Recent Drury M.Ed. graduate nets grant for special education students

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 6, 2018 —Gina Schamber, who earned her Master’s in Education from Drury University in May 2018, has received a sizable grant to help special education students in her rural school district.

Schamber, a special education teacher at Houston Elementary in Houston, Missouri, was awarded a $4,800 grant from telecommunications company CenturyLink that will provide 14 iPads for students with developmental needs in her school. Houston Elementary currently has about 70 students requiring individual education plans and only three teachers between them, including Schamber. With the help of their new iPads and various educational apps, Schamber and her colleagues will be able to provide more personalized attention to all of the students.

Schamber researched the grant and wrote the proposal in one of Dr. Jane Doelling’s masters-level special education courses. Doelling, an instructor of education at Drury, gave Schamber much guidance and advice.

“Dr. Doelling really helped me understand that the grant administrators need to see the big picture,” Schamber says.

Schamber had never written a grant before, and was elated to learn that her first-ever proposal had been awarded. 

“I had never done anything like this, so to be rewarded for it was really nice,” she says.

The way the grant was presented to Schamber was even more surprising and inspiring.

“Two gentleman from CenturyLink actually came to our school,” she says. “I was very caught off guard, but excited. The man that presented it to us said he was also a special education student when he was younger and told (my students) that they can still achieve great things.”

In regard to the proposal process, Schamber says she learned a lot about perseverance. “There are a lot of questions you have to answer,” she adds.

Speaking to the use of the iPads in class, Schamber mentions a letter tracing app that helps with writing, a math bingo app, and all varieties of quiz apps. She says that because her district is so rural, her students have a particularly tough time with vocabulary and relating the words they learn. Using the word “skyscraper” as an example, Schamber says that a student can now learn the word and then use an iPad to relate it to an actual image of one.

“Vocabulary is a hard thing for these students because we’re so rural,” she says. “A lot of times when they read stories, it’s hard for them to relate.”

Schamber, who also received her bachelor’s in criminal justice and psychology from Drury in 2014, says that Houston Elementary is ordering the iPads in August and that they should be available to students at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

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