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Educators Participate in Co-Teaching Workshop

Eighth grade teachers participate in workshopOn Wednesday morning, a group of eighth grade teachers gathered around desks in the Eastchester High School Library Classroom, participating in a workshop designed to hone their abilities as educators. 


Through team-building exercises and discussions, the workshop—run by the G&R group— focused on fostering more collaborative, inclusive environments in co-teaching classrooms, something that has been a focal point of the Eastchester Union Free School District over the last several years. 


According to Dr. Greg Stowell, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services, the EUFSD first partnered with G&R last year to run workshops for teachers in Grades 2-6, but decided to expand its involvement with the group after receiving positive feedback from those professional development sessions. 


“I have to give credit to [Assistant Director of Special Education] Erin McGee, who—prior to my arrival—found this group,” said Dr. Stowell. “The initial plan was to bring them in for the 2022-23 school year, but they did such remarkable work that we decided to bring them back this year to continue that work so that by the end of this school year, every grade has been provided training focusing on general education and special education pedagogies and strategies.”


Co-Teaching support—an initiative implemented to pair general and special educators in a classroom in order to create more inclusive classroom environments and provide specially-designed instruction—is available in every building across the district, noted Dr. Stowell, and the District is always committed to staying abreast of the latest co-teaching trends.


“These professional development exercises are critically important; understanding best practices in co-teaching ensures that students not only have equity of access, but also equity opportunity,” said. Dr. Stowell. “It ensures that teachers are equipped with the strategies and approaches that allow students with disabilities to progress through the curriculum, to feel like a part of the school and class community, and develop goals that are unique to their specific learning needs while engaging in the general educational curriculum with their peers.”


G&R representatives will run three workshop sessions for Eastchester teachers while also providing push-in classroom support in order to help teachers implement these best practices. 


“This also sets a cultural expectation for the District that special education isn’t a place, it isn’t a person, it’s not one teacher’s responsibility; it’s a service and it’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Dr. Stowell. “If you do this well, it ensures you have a community that embraces students with disabilities, it allows students to flourish, and it sets the expectation for a place where all students learn and all students belong.”