The following article was contributed by Christie M. Bonfiglio, Ph.D, Director of Professional Standards & Graduate Studies and Director of the Program for Inclusive Education for the Alliance for Catholic Education & Institute for Educational Initiatives.
With eyes of faith consider the greatness of your mission and the wonderful amount of good which you can accomplish. – Bl. Basil Moreau, Christian Education
Teaching is faith in action. Although a mission of complete fulfillment allows for the modeling of Christ the Teacher and touching countless lives, teaching requires life-long learning and dedication to self-care. One of the many gifts is the space that summer provides for these practices. Teachers can clear their heads of the beautiful chaos of the school year, rest and rejuvenate, and focus on personal and professional goals. Recently, a veteran educator shared some excellent advice–choose one professional learning goal each year and learn well. She advised to pick one topic and a few resources around a certain area each year to expand your knowledge. The cumulative gifts of this practice shape a career and make it flourish.
In the spirit of professional growth for summer 2017, here are some of the Program for Inclusive Education’s favorite resources for continued learning specific to inclusion in Catholic schools.
Understood.org is a free website that allows you to deepen your understanding of learning and attention issues. Research indicates one in five children have a learning or attention issue–issues which can significantly affect classroom performance. Although this website was created with parents in mind, the resources are equally helpful for educators. Most specifically, the “experience it” tool allows you to feel what students with learning or attention issues encounter while in the classroom. It is an insightful experience and provides educators a level of empathy.
17 Strategies for 2017 is a free resource created in January by the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) team. It offers research-based practice and strategies to serve all children in your classroom. Descriptions on when and why to use each strategy, as well as the “how-to,” are provided to support you in meeting the needs of every student.
Brooke’s Publishing Inclusion Lab Blog shares insightful writing from experts and professionals dedicated to inclusion. Posts are available on a variety of topics from behavior to instructional modifications to communication with families. Each lends practical information from an educator’s viewpoint that will enable you to address the needs of all students.
Finally, if you are interested in a professional learning immersion experience, the Program for Inclusive Education would like to invite you to the NCEA New Directions Exceptional Learners Conference on June 19-21 in Evanston, Illinois. It will be a gathering of national experts sharing theory and practice in the field of inclusion. Please join PIE for sessions on Understanding Behavior Simplifies Inclusion and the Intersection of Inclusion and Differentiation.
Proverbs 4:13 challenges us to “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” The Program for Inclusive Education looks forward to being a part of your professional growth. We encourage you to clear your head, rest and recharge, and focus on instruction that allows you to welcome, serve, and celebrate ALL students.