Lecturer, Exceptional Education, Buffalo State College
I am passionate about teaching and have worked with IGPE schools in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and QSI School with teachers in 29 countries such as China, Iran, Czech Republic, Dushanbe & Sarajevo.
The examination of social justice for individuals with disabilities in an urban environment is inherent in my practice as a special education teacher in the city of Buffalo for over 40 years (grades K-12 and higher education). My relationships with teachers and administrators throughout the BPS affords me the opportunity to work with the Buffalo State PDS consortium, which is a rich opportunity for the college students. We work and learn together.
Teaching in the Buffalo State Transforming Lives through Teaching Learning Community, I focus on four principles of social justice—equity, access, participation, and rights. These principles are evident both in every class I teach and in the student’s coursework. These principles align with the IGPE program. In the fall of 2021, our Learning Community partnered with a 4th grade class from Brazil’s School of the Nations and read “How Alma Got Her Name” during the Global Read Aloud.
I am a member of and professor to the Urban Teacher Academy. This college preparatory program, in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools Career and Technical Education program, develops a diverse generation of future educators for the Buffalo Public Schools through the practice of culturally responsive teaching. As an IGPE instructor knowledge and expertise in CRT benefits the population we serve.
During my tenure with the BPS, I worked with the SETRC network, administered by VESID. As training specialists, we designed and delivered programs based on local needs and statewide goals. For an IGPE instructor this skill set supports one of richest opportunities in the program. The “re-creation” of a semester long course to be delivered within a five-day period challenges my creativity. It requires crafting the course while considering each schools identity. Creating assignments that allow for student voice to meet the needs of a range of teachers from PreK-12, including clerical staff and teacher assistants using equitable teaching and learning frameworks.
Amanda Gorman wrote “There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” My goal is to bring the light to every class, serve the students and remain humble by the gifts my profession has given me over 44 years.