The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education has awarded the Education School a $1 million dollar grant for their program “Leaders for Tomorrow’s Children.” The program looks to improve graduate-level education in early childhood education and development. Education professors Tina Stanton-Chapman, Stan Trent and LaVae Hoffman received the award — one of ten presented to various programs across the country. U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education awarded the Curry School a $1 million dollar grant for their program “Leaders for Tomorrow’s Children.” The program looks to improve graduate-level education in early childhood education and development. “[The program aims] to support individuals who are invested in early childhood special education,” Stanton-Chapman said. Leaders for Tomorrow’s Children works to both increase the number of graduate students training in special education and, in turn, produce more professors that can conduct research to prepare undergraduates and graduate students who can successfully serve infants, toddlers and preschool children and their families. “Through the Curry School of Education’s relationships, each Leaders for Tomorrow’s Children student will have the unique opportunity to partner with agencies and school districts that serve children from high-poverty and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” Trent said in a press release. The program seeks to expand the amount of doctoral students who study early childhood special education and give them more opportunities to conduct research in the field. “We hope to recruit students from diverse backgrounds who currently have a master’s degree in early childhood education, early childhood special education, communication disorders, special education or a closely related field,” Hoffman said. The current special education doctoral program allows students to study either mild disabilities or early childhood education. “Seventy-five percent of the grant’s budget is targeted for students,” Stanton-Chapman said. “Students receive full-tuition support for all years of the program, a stipend, funds to travel to one research-related conference per year and research funds to support student-initiated research.” Students who enroll in the program will complete all the courses required of the special education doctoral program, but they will also take four grant-required seminars with a focus in early childhood and diversity. The full-time doctoral program is a four-year commitment. Students will work with an agency, center or public school with early special education services each semester. Education Graduate student Lindsey Rabideau is currently enrolled in the program, and Stanton-Chapman said three or four more are expected to enroll in the fall.