Andrea Blackwood, Technical Assistance Coordinator for the ECU Teacher Support Program for Learners with Deaf-Blindness and Julie Brickhouse, Special Educator at Eastern Elementary School in Greenville, NC presented at the 2015: 65th Conference on Exceptional Children held in Greensboro, NC November 18th to November 20th. The training addressed instruction designed to facilitate communication and math development for learners with deaf-blindness. Practical methods and examples for connecting communication and math were offered. The Communication Matrix, an assessment tool designed by Charity Rowland for individuals at the earliest stages of communication, was used as a guide to focus on specific communicative behaviors to target for learners with deaf-blindness. Examples of the various levels of communication behaviors within the Communication Matrix were examined in detailed.
Specific ideas for embedding communication and math instruction throughout the school day were presented by Julie Brickhouse. Julie shared examples for planning instruction around math concepts using the principles of the Universal Design for Learning. Participants created a lesson plan around a math topic using the Universal Design for Learning principles that was shared with the group.
The ECU Teacher Support Program for students with deaf-blindness provides technical assistance and support to teachers and other professionals who serve students that qualify for the deaf-blind registry. The Teacher Support Program also provides professional development and training. Please use the link below for more information on the ECU Teacher Support Program for students with deaf-blindness.
The Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) pre-professional club recently celebrated their Fall Holiday Gathering at Dr. Melissa Hudson’s home. The officers and members took time to reflect on the accomplishments of the club for the Fall semester, make plans for the upcoming Spring semester, and spend time bonding over good food and fun activities with their peers and faculty. Happy Holidays to the College of Education from SCEC!
ECU Special Education alumna and graduate student, Sara Graves, was recently highlighted on WITN for her work with a new national program at Vidant Medical Center, Project SEARCH. The focus of Project SEARCH is transition and job skills training for individuals with developmental disabilities. The students participating in the program also work in three internship settings at the hospital where they apply the skills they are learning. Congratulations, Sara, for your outstanding work — and for representing ECU College of Education, Special Education so well!
Dr. Jennifer B. Williams (Associate Professor, Special Education) and Dr. Laura H. King (Associate Professor, Special Education) recently completed two virtual presentations at the International Conference of Education, Research, and Innovation (ICERI) held in Seville, Spain on November 16-18, 2015.
The first presentation, Using Multiple Means of Assessment on Pre-service Teacher Learning to Drive Data Based Curricular Change, highlighted the Special Education program area’s cyclical approach to program evaluation through data collected in each required course in the Special Education plan of study. Data is collected from multiple means of assessment through course assignments which are collected through Taskstream; program level discussions aligned with stated assessment outcomes via Tracdat then take place to allow for full faculty engagement in sharing data across the program. This cyclical approach to assessment based program evaluation allows for a strong foundation of data based decisions regarding pedagogy, content, and assessment (both formative and summative).
The second presentation, Cultivating Assistive Technology Expertise in Pre-Service Teachers through a Professional Development Model, highlighted the infusion of required professional development sessions on a variety of assistive technology topics and products into the Special Education course of study. Special education teacher candidates submit documentation of completion of all required sessions in their culminating special education technology course. They build and demonstrate leadership characteristics through the development of a capstone presentation on assistive technology. These presentations are offered to different audiences and allow candidates to build leadership capacity through experiences of a professional conference.
On October 2nd, 2015, ECU’s own Cassie Robacker presented at the International Council for Learning Disabilities Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her presentation, “Token Economy Made Easy Through ClassDojo,” was a sensation. Congratulations Cassie for a wonderful presentation. Thank you for representing ECU and the Special Education, Foundations, and Research Department.
They go on to become leaders in their classrooms and schools! This is definitely the case for Adrienne Lee, a 2014 Special Education graduate. Ms. Lee is currently serving as a Kindergarten through 5th Grade Adaptive Special Education teacher at Poplar Springs Elementary School in Stokes County. As a former teacher assistant, Ms. Lee completed her degree in special education part-time through SECU (State Employees’ Credit Union) Partnership East by taking her coursework all online and completing her field experiences and internship in her home county. She transferred from Forsyth Technical Community College where she completed her first two years of her teaching degree into SECU Partnership East where she finished her degree while continuing to work as a teacher assistant.
Ms. Lee shared, “I know my experience as a TA was an advantage to my success but I know my education prepared me to be a knowledgeable teacher.”
Her experiences within the East Carolina University College of Education prepared her to have a positive impact on the children with which she worked this past school year. Ms. Lee reports that her students made tremendous gains during the academic year and performed exceptionally well on their end of grade assessments. She notes that her students’ success has been a result of a lot of effort. She stated, “I will admit I put in some very long hours but I am so excited about how my students have been received in school and in the community.”
Her efforts at positively impacting exceptional needs children have been recognized by others. Her educator peers within her school recently recognized her as Poplar Springs Elementary Teacher of the Year. As a first year teacher, this honor is a testament to Ms. Lee’s talent and dedication to her profession.
East Carolina University’s College of Education is very proud of this novice teacher who is making a difference in the lives of children in Stokes County. Providing access to teacher education degrees through SECU Partnership East is a long-standing commitment the college has toward growing teachers for rural areas within the state.
Ms. Lee sums up the importance of having convenient access to education: “ My dream would not have not come to fruition without the SECU Partnership East and ECU.”
For more information about SECU Partnership East which is involves a partnership between North Carolina Community Colleges, public schools and ECU’s College of Education, please visit www.ecu.edu/pe or contact Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry at email@example.com or 252-328-1123.
On Friday, May 1st, students in SPED 3006 (Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Students with Disabilities) presented their communication projects to the quarterly meeting of Exceptional Children (EC) Directors held at the Sadie Saulter Center in Greenville. Approximately 40 EC directors were in attendance for the day-long meeting. Students worked throughout the semester to create a multimodal communication device for a learner with complex communication needs ranging in age from 4 years to 18 years.
In collaboration with the learner’s teacher or parents, students assessed the learner’s communication needs, and then developed an individualized communication device for them. The communication devices ranged from high tech apps for the iPad to low tech eye gaze boards and a gesture dictionary. All students agreed that a poster presentation of their work to the EC Directors was a good place to demonstrate what they had learned this semester. For their part, the EC Directors were enthusiastic about the students’ work and in the professional demeanor in which the students conducted themselves.
The Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research would like to acknowledge Cassie Robacker, who recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Special Education from ECU in Spring of 2014. Cassie, under the supervision of Drs. Christopher Rivera and Sandra Warren, submitted and was accepted for a publication in Intervention in School and Clinic “A Token Economy Made Easy Through ClassDojo.”
In addition, Cassie presented at ECU’s Clinical Teacher Conference this past March and has been accepted to present at the National Annual Conference for Learning Disabilities in Las Vegas. Congratulations to Cassie for wonderfully representing ECU and for her outstanding scholarly work.
Special Education faculty and students participated in the national conference for the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) in San Diego April 8-11. It is the largest special education conference in the nation. Drs. Alana Zambone, Christopher Rivera, Stacy Weiss, and Professor Debbie Metcalf attended and presented at the conference.
Seven special education undergraduate students from ECU’s Student Council for Exceptional Children’s Chapter also attended. They were a wonderful group of students. Together they attended educational sessions, live tweeted the events, and had time for a little fun too. On behalf of the Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research I’d like to personally thank this special group of students for representing ECU in such a phenomenal way. Go Pirates!
The North Carolina Council of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Scholarship Board will continue to offer their Scholarship for students and teachers who are pursuing a degree or certification in Special Education in 2015.
The scholarship has been available since 1956 and is targeted to individuals training for work with exceptional children and has ranged from $500 to $2,500 per year. Current North Carolina teachers seeking additional training are also eligible. Applications must be post marked by April 1, 2015 and awards will be made by May 2, 2015.