In addition to serving as the coordinator of Lehigh's special education program
, Lee Kern leads a national center called Project REACH: Research Exploring Alternatives for Children.
The center works with students that schools have identified as having the most intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
A $3.8 million award from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs enabled Lehigh and the University of California, Riverside, to develop the national center, which focuses on determining effective strategies, based on scientific literature, for working with these students.
Over the summer, John Hagar, assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S Department of Education (whose office gave Kern the grant money), visited Kern and her associates to talk about the project, which is in its fourth year and includes 106 students from both Pennsylvania and California.
"Assistant Secretary Hagar and his office have been avid supporters of the project, and the funding provided by them has really allowed us to develop new approaches for students with social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties," Kern says. "Thanks to their support, our research will continue to improve the lives of children with disabilities."
The project helps to explore individual intervention techniques that make classrooms positive and productive learning environments for all students.
As if teaching classes, running Lehigh's special education program, giving lectures all over the country, and Project REACH weren't enough to keep her day planner jam-packed, Kern and Linda M. Bambara, a professor of special education, recently wrote a book for school-based and pre-service professionals on positive behavior support. The book, Individualized Supports for Students with Problem Behaviors
, provides detailed information on how to design individual behavior support plans for students consistent with requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
-- Bill Doherty
Photo by Theo Anderson
Lehigh Alumni Bulletin