Texarkana, TX-Texarkana ISD has been awarded the 2022-2024 Innovative Services for Students with Autism Grant (ISSA), with a grand total of $5,716,376.00 to be spent over the next two years. The grant will impact every campus within TISD and establish a Shared Service Arrangement (SSA) with 18 additional districts within the region.
TISD will utilize the funding of ISSA Grant to focus on the following areas: intensive and extensive training to both special education and general education staff, the development and implementation of instructional practices in the school, home, and community, and increased training and engagement opportunities for parents and family members to learn how to support their students. The district will now begin the process of finalizing program guides, implementing professional learning, and expanding the Achievement, Social relationships and communication, Personal daily living skills, Independence, and self – Regulation Program (ASPIRe) Program to include summer camps for students.
The grant will allow TISD to expand current programs which were established through a previous ISSA Grant, such as the ASPIRe Program. As part of the previous grant, TISD provided extensive training in best practices for delivering instruction to students with autism, additional inclusion support for students served in the general education classroom, and support for families within the district. Families have been provided materials and access to state and regional information, as well as training and opportunities to connect with one another. Parents and staff were also able to attend the State Autism Conference, all expenses paid.
Overall, the grant will potentially impact over 300 students and 200 educators within TISD and other schools within the SSA.
The Innovative Services for Students with Autism Grant is a competitive grant that all Texas local education agencies (LEAs) are eligible to apply for, with the purpose being to increase their capacity to implement innovative programs that effectively serve students with autism ages three through 21. The project will result in effective, scalable models that can be replicated in other areas of the state. The authorization of the grant comes from House Bill 1525 and Rider 69 (included in Senate Bill 1), which originated in the 87th Texas Legislature.