I have been teaching Special Education in CPS since 2009 and have been working with students with special needs since I was a young child. My passion and drive has always been caring for and educating young children with all types of abilities. I started at Jahn in 2013 to help develop the blended preschool program.
Education: I graduated from Fenwick High school in Oak Park and from there graduated from Elmhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education with a concentration in Literacy. I also received my Learning Behavior Specialist certification and Masters of Science in Special Education from Dominican University.
Personal: I was born and raised in Lyons, Illinois, a small suburb just outside of the city. I come from a big Irish family who are avid Blackhawks, Cubs and Bears fans. I am also married to a Chicago Firefighter. I wear the hat of "fire wife" with extreme pride! My passion and drive has always been caring for and educating young children with and without disabilities.
In our classroom: In our room, you will find the use of natural lighting (no fluorescent lights used), a sensory room, flexible seating, true play, strong social emotional support and behavior management, daily yoga, frequent opportunities for movement, students learning at ALL levels, and solid academic instruction and support. As a team, with different backgrounds, areas of expertise, and experience, we are working together to make sure EVERY child is learning in a way that is best for him/her, building on strengths, making improvements to areas of need, and providing exposure to all different modalities and styles of learning, and encouraging self discovery.
Benefits of co-teaching and inclusive settings:
- Students receive more individual attention, more interaction with teachers, and a smaller teacher/student ratio.
- Research has shown that students without disabilities who participated in a co-taught classroom (such as our classroom) had improved academic performance, increased time and attention from teachers, increased emphasis on cognitive strategies and study skills, increase emphasis on social skills, and improved classroom communities.
- Studies have shown students with disabilities who were in an inclusive setting had a more positive attitude, were provided with role models for behavior and learning, interacted more with peers without disabilities, and were exposed to higher level concepts and discussions.
- Behavioral and academic expectations remain high for students with and without disabilities.
- Being in a blended environment teaches empathy, tolerance, and acceptance of ALL individuals with different abilities.
- Increased student engagement and increased use of strategies by students.
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem, and stronger peer relations.
- 2 heads are always better than 1! All of our students, whether or not they have special needs, learn in different ways. Even as adults, we know we learn and take in information differently than some of our peers.
Cheers to another successful, fun, and happy new school year!