It’s September 2020, and educators across the country are embarking on a new school year. Many things are still in question...Is it safe to educate face-to-face? If so, how long will it last? How can we reach all children with distance learning, given that schools and students are unprepared?
Answers vary from school to school and state to state. In the face of these questions and obstacles, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) holds steadfast in advancing the mission of inclusion in Catholic schools. PIE welcomed its 4th cohort this summer, and we are ready for whatever the new academic year brings.
In the weeks and months to come, we will continue to advocate and reach as many educators, schools, and dioceses as possible in creative ways. After all, we are in the business of accommodating and adapting to meet the needs of everyone!
To say the 2019-20 academic year was challenging may be an understatement. However, like you, PIE rose to the challenge and worked on behalf of those who don’t have a voice or a seat at the table in Catholic schools. Although the year looked different, it was certainly fruitful! PIE’s 3rd cohort completed inclusive education training, seeking to be licensed special education teachers. In addition, PIE impacted thousands of educators through professional development, conference presentations, and keynote addresses. These professional learning opportunities will impact struggling learners and students with disabilities, as Catholic schools all across the country welcome, serve, and celebrate all students this fall.
How did PIE serve inclusive education during 2019-20, and how will we continue this year? Well...here is how we sliced it up!
18-Credit Hour Cohort Program:
Educators from across the country have committed to becoming an inclusive educator. Last year, PIE had educators from the east coast (Connecticut), Midwest (Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois), the South (Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas) and the West/Northwest (Arizona, California, Oregon, and Alaska). Several schools sent two educators who formed their own professional learning communities, which was quite effective in launching inclusion.
- 12 educators were welcomed into PIE 3 beginning in May of 2019 and completed programming virtually in July 2020.
- 11 educators were welcomed into PIE 4 beginning in May of 2020.
PIE 4 Community Building
Delivery of professional development took PIE across the country until the early days of March. Following travel restrictions, PIE did not relent and delivered PD virtually.
- 10 onsite professional development sessions
- 18 online modules
- 3 schools with long-term coaching
Dr. Michael Faggella-Luby delivering PD in Malvern, PA
Presentations, Keynotes, and Celebrating Inclusion:
PIE faculty advocate and educate teachers and leaders at regional and national conferences, through keynote addresses, and by supporting colleagues in the field. PIE was able to spread the word at the following events–sometimes specifically to Catholic educators, and at other times to the broader special education community. No matter the venue, the PIE team continues to send and support the same message: all students deserve the opportunity to receive the best education, supported with evidence-based practices in the school they desire. PIE’s presentations included:
- International Society for Technology in Education
- University of Dallas Ministry Conference
- National Down Syndrome Congress
- Teacher Education Division-Council for Exceptional Children
- National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion
- Council for Exceptional Children
- National Catholic Education Association
- NCEA Seton Award Gala - Where we celebrated Francesca Pellagrino’s recognition for Inclusion in Catholic Schools
The Program for Inclusive Education hopes you’ll join us in adapting and accommodating to meet the demands of the 2020-21 academic year. PIE will continue to advocate that all students, no matter their different abilities, deserve the opportunity to sit alongside their siblings and peers and receive a high-quality, Catholic education. We will deliver evidence-based content to advance our shared mission.
PIE applications are open for our next cohort, which starts in May 2021. Please join PIE 5. We don’t care how you slice it up...at the University of Notre Dame, we commit to serving all!