Radford University faculty work toward inclusive classrooms for students with disabilities

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Radford University photo
School of Teacher Education and Leadership faculty members Liz Altieri (right) and Darren Minarik recently spoke to the With Good Reason public radio program about their work to promote accessible teaching methods for children with disabilities. Altieri is also a member of the Radford City School Board.

School of Teacher Education and Leadership faculty members Liz Altieri (right) and Darren Minarik recently spoke to the “With Good Reason” public radio program about their work to promote accessible teaching methods for children with disabilities.

Faculty members from Radford University’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (STEL) are working with two school systems in Virginia to build and sustain an inclusive academic, social, emotional and physical environment that serves students with disabilities.

Professor Liz Altieri, Ph.D., Associate Professor Karen Douglas, Ph.D. and Associate Professor Darren Minarik, Ph.D. are in the second year of the project working with Pulaski County Schools and Waynesboro City Public Schools. The goal is to prepare the schools to be models for effective inclusion practice for other school divisions across Virginia.

Altieri and Minarik recently spoke to the “With Good Reason” public radio program about the project and explained how accessible teaching methods can provide more inclusive classrooms for students with disabilities.

“With Good Reason” airs its interview with Altieri and Minarik from January 10-16, 2020 on more than 100 “With Good Reason” stations across the United States. Listeners in the New River Valley were able to hear the show on Tuesday, Jan. 14, on Public Radio WVRU 89.9, but programs are available as podcasts at withgoodreasonradio.org.

The STEL faculty members say inclusive practices can be achieved by implementing the 3C’s (Cultural Shift, Collaboration and Coaching) Inclusion Project, which creates a cultural shift, to build collaborative inclusion teams and provide coaching to school personnel.

Through the project in Pulaski County and Waynesboro City, the Radford faculty members are working to initiate a cultural shift through an inclusion team made up of administrators, general educators, special educators, parents, students and related service providers.

They also are facilitating workshops to train parents and youth with developmental disabilities to advocate for inclusion in their schools and communities.

“Inclusive education has been identified as a critical area of need in Virginia public schools as a practice to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities,” Altieri said. “There is ample documentation of the effectiveness of inclusive educational practices that warrant support for a project designed to create two model school divisions – one county and one city – to build capacity and achieve systems change.”

The “With Good Reason” radio program is produced by Virginia Humanities for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium, which is comprised of all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

Radford University is proud to partner with this award-winning program, which is heard by an estimated 100,000 people each week on public radio stations in 33 states, including Virginia and Washington D.C. Thousands more download the episodes via iTunes.

 

Chad Osborne

Radford University