IU STEPS program recognized by White House initiative

STEPS, an Indiana University program that prepares students to provide speech-language services to Latino children and their families, has been recognized by the White House as one of the Bright Spots in Hispanic Education that are helping ensure educational attainment by the Hispanic community.

STEPS, which stands for Speech Therapy Education, Practicum and Services for Latino Children and Families, provides research-based courses, clinical and field experiences and service-learning opportunities as an optional track for master’s students in IU’s speech-language pathology program.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics logo“We are honored to have been included as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education,” said Raquel Anderson, director of the STEPS program and professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.

“It has been the goal of our program to both recruit talented Latino and Latina students to our graduate program and to provide quality services to an ever-increasing but underserved population within our field. We have been able to do both, not only at the state and local level, but nationally as well. I am delighted that our hard work and successes are being recognized.”

The Bright Spots selections were announced recently by Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The program’s goal is to encourage collaboration through the sharing of data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice and effective partnerships focused on educational achievement.

Its national online catalog features STEPS as one of 230 programs, models, organizations and initiatives that are supporting and investing in the educational attainment of Hispanics, from cradle to career.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement,” Ceja said in a statement, “and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential.”

The STEPS program was developed as a means of addressing the lack of qualified speech-language practitioners who could work with Latino children with communication disorders and their families. According to a White House citation, its provision of direct services to primary-school-age Latino children creates a ripple effect among IU speech-therapy students and provides evidence-based training for students and families. Since its inception in 2009, it has graduated 24 students, nine of whom were Latina.

The Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs nominated the program for White House recognition.

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