Vicki Curtis Foundation Supports Professional Development Changes Emphasize Co-Teaching Initiatives

Vicki Curtis Foundation Supports Professional Development Changes Emphasize Co-Teaching Initiatives
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John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
 
Such synergy has long been evident in the Vicki Curtis Fund for Students and Teaching Excellence and will be retained as the type of support changes.
 
“For 2015-2016, there will no longer be a scholarship awarded to an individual staff member based on a nomination but instead, a donation will be made to Lakota from the Vicki Curtis Foundation. The funds will be used to support the district initiative of co-teaching,” states Lynda Theiler, Lakota’s executive director of Special Education for K-6 grades.
 
“This will provide staff the opportunities to partake in professional development opportunities, focusing on instructional strategies to support students with disabilities in their least restrictive environment,” she adds.
 
The Vicki A. Curtis Fund for Students and Teaching Excellence was established in memory of a former Lakota employee who died after a long-fought battle with breast cancer. “We noticed that past scholarship recipients often used the award for professional development, not just for themselves, but for a team of staff members,” states Andrea Longworth, executive director of Special Education for secondary grades. “Vicki was dedicated to continuous personal and professional growth and fostering growth in others. We believe changing the support from a scholarship to an outright donation will continue to honor Vicki’s values and benefit even more Lakota staff and, in turn, our students.”
 
Co-teaching is an emerging concept, pairing a regular and special education teacher who work together to instruct a classroom of special and regular education students. The goal is to support academic diversity and ensure all students have access to a robust curriculum.
 
“One wonderful aspect of co-teaching is that it allows the teachers to learn from each other and to grow as professionals,” says Longworth. “The approach truly meshes with Vicki’s focus as an educator.”