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Zumba for Autism

In April, members of the St. Thomas Aquinas College Chapter (#1254) of the Council for Exceptional Children hosted Zumba for Autism to raise money for Camp Venture, a local organization which serves individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disorders. This event coincided with Autism Awareness month and highlighted the growing needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This year, Arianna Pallens led the participants in an invigorating exercise routine. Arianna instructs Zumba at the Finkelstein Memorial Library in Spring Valley on Tuesday evenings. Participants also bought raffle tickets for a drawing for prizes which included a designer handbag and gift cards.

The Council for Exceptional Children is a national organization whose mission is “to improve, through excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for children and youth with exceptionalities.” The STAC Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children is a student organization, which organizes professional development opportunities and advocates for the educational needs of individuals with disabilities.

STAC to Host Summer Literacy and Special Education Programs for Children

The St. Thomas Aquinas College Literacy program and Special Education program are designed to provide assistance to elementary and middle school children who are having difficulty learning reading and writing skills. The programs take place during July on the college campus. Teachers work with children both individually and in small groups. An instructional plan is developed and implemented for each child based on the assessment of academic needs. The focus for the program is on the development of reading and writing skills. All teachers are certified and are currently enrolled in the St. Thomas Aquinas College Graduate Program in either Literacy/Reading or Special Education. Members of the graduate education faculty supervise teachers.

Learn more and apply.

Alumni News: Bridget Humphrey '16, MSED '17

Bridget Humphrey presented at this year’s New York State Federation of Chapters of the Council for Exceptional Children’s (NYSCEC) annual conference in Binghamton, NY on October 20th, 2017. Along with Dr. Elizabeth Finnegan, she presented an interactive workshop titled, "Overcoming Writer’s Block: Strategies to Teach Struggling Students How to Write."

The Council for Exceptional Children is a national organization that works to improve the educational success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The state conference attracts educators and students from across the state. During the workshop, Ms. Humphrey described how graphic organizers could be matched to individual student needs. She also described the importance of collaboration in the writing process. Many of the participants were early career teachers using Crick software to support their own struggling students.

After the workshops, one of the participants congratulated Ms. Humphrey for sharing her experiences working with fifth-grade students, stating, “This was the best presentation I’ve been to at the conference.” Ms. Humphrey’s participation was supported by the Faculty Development Grant awarded to Dr. Finnegan.

Ms. Humphrey was one of the first graduates from the School of Education’s Dual Degree Childhood and Special Education program. She currently works as an assistant teacher in a Head Start program.

mst in art education graduates develop creative outlets

Meghan McDonough '17, one of the first graduates of the School of Education’s Master of Science in Teaching (MST) program for Art Education and Students with Disabilities, is teaching at The College Academy, part of George Washington Educational Campus in Washington Heights. After receiving a Master of Science in Teaching from St. Thomas Aquinas College, Meghan was hired as a leave replacement art teacher in Mamaroneck, New York, before starting a permanent position in New York City. Read more.

Breanna McMullen, another graduate of the MST Art Education program now teaches 3rd-5th grade at The Promise Academy in Harlem. Other students have presented work in the Azarian McCullough Art Gallery, completed leave replacements, and taught in summer camps.