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Together, We Can Do Hard Things!

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash

The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) would like to take this opportunity to applaud and thank Catholic school educators for their innovation and persistence in meeting the needs of all students. We are in an unprecedented time-both personally and professionally, and your dedication to your students is commended. Please know of our thoughts and prayers as you continue your good work on behalf of ALL students.


As educators, we are comfortable within the four walls of our classrooms. We use our expertise to confidently plan engaging lessons, coordinate activities, and motivate our students. When we encounter challenges and need new ideas, we look to others for support and to experts for evidence-based practices to ensure our students have the best chance of success.

During this unique time, we are met with many challenges. Teaching has made a quick shift to online and distance learning, and some of us may have been more prepared than others. Despite our level of preparedness, these are uncharted waters and it is the reality for the unforeseeable future. In light of this, PIE wants you to know that we are here to support you. Together, we can do hard things!

We take the opportunity to share various tools and resources to assist in your online teaching. There are many experts in this field, and we are blessed by their increasing willingness to provide support to us during this time. Many have ramped up their support in the past few weeks, and we direct your attention to some valuable sites that provide ideas on how to effectively meet the needs of your students, especially those that struggle or have disabilities.

  1. Schoolvirtually.org provides resources for educators and families to support all learners, including students with disabilities and language learners. This is a new site and the developers have flooded it with valuable resources to meet your online needs. Here is a list of topics under the educator tab.

School Virtually - Program for Inclusive Education 

  1. Instructionalcoaching.com is a site developed by Dr. Jim Knight from the University of Kansas. Although the site is geared towards a variety of instructional projects, it has a wealth of resources pertaining to teaching from home.
  2. Educatingalllearners.org is “an effort by educators, for educators.” There are resources, webinars, forums, and the latest updates about COVID19. It is an alliance dedicated to the equity of all learners.
  3. Learningkeepsgoing.org seeks to make the transition to online learning easier. You can also find an educator help desk and free technology (among many other things).
  4. Understood.org is a free online resource (in English and Spanish) that is aimed at providing families (and educators) with the practical tools and advice for a child's academic, behavioral, and social/emotional journey. Here are a few recent posts to address online learning.
  5. Innovations in Special Education Technology has additional technology tools that can be used to address the needs of those with disabilities. Many of these resources are free and available for immediate use.
  6. Drs. Lisa Dieker and Rebecca Hines, professors at the University of Central Florida, have created a series of podcasts addressing Practical Access for students with disabilities during this shift to online learning. They take a fun and practical look at the current learning situation.

In a time when we may not know where to turn, amazing educators across the country are busy at work. They are providing information, support, and the necessary resources for our online classrooms. Although this time may be difficult, you are not alone.

Together, we can do hard things!

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About the Author

Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

Dr. Christie Bonfiglio serves as the Director for both the Office of Professional Standards and Graduate Studies and the Program for Inclusive Education in the Alliance for Catholic Education. She is a faculty member with the Program for Inclusive Education and the ACE Teaching Fellows program, and a teaching professor within the Institute for Educational Initiatives.

Dr. Bonfiglio is a school psychologist by training, a researcher, and a national presenter. With a background in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and academic and behavioral interventions, she works to collaborate with Catholic schools in supporting all students inclusively.

Prior to joining ACE in July of 2014, Dr. Bonfiglio served as the Department Chair and Director of Special Education for the Teacher Education Department at Goshen College. At Goshen College, her responsibilities included teacher training in the field of mild to moderate disabilities and the accreditation of academic programming in teacher education. Dr. Bonfiglio has practical experience in collaborating with teachers, professional, and families; supporting students with academic and behavioral variability; and facilitating the child study team. She is passionate about meaningful inclusion of all learners in Catholic schools and how each student’s gifts create a vibrant community.