To effectively reach every student in the classroom, educators must push the boundaries and forgo a one-size fits all mentality. That’s one philosophy Victoria Caruana believes wholeheartedly.
“We tend to only teach where we’re comfortable. We have to step outside of our comfort zone to reach every student,” explains Caruana, elementary and special education department chair in the College for Professional Studies School of Education.
This philosophy guides the recent redesign of the school’s special education program curriculum. At its core, the curriculum encourages teachers to focus on serving every student in their classroom.
“Teaching is a vocation, not an occupation. When you become a teacher, you’re answering a calling,” Caruana said.
A 2013 recipient of the Colorado Teacher Education Divisions Excellence in Teacher Educator Award, Caruana was called to enter the education field 30 years ago, first as a teacher before transitioning to her current role as a teacher educator.
Caruana oversaw the revamp of Regis’ graduate level special education curriculum, in place since fall 2013. The program was structured to ensure every class connected to the next and put students in the field early on.
“Students aren’t just watching, they’re working alongside a teacher the whole time,” she said, noting students work in the classroom from the beginning of the program rather than only at the end.
The updates are cutting edge. That’s especially important in special education, a critical field constantly in need of new teachers. From learning how to collect and interpret data to make instructional decisions to using a variety of technologies to teach digital natives, the course work prepares graduates to create flexible plans that work for everyone.
“We want our students to be advocates, not just transmitters of knowledge to pass a state-mandated test,” she said.
Learn more about the nationally accredited and state-approved undergraduate, graduate and licensure education programs offered by the CPS School of Education.