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From PIE's Desk to Yours

PIE 2 Educators with an Introductory Excerpt by Jenny Zander, Early Childhood Center Director - St. Theresa Catholic School in Phoenix, AZ


The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) presents a special resource this month: From PIE's Desk to Yours. We hope you enjoy words of affirmation from inclusive educators who participated with our second cohort. The PIE 2 educators have witnessed struggles and successes, yearned for more for every student, and joined our mission to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. In addition to their encouragement, they each provide an evidence-based practice (EBP) that they learned during PIE, which is dedicated to effectively supporting diverse learners in their classrooms. Jenny Zander writes the introductory excerpt, and we hope you will explore the remaining EBPs for implementation in your classroom. Many thanks to the amazing inclusive educators who continue to give their very best and welcome, serve, and celebrate all students in Catholic schools!

~Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.; Director of the Program for Inclusive Education

PIE offers something for every educator. As an early-childhood educator, I found strategies to help my young students. The evidence-based practice I share below is segmenting and blending. 

In PIE, you will learn a great deal about inclusive practices in every classroom: what they look like, how to support a variety of learners, how to bring and implement frameworks to support behavior and academics in your school, and how to remove barriers in instruction. You will understand the importance of having a growth mindset. You will become familiar with a variety of tools, teaching strategies, and technology options to implement in class. You will learn ways to support all students and their families within the classroom and greater community. You'll gain a deeper understanding of the laws and policies regarding students with disabilities. You will hear personal accounts from students and families, collaborate with other educators, and be supported by professionals.

PIE requires work and dedication, but don't let that deter you. You will collaborate with other like-minded educators and professors supporting you on your journey. Dedication and focus promote great growth, and you will end the program inspired and ready to implement all you have learned.

I was inspired to join PIE by advice from students who shared their experiences of inclusive environments. Be open to growth, dream big, and don't wait to participate, and jump right in.

Evidence-Based Practice: Segmenting & Blending

As an early childhood educator, I'm working to build student's knowledge of letter and letter-sound pairs through evidence-based strategies. Segmenting sounds allows readers to break a word apart, while blending combines the sounds to create the word. This process is part of decoding, which is an important part of learning to read and leads to reading fluently. 

Reading Rockets is a validated literacy program with varying interventions for diverse levels. I begin with Alphabet Matching and Matching Books to Phonics Features. For students who have mastered this pre-reading skill, I utilize strategies that focus on blending and segmenting including Drive-Thru Blending and Pound and Sound. Students' progress is tracked with each student recording data on a self-assessment. When a letter or letter sound is mastered, students get excited and are motivated to keep learning. With these little learners, movement and play incorporated into the instruction keeps them engaged and having fun while they practice and strengthen foundational pre-reading skills. 

PIE teaches evidence-based practices that are applicable for students of all ages (preschool through high school). Want to learn more about PIE and these practices? Please check out this resource to read more about the experiences and practices PIE inclusive educators from around the country. 

Download the Resource

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