disabilities

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the CEEDAR Center have collaborated with national partners and practitioners to produce a 12-part webinar series focused on evidence-based strategies to strengthen and diversify the special education workforce.

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