The COVID-19 pandemic, along with recent racial injustices, highlighted the experiences of students with disabilities from historically marginalized communities and the trauma and academic setbacks they experienced. An initiative from two IU School of Education faculty hopes to address some of these challenges.
Equity in Action was founded by Clinical Assistant Professor Tina O’Neal and Associate Professor Sarah Hurwitz to develop research and practical approaches to support historically marginalized children with disabilities. Because post-pandemic recovery will be especially important for these individuals who were academically underserved and racially traumatized during the pandemic, the initiative is devoted to improving special education by promoting evidence-based instructional practices in teacher preparation and focusing research initiatives on improving outcomes.
Teacher training priorities include culturally responsive teaching, trauma- informed care practices, social-emotional learning and assistive technology. The Urban Ed Field Experience is a highlight of this approach: teacher candidates in the Teaching All Learners dual-licensure program travel to Indianapolis Public Schools each week where they can develop relationships with students from diverse backgrounds. This field experience allows these candidates to apply what they are learning in their methods and urban education seminar courses to real-world settings.