As educators, we’ve all been there: uncertain about how to best use our skills and knowledge to make a difference in the world of public education. When Sarah Semon and Phyllis Jones were asked to help coach special education teachers in a local school district, they realized this would be a wonderful way to share their expertise in special education.
Coaches are common in schools today for reading, math, and science, but not in special education. So, Sarah and Phyllis pulled together a team from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and a wide range of professional expertise, from general and gifted education to autism and complex disabilities. The one common thread was a desire to promote inclusion for students with disabilities through the improvement of instructional and collaborative practices. The Parity team is comprised of committed life-long educators with diverse cultural backgrounds as well as a variety of teaching expertise areas.
Since our modest start in 2018, Parity Coaches have provided intensive coaching and modeling supports to 13 schools and over 65 special educators. Today, Parity and our inspirational coaches work with an ever growing number of schools and organizations in-person and virtually. We work with special educators to support them in their professional development as teachers, not just interventionists or compliance experts. Of course, we also work with their general education colleagues. Together we build collaborative and instructional practices to support children with diverse learning needs. As special and general educators ourselves (in one way or another) we know that exemplary teaching and collaboration is the key to inclusion.