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Southwest RDPC Receives Major Grant to Increase Student Learning

Credit: Eric Cuthbert/Flickr

The Southwest Regional Professional Development Center, also known as Southwest RPDC, recently received a grant of over $1.3 million from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). KSMU’s Julie Greene spoke with the center’s coordinator about the importance of the funding.  

Southwest RPDC works alongside local school districts to provide teachers and administrators with resources and expertise through a variety of programs taught by skilled individuals. Some of these programs funded by the grant include special education aid, subject area expertise and assisting blind or visually-impaired students.  

Dr. Rick Breault is the organization’s coordinator.

“Every initiative we go and help schools implement has to be tied back to student learning, especially the focus on special ed. and college and career readiness. The emphasis largely is on the kids who might have underserved or might not have had their needs addressed at an earlier time. Most of what we do is really focused on trying to bring those kids up especially,” Breault said.

The Southwest RPDC is one of nine professional development centers in Missouri, and without this grant money, Breault says, smaller area school districts would suffer. 

“In a time when local school budgets are being cut, federal and state money is really uncertain. I think this money is crucial because it allows us to provide opportunities and resources to schools that they simply couldn’t afford anymore. Schools are being asked to do more and more with less and less money and resources and time, and so the centers really try to help fill in some of the gaps the schools can’t do because of the limitations they’re working under,” Breault said.

To learn more about the Southwest RPDC, visit their website, www.education.missouristate.edu/rpdc.

For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.