SOE News

Steve Knotek receives funding to improve academic success of at-risk students

Steve Knotek, assistant professor of school psychology and early childhood education, has received a $195,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to establish an Instructional Consultation Team (ICT) Training and Evaluation Initiative at the School of Education.  

An ICT consists of teachers and other school personnel who become proficient in communication skills, collaborative problem solving, behavioral assessment and curriculum assessment. Teachers learn to use a rigorous process to collect data and implement interventions in their general education classrooms, with the goal of improving academic achievement and behavior among all students, particularly those at risk. By developing expertise among the educational staff, the ICT model results in a self-sustaining “culture of competence” at a school site.

During the first year, Knotek will implement the ICT model in 8-10 public elementary schools in six regions of North Carolina. He and his staff will provide training to teachers and administrators in schools that are located in rural areas and/or have large populations of low-achieving minority students. The training will occur at UNC-Chapel Hill, at DPI, in the participating school districts and in individual schools.

If the funding is renewed in subsequent years, additional schools will be added, ultimately expanding the program throughout the state.

Knotek will also evaluate the effectiveness of this work. After the model is implemented in a school, it is expected that students’ academic achievement and behavior will improve, fewer minority students will be referred to special education and the needs of underserved rural students will be better addressed. In addition, the participating teachers’ assessment and instructional skills will be enhanced.

The University of Maryland has an existing Instructional Consultation Lab, whose personnel will collaborate with Knotek to launch the program at UNC-Chapel Hill and help implement the initial training.