Partnership for Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Educators and Speech-Language Pathologists

Training Professionals to Implement Culturally-Responsive and Family-Centered Practices to Serve Children Birth to Five with Disabilities and their Families

The PIECES Scholars Program aims to prepare graduate level Special Education and Speech Language Pathology students to collaboratively engage in culturally responsive family-centered practices in early childhood special education (ECSE). The program is designed for second-year master’s students interested in working in early childhood special education settings with children enrolled in birth to five (Part B and Part C) services.

Through the traineeship, PIECES Scholars develop competencies in early childhood special education including child development and learning; collaboration and teaming; curriculum and environment; measurement of child progress; family and community partnership; program planning; and professional development and leadership. These competencies prepare PIECES Scholars to collaboratively serve diverse families who are currently receiving ECSE services. To achieve these competencies, the scholars will engage in rigorous coursework to develop content knowledge, collaborative high-quality field placements/practicum, Families-as-Mentors home visiting and playgroup experiences, and project seminars in which they reflect and receive feedback on issues of practice. Tuition assistance and a small stipend are available for PIECES Scholars during the second year of graduate study, which mandates a 2-year post-graduation service agreement.

Training Expectations for all PIECES Scholars in speech-language pathology and special education:

  • Cross-train through shared courses, dedicated seminars, Family-as-Mentor home visits and playgroups, and collaborative field placements and practicum experiences.
  •   Two-year service agreement in early childhood education settings post-graduation

Funding for Participants:

  • During the second year of M.S./M.Ed. study and PIECES training (Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters), students will receive:
    • Tuition assistance of approximately $6500 per quarter
    • A stipend of $850 per month for 9 academic months
    • Funds for travel and materials

PIECES Scholars Program Leadership

Angel Fettig
Associate Professor
Special Education

Amy Pace
Assistant Professor
Speech and Hearing Sciences

Core Competencies and Conceptual Framework

The PIECES Scholars Program is designed to increase the number of speech-language pathologists and early childhood special educators who are fully prepared to collaborate across disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate culturally responsive family-centered services for children birth to five with disabilities and their families. Scholars develop competencies in the areas of: (1) child development; (2) family partnership; (3) collaboration and teaming; (4) assessment; (5) application of curriculum framework; (6) interactions, intervention, and instruction; (7) professional and ethical practices; (8) collaborative practicum and field experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible for the PIECES Scholars Program? 

Master’s students currently enrolled in Speech-Language-Pathology or Special Education, interested in serving children and families enrolled in Part B and Part C Services. Federal regulations limit the program to U.S. Citizens and nationals. More about this regulation can be found here. Additional information that might be of use can be found here as well: regulations and general guidance regarding federal aid for non-U.S. citizens.

What are the training components of the PIECES Scholars program? 
PIECES Scholars participate in a dedicated seminar (meeting 2 to 3 times per quarter) and up to three shared courses. SPHSC 529, Assessment and Treatment of Communication Disorders, Birth to Five, is held in the Winter quarter of the first year of training. EDSPE 564, Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities, is held in the Winter quarter of the second year of training. EDSPE 560, Early Learning in Home, School, and Community, is held in the Spring quarter of the second year of training. Through the dedicated seminar, students engage in discussions around ECSE systems and family-centered practice. PIECES Scholars will be paired together to work with a mentor family for Family-As-Mentor Home Visits and Playgroups, a series of 4 to 6 home visits and three playgroups (one per quarter). Scholars will engage in a minimum of 10 hours of interdisciplinary field-based practicum experiences per week during every quarter of the training program.

What are the resources provided to PIECES Scholars?
PIECES Scholars receive tuition support for three quarters and a quarterly stipend for three quarters. 

  What is the service obligation associated with the PIECES Scholars Program?
PIECES Scholars sign a pre-scholarship service agreement for two years of service within a five year window. The agreement can be seen here.

Where can the service obligation be completed?
The service obligation must be completed in a ECSE program that is covered by IDEA. As this is a federally funded program, not one funded by Washington State, the pay-back service can be completed anywhere in the United States, its territories, and the Freely Associated States that receive IDEA funds. More information on this can be found on the OSEP Website.

To be considered for the PIECES Scholars Program, graduate students who are currently enrolled in Speech Language Pathology or Special Education at the University of Washington should complete the online application and submit their CV to Angel Fettig ( and Amy Pace ( by April 1.

Applicant Requirements

  • Current M.S. student in Speech-Language Pathology or Special Education
  • U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, according to the following (see FAQ below)
  •   Agreement to fulfill a two-year service agreement in IDEA Part B or C settings immediately post-graduation
    • If the service obligation is not completed students will be required to repay the funding received through the PIECES program