Bethany College Receives Nearly $12k to Fund Multiple Public Education Programs, Autism Perspective Series

BETHANY, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education and Try This West Virginia have awarded Bethany College with two grants totaling nearly $12,000. The funds will be used to aid campus educational programs benefiting not only the college and its members, but the public, too.

Both the WV Residency Competitive Grant and Try This West Virginia grant announced the winning recipients in late July. This came as welcome news for Bethany faculty and staff who have been working to secure funding for multiple exciting projects on campus—but especially the Bethany College Autism Perspective Series and the Bethany Education Afterschool Wellness Program.

Bethany plans to organize and host the Autism Perspective Series at the Hurl Education Center. This series will be open to the public and will collaborate with local developmental-needs schools and programs, and those parenting children or adults on the autism spectrum.

It will consist of six, one-hour sessions with presentations from faculty, community, and school partners, including WV Birth to Three therapists, parents of autistic children and adults, autistic individuals, and other professionals and community members touched by autism.

Topics will include homeschooling and autism, navigating the IEP process and special education, sensory issues, communication, advocacy, understanding applied behavioral analysis, and a meet-and-greet with area first-responders.

While parents, caregivers, and professionals are learning, Bethany College teacher candidates obtaining an autism endorsement will have the opportunity to engage with children and young adults on the autism spectrum in a unique sensory room.

The program will spread awareness of the valuable resources Bethany has to offer autistic individuals and help current and future teachers learn best practices to meet the unique needs of neurodivergent students in their classrooms.

Bethany College also looks to host a small group of Brooke County students on campus for a few hours once a week after school during the academic year. The goal is to supply a safe and supportive afterschool environment where children can receive tutoring, homework help, and extended education in STEM, mental and physical wellness, and healthy lifestyle choices.

“The West Virginia Department of Education has been very supportive in enabling Bethany to strengthen its teacher preparation programs financially and academically,” says Charline Barnes Rowland, chair of education at Bethany. “Our teacher candidates are tomorrow’s educators, and they need to learn proper strategies that will serve students in and out of the classroom. The WV Residency Competitive Grant will help them gain valuable knowledge and skills from current educators in local schools through co-teaching.”

Together, these grants will allow Bethany to buy new physical education equipment, STEM teaching resources, books for a lending library, healthy snacks, and supply stipends for a grant manager and on-site-supervisors from the college.

Funding will also provide “Tips for Future Teachers” videos, an autism resource lending library, a book donation to the Madison Elementary Makerspace, and technology integration and training for current and future teachers via the St. Cloud State Co-Teaching Training model.

ABOUT BETHANY COLLEGE

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.

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