Summer Exchange shares special education techniques

Alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Special Education Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence (MCEA) Teacher Certification Program will gather for the Summer Exchange, a one-day sharing of promising teaching practices, on Tuesday, June 26, at the Zelazo Center, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.

The program, which starts at 9 a.m., brings together alumni from the program’s last 10 years, according to Wansheba Barnes, implementer of the Redesign Initiative Project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. One of the initiatives is to form a network of graduates who routinely exchange promising teaching practices, both through meeting together and through videos on the project website.

“The whole goal of this project is to make sure we have high-quality teachers in exceptional education,” says Barnes. “We want to do everything we can to make that possible.”

The June 26 Summer Exchange will give graduates a chance to hear about practices that make a difference to students. Dasha Kelly, a local writer and performer, will discuss ways of engaging students in creative writing. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in anthologies, textbooks and magazines, and online.

Four graduates will share videos they have made about practices they are using in their classrooms. Roundtable discussions will look at ways of bringing literature to life, using iPads and other technology, connecting with families and the community, and improving success in mathematics.

Alison Ford and Judy Winn, associate professors in exceptional education and co-directors of the Redesign Initiatives Project, are working with Barnes and other faculty throughout UWM’s School of Education to reshape the certification program. The connection to graduates through the Summer Exchange will not only showcase the wonderful work of the graduates but will also inform the preparation of new teachers, says Winn.