My career in education began as a speech therapist in a bilingual preschool program with Puerto Rican children in Buffalo, NY. It was there I learned the benefits of infusing the local community culture and language into the curriculum as a means of enhancing the language and literacy development of Spanish dominant students who were classified as language delayed. I received my Bachelor's of Science in Speech and Hearing from SUNY Fredonia. Shortly thereafter I moved to the Southwest, where I lived for nearly 10 years. Most of my teaching experience was with multilingual/multicultural students with disabilities from rural and urban areas in New Mexico. I received my master's from the University of New Mexico in special education with a concentration in bilingual. As a teacher, I struggled with the pervasive deficit orientation that positioned my students from diverse backgrounds as problem rather than acknowledging and capitalizing on their rich histories and lived experiences. I received my doctorate in multicultural special education from the University of Texas at Austin.
I have a strong commitment to advocating for equitable education for students with and without disabilities from multilingual/multicultural communities. I believe in authentic engagement with parents/families and local communities as a vehicle for educational change. I have collaborated with leaders in multilingual communities, community-based organizations, school district personnel, and parents/families in developing educational policy and best practices for English language learners with and without disabilities.
My Students at CU Denver
I believe that in order to be an effective teacher there is a delicate balance among knowing the learner, the content and the curriculum, methods, and the self as a teacher as well as the larger contexts that influence how and why we teach (e.g. policy, race relations, cultural underpinnings of education, etc). As a result, I make concerted efforts not only to include readings that examine these complex ideas but also provide opportunities for students to engage in critical discussion about the interface of teacher identity, learner identity, and the socio-political contexts of teaching and learning.
Classes I have taught at CU Denver
- Culturally Responsive Supports for Social and Emotional Development - SPED 5151 OL1
- Linguistically Responsive Special Education - SPED 5740
- Language and Literacy Acquisition of Diverse Learners - SPED 5530/CLDE 5030
- Teaching Methods of ESL - CLDE 5820
- Teacher Beliefs, Whiteness, Transformative Learning
- Effective practices for language and literacy development of culturally, linguistically diverse learners with and without disabilities.
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