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Grant Priorities

Capacity building grant priorities were developed as the result of a monitoring recommendation by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to the Arizona Department of Education; observing national and state trends; and considering input and needs expressed by parents and educators at the local level. New or amended priorities replace old priorities that have run their courses and are no longer effective in meeting the needs of Arizona's students and education system. Even though the old priorities are not funded anymore, they are listed here and have valuable effective practices included in that section..

Click on one of the following to go to a description of it:

Alternative Programs for Students with Emotional Disabilities Grant

View Alternative Programs for Students with Emotional Disabilities Best Practices

This grant supports the development and provision of alternative programs in schools, which will decrease the placement of students with emotional and other disabilities in day treatment or residential programs. A proposal for this priority must address student eligibility criteria; program development or design criteria; personnel criteria; and outside agency involvement.

Arizona Behavioral Initiative Grant for Safe Schools

View Arizona Behavioral Initiative Best Practices (Now PBSISAz)

This grant is provided through a partnership between the Arizona Department of Education, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona, with support from the National Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Formerly known as Creating Disciplined School Environments, it is designed to assist in the development of improved behavior management systems that will decrease problem student behaviors resulting in increased student achievement. The grant operates in collaboration with and under the supervision of the Arizona Behavioral Initiative (ABI). For more information on ABI and this grant priority, you may visit For grant information, contact one of the University Partners:

1. Arizona State University Partner is not currently available
2. Joan Oakes, Northern Arizona University,
3. Jolenea Ferro, University of Arizona,

Autism Spectrum Disorder Grant

This grant supports a train-the-trainer approach to deliver professional development that will increase effective teaching skills and knowledge for those working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Training activities are developed and presented by Exceptional Student Services or other qualified personnel under the guidance of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Committee. Contact Miriam Podrazik,, with questions about this priority and eligibility.

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Collaborative Model for Identifying Students Grades K - 3 Before Referral for Special Education Grant

View Collaborative Model Best Practices

This priority supported the growth of a collaborative model for identifying students grades K - 3 who were under-performing in any academic area, or who were at risk for being referred for identification in a special education category prior to being referred to special education, and providing them with the necessary resources for student achievement. This priority is no longer funded and has been replaced by the Disproportionality of Ethnicity Grant.

Counseling Services Grant

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This grant focuses on the development of collaborative efforts with community agencies and/or creation of innovative systems change in the provision of counseling services for students with disabilities and their families. The criteria have recently been revised to reflect a program that increases an education agency's capacity to provide counseling services through the establishment of a solid infrastructure or system based on collaboration and staff training.

Disproportionality of Ethnicity Grant

This grant is designed to support efforts by public education agencies in the development of an effective system to address the disproportionate numbers of ethnically diverse students identified for special education by applying self-selected models to improve proportionate numbers of students in special education. The models must provide strategies and supports to all educators to address academic and behavioral needs of at-risk students prior to referral for special education. Funds from this grant must be used for required training and in the research, planning, and implementation of a program or project that addresses ethnic disproportionality. For further information and eligibility criteria, contact Cyndi Bolewski,

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Improved Parent and School Decision Making Grant

View Improved Parent and School Decision Making Grant Best Practices

The purpose of this grant was to support the development of a system, which allowed parents and school personnel to interact as a team to make sound education decisions that improved results for children with disabilities as prescribed in the IDEA. Part of this process may have included disagreement resolution practices and incorporated resources and/or services provided by one of the Parent Information Network Specialists (PINS). For more information on the Parent Information Network, log on to Due to a significant reduction in capacity building funds, Exceptional Student Services chose to discontinue this grant, after careful consideration of other department initiatives to improve parent and school relationships.

Improved Student Reading Achievement Grant

View Improved Student Reading Achievement Best Practices

The purpose of this grant was to provide services to improve reading achievement for students with disabilities who had been referred to special education for reading remediation. This priority is no longer funded and has been replaced by the Reading Intervention Grant for Grades 4 - 8.

Paraprofessional Training Grant

View Paraprofessional Training Best Practices

Promotion of systemic change through in-service and/or pre-service training for paraprofessionals in school settings is the focus of this grant. Funds may be used to assist paraprofessionals who provide services to students with disabilities in obtaining two years of college credit or an associate's degree; in passing a formal state or local academic assessment; or in provide training activities based on the specific needs of a school's paraprofessionals. Grant activities may also include assistance to teachers to improve their knowledge and skills in supervising and mentoring paraprofessionals with special education instructional support duties. This, however, must be secondary to paraprofessional training and is limited to approximately 10% of the total grant amount. Proposals for this priority must demonstrate substantial impact on students who are identified with special needs.

A project proposal may be built around the needs of all paraprofessionals providing educational services, however, IDEA funds must be used solely for paraprofessionals who provide services to students with disabilities. A proportionate amount of matching funds from other federal, state, or local funding sources must contribute to this grant's activities to compensate for participating paraprofessionals who do not provide services to students with special needs.

Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions of Arizona (PBISAz)

This catagory includes the ABI and CDS grants.

View PBSISAz Best Practices

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Professional Development Plan Grant

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The Professional Development Leadership Academy (PDLA), with the cooperation and support of the Arizona Department of Education, is spearheading the development of a dynamic, effective, and comprehensive statewide system of professional development. This priority was designed to assist in the process and was supported by funds from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and matched by IDEA. The grant was limited to teams from public education agencies that applied for participation in professional development training. The grant is no longer available.

The purpose of the grant was to support team efforts that build the capacity of the education agency to provide professional development to educators who impact student achievement. This was done through sustained learning activities that increased knowledge and skills of the educators. The teams contributed to the statewide system by modeling promising practices that can be documented and replicated throughout the state.

Reading Intervention Grant for Grades 4 - 8

The purpose of this grant is to promote systemic change by improving reading skills for students with disabilities, grades 4 - 8, in low performing schools. Through a systemic change approach, the focus is to increase teachers' knowledge and ability to teach effective reading strategies in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension to students with disabilities. For information on eligibility and grant criteria, contact Laura Young,

School to Adult Life Transition Grant

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Funds from this grant support improved transition programs for youth with disabilities ages 14 - 21 by increasing the knowledge of educators, students, families, administrators, and other agency personnel of the transition requirements as outlined in the IDEA, and providing research-based effective practices and a comprehensive model for operating a successful youth transition program. This grant works in conjunction with the Arizona Transition Outcomes Project (ATOP). Information regarding ATOP can be found by logging on to More information may be obtained by contacting Wendy Collison,

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Transition Services from AzEIP to Preschool Programs Grant

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The purpose of this grant is to promote systemic change by supporting the development or enhancement of a program to transition young children from the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) to preschool programs with a minimum of disruption in services to the children and families. Such a proposal emphasizes effective team collaboration between the public education agency staff and the Department of Economic Security, Arizona Early Intervention Program, as well as other state and local agencies, that concentrates on child find, interdisciplinary planning, assessment, and implementation of services. Charter schools are not eligible to receive funds for this grant, since they are not mandated to provide preschool services. For more information on child find with links to AzEIP, log on to

Transitioning Incarcerated Youth from Secure Care Facilities to the Community Grant

View Transitioning Incarcerated Youth from Secure Care Facilities to the Community Best Practices

The purpose of this grant is to promote systemic change by addressing some of the challenges that interfere with successful transitioning of incarcerated youth with disabilities from a secure care facility to the community with a view to reduce recidivism. Specifically, this grant supports the training needs of a secure care facility's personnel in the Merging Two Worlds curriculum and the development of individual transition plans, including comprehensive student portfolios, using this resource. This priority is under revision and currently unavailable. For more information on this grant and transitioning youth from secure care facilities to the community, contact Gail Jacobs,

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