Baylor Receives Third Grant for Project Mustard Seed

Sept. 29, 1995

WACO, Texas-Baylor University's School of Education recently received a $262,979 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue research through its Project Mustard Seed.

The grant, which is funded through the Javits Grant Program of the Department of Education, is awarded annually. This is the third year the grant has been awarded to the School of Education to support Project Mustard Seed, which is based on a three-year study. The project received $237,000 in its first year and $251,346 in its second year of operation.

Project Mustard Seed is a joint effort of Baylor's School of Education and Texas A&M University. Baylor and Texas A&M faculty and assistant enter chosen schools to educate teachers in classroom practices for the gifted and talented.

Dr. Susan K. Johnsen, associate professor of educational psychology and principal investigator of the project for Baylor, said that significant changes already have taken place in the classroom as a result of the training provided to Project Mustard Seed teachers.

Each teacher takes away something different from the training in an effort to provide for gifted students, Johnson said. Some teachers have changed the environment in their classrooms, while others have developed individualized contracts with students to allow gifted children to progress at an accelerated pace.

"The teachers set their own goals and we back them," Johnsen said. "It is a risk for some of them to break out of the mold, but if you show teachers how it feels to be a student in a classroom that does not adapt to individual needs, it is easier for teachers to change."

Research from Project Mustard Seed will continue to be collected during its third year of operation to examine further the benefits of adaptive instruction on gifted children in the regular classroom. The project involves six school districts -- two in Region VI, one in Region XI and three in Region XII, which includes the Waco area.

For more information on Project Mustard Seed, contact Johnsen at (817) 755-3113.

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