Project SPEECH

Speech-Language Pathologists and Exceptional Educators Collaboration for Children with High-Intensity Needs


Project SPEECH is an innovative federally-funded project from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the United States Department of Education designed to prepare professionals to work with children with high-intensity needs. The project provides funding for courses leading to either a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Exceptional Student Education or a Masters of Arts (MA) in Speech Language Pathology. Additionally, scholars who participate in Project SPEECH earn a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Language and Literacy Intervention.

The Graduate Certificate for Interdisciplinary Language and Literacy Intervention emphasizes interdisciplinary preparation of special education teachers and speech-language pathologists to support students with high-intensity needs.

Program Purpose

This project is designed to prepare Scholars to work within interdisciplinary teams to provide intensive interventions and specialized services to school-age children with high-intensity needs to improve college and career-ready outcomes.
Project SPEECH provides a high-quality, interdisciplinary system of personnel development. UCF’s traditional graduate degree programs in special education and communication sciences and disorders have been enhanced to incorporate advanced, specialized preparation in intensive interventions including collaborative field-based experiences within high-need school settings. The coordinated program of study focuses on:

  1. Evidence-based knowledge, skills, and resources for students with disabilities who have high-intensity needs.
  2. Professional competencies as an “intervention specialist”.
  3. National and state instruction and intervention frameworks of Multi-tiered System of Supports.
  4. National and state educational policies.

Scholars who participate in this program gain:

Enhanced education and training

Scholars in the program benefit from enhanced education and experiences in the following areas: Exceptional Student Education, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Reading, and English as a Second Language (ESOL).

Interdisciplinary professional learning

Learn in an interprofessional cohort, comprised of special education teachers and speech-language pathologists. 

Hands-on Learning

Experience working in a high-need school settings and UCF clinics.

Specialist Designation

Earn the designation of Intervention Specialist in Language and Literacy.

Tuition Assistance

Receive up to 36 credit hours of tuition and fees (service obligation required per OSEP).

Available Scholarships

Receive $250 in scholarship support each semester enrolled in the project.

Mentor Demonstration Sites

Mentor Demonstration Site (MDS) schools play a key role in our personnel preparation programs. Through MDS, UCF-based, federally-funded, personnel preparation projects are linked with exemplary Central Florida schools in learning partnerships which build capacity. The purpose of MDS is to highlight, celebrate, and share the implementation of selected resources and evidence-based practices by Project Scholars/Educators within their classrooms and schools in Central Florida. Schools selected as MDS are able to highlight their successes and challenges enhancing and implementing a responsive MTSS framework and provide evidence, resources, and methods to neighboring schools to create similar initiatives. The reciprocal relationship between UCF and community-based schools through MDS extends professional learning communities and bridges research and theory to practice in authentic educational settings. The MDS website houses videos from Project Scholars discussing and demonstrating key MTSS practices which can be used for professional learning. The website is also a great source for expert information and resources about MTSS, PBIS, and data-based individualization from district, state, and national leaders. Be sure to check out our MDS Website at!


Does acceptance to UCF guarantee acceptance to Project SPEECH?

No. Acceptance to UCF/program does not guarantee admission to Project SPEECH for grant funding. There are two separate applications and interested scholars must apply to both. Acceptance to Project SPEECH is contingent upon acceptance to the University.  

Does Project SPEECH provide funding for scholars pursuing their Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education?

No. Project SPEECH funds the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Exceptional Student Education and does not provide funding for the Master or Arts (MA) in Exceptional Student Education.  

How many years of service are required to satisfy the obligation if awarded funding support?

Scholars accepted to Project SPEECH for funding support must complete and sign a Service Obligation Agreement from the Office of Special Education Programs at the US Department of Education. For every year of funding support received by the Project, scholars must “payback” two years through service in eligible employment with students with disabilities. Additional information about the Service Obligation Agreement is available here.   


Mary Little, Ph.D.

College of Community Innovation and Education
Exceptional Student Education

Melissa Carli, M.Ed.

College of Community Innovation and Education
Exceptional Student Education

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The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H325K190075. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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