Inclusive Elementary Program Featured in “Impact”

Christine AshbyChristine Ashby, associate professor of inclusive education, and Sara Soldovieri ’18 G’19 are featured in the Winter 2018-2019 issue of Impact from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. They both spoke to the unique strengths of the inclusion program in the School of Education.

Ashby was interviewed by Cheryl M. Jorgensen about the undergraduate inclusive elementary and special education program. The first major research university to offer a dual elementary/special education certification program, Syracuse University has a long history of advocating for disability rights and inclusive education. This program involves intensive field work starting in the first semester, in a wide range of inclusive settings. Ashby says:

We really want folks to be highly collaborative. We want students who have a commitment to equity and social justice, and even if they don’t enter the program with those values, it’s what makes each cohort coalesce. We want our students to be reflective and, of course, really flexible! We nurture our students’ commitment to being agents of change, from within institutions and systems and from the outside.

The collaboration extends to the faculty, who co-teach Professional Block classes and work together to seamlessly integrate coursework and experiences throughout the four year degree. Read more of Prof. Ashby’s interview in Impact.

Sara Jo Soldovieri with a studentSoldovieri talked to Impact about how Syracuse and the School of Education supported her goal of becoming an inclusive educator. is a 2018 graduate of the inclusive elementary program, and is currently enrolled in the Inclusive Special Education (Grades 7-12 Generalist), M.S. program, in addition to her role as Manager of Inclusive Education of the National Down Syndrome Society. Soldovieri tells Impact:

Before coming to SU, I believed that inclusion was the right thing to do; now I can back up that belief with research and practical examples. I credit SU with everything. I remember sitting in a large lecture my freshman year in Dr. Christy Ashby’s introduction to inclusive education class, doing a project on the representation of disability in media, when I first realized that inclusion went beyond lesson planning and differentiation. It was in this class that I made the connection that to truly be inclusive is a whole life process. It has given me such a strong foundation to advocate for inclusive education.

Read more of Sara Soldovieri’s reflections in Impact.