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From the Field: Grainne Carroll

on Thursday, 19 January 2012.

Recently we asked Grainne Carroll, who hails from Ireland, to tell us about her experience with ACE. Grainne is a graduate of ACE Service through Teaching (STT, cohort 16) and has completed one semester of ACE's Teaching Exceptional Children (TEC) program. Here's what she had to say.

carroll g 2My experiences with ACE and ACE TEC have been truly wonderful. From the joyous moment I received my letter of acceptance to the master's program in 2009, to sunny summers of intense studying at Notre Dame, to late night TEC assignments this fall, ACE has truly challenged me, pushing me to reach my potential as a teacher and minister of Christ.

During my undergrad years in Dublin, Ireland, where I gained my bachelor's degree in education, and the two years I spent in Texas completing my master's degree, one area that really intrigued me was special education. In my few years of teaching, I have encountered so many beautiful and talented children of God who have been denied their right to an equal and adequate education, specific to their individual needs. This reality hit home when one of my students in Texas left for the public school system due to insufficient funds and resources available at our Catholic school. It was heartbreaking to realize that we were unable to provide that student the education he needed in a Catholic environment. During this time, I decided to apply for ACE TEC.

ACE TEC has been a tremendous gift to me. It has provided me with the tools and information needed to actually make a difference in my classroom and in my school. Many times in my (short) teaching career, I felt unsure and unaware of the best approach to take with a student with special needs. But after just one summer and one semester of ACE TEC, I feel a greater sense of comfort working with these students, because ACE TEC has given me strategies that can help them succeed. For example, I am now a member of my school's Intervention Assistance Team, which exists to provide support of and/or guidance for teachers and parents of students with special needs. In the first two quarters of the year, our team met to address the unique learning needs of seven different students. We created implementation strategies for the teachers and parents to help these students achieve success.

ACE TEC has reinforced my belief that teachers must be equipped to address the unique needs of every student, because all students are special. I am grateful for the tools and encouragement the program provides so that an equal and excellent Catholic education is available to all.

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