Wilkes-Barre, Pa., July 25, 2022—King’s College has been awarded a $295,794 PAsmart grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, marking the largest faculty-initiated grant in the institution’s history.

With barriers to access and inclusion in STEM education for students with disabilities regionally, the College’s Education Department will use the award to reinvigorate their STEM Endorsement program for educators, maximize engagement, and strengthen partnerships with local agencies. In doing so, the program will ultimately aid individuals with disabilities in obtaining meaningful entry-level employment, increase access to STEM content instruction for previously excluded student populations, and position teachers to be better prepared to deliver STEM content to underrepresented populations.

In the first year of the program, the department will focus efforts on increasing accessibility for students with disabilities, recruiting new students, and—in collaboration with partners at Hillside Farms, Riverside School District, Tunkhannock Area School District, Northeastern Intermediate Unit 19, and the Workforce Development Center—adding computer science to the College’s STEM Endorsement program.

In the second year, the department will expand efforts to enroll up to 20 Northeastern Pennsylvania educators into the newly expanded post-graduate STEM Endorsement Program, providing full tuition, materials, and childcare in exchange for 12 credit hours of coursework.

The grant submission and project planning has been a collaborative effort from Dr. Andrew Wojcik, assistant professor of education; Dr. Sunny Weiland, associate professor and program director for graduate education programs; and Dr. Dara Soljaga, associate dean of education with the support of Michelle Giovagnoli, director of institutional and academic grants.

Priority for this program is reserved for partnering districts listed below as well as special education teachers (K-12), K-8 teachers who teach special education, and secondary teachers who teach special education. However, anyone interested in becoming a STEM endorsed teacher or learning about other continuing education programs at King’s College should visit kings.edu/gradeducation or contact Sunny Weiland, Ph.D., associate professor of education, at sunnyweiland@kings.edu.

Applications for the STEM PAsmart grant are being accepted through May 15, 2023, and grant recipients will be notified by May 30. To apply for the grant, please complete the free online application.

Partnering Educational Agencies

  • Riverside SD
  • Tunkhannock Area SD
  • Graham Academy
  • Hillside Farms
  • Luzerne Co. Workforce Development
  • Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19, which includes service to:
    • Abington Heights
    • Blue Ridge
    • Carbondale Area
    • Diocese of Scranton
    • Dunmore
    • Elk Lake
    • Charter: Howard Gardner, Fell, Commonwealth, etc.
    • Forest City
    • Lackawanna Trail
    • Lakeland
    • Mid Valley
    • Montrose Area
    • Mountain View
    • North Pocono
    • Old Forge
    • Riverside
    • Scranton
    • Susquehanna Community
    • Valley View
    • Wallenpaupack
    • Wayne Highlands
    • Western Wayne