Follow the links below to access resources that can be helpful for any educator who works with diverse learners.
Neuro-diversity is the norm; there is no average. When we account for this diversity in our classrooms and design for all learners, we’re setting up all students—including the 5.7 million who receive special education services—for greater success.
Excellent teachers can equip their students with tools for success, yet 46 states report not having enough special educators to meet the needs in their communities. This lack of teachers may account for some stark realities within the diverse learner community. One out of two adults who identify as having a learning disability are unemployed. This continues the cycle of discrimination of people who learn differently in our schools and society. All classrooms need teachers who have the mindset, knowledge, and skills to embrace all learners.
All students learn differently, and students with diverse learning needs are in every classroom. Over 13 percent of Teach For America corps members teach in special education contexts.
In 2014, Teach For America launched the Diverse Learner Initiative to:
Recruit general and special educators who believe in the unique potential of each student.
Bring together our community of corps members, alumni, staff and partners to make change in classrooms, schools and policy to better support diverse learners.
We are building partnerships and pilots to support our corps members and alumni across the country in embracing all learners. In addition to partnering with colleges and universities for teacher certification, the following partnerships supplement and support our work:
Teach For America’s Eastern North Carolina region is developing an “Embracing All Learners” professional development sequence that includes training with The Hill Center and the Friday Institute’s MOOC-Ed on Learning Differences.
Our Alabama region piloted a partnership with Understood.org for training to better support parents and teachers.
Our Miami-Dade region piloted a partnership with Learning Ally around training for all educators on universal design for learning and response to intervention.
Alumni and staff from our Atlanta, D.C., and Los Angeles regions are participating in Teach For All-Oak Foundation Learning Differences Fellowship and collaborating with our global partners on how to better support all learners across contexts.
Our Milwaukee region partnered with Independence First to provide corps members and staff with first-hand training on disability etiquette and awareness.
These programs build on the training and support we offer all of our corps members.
We are thrilled to work alongside organizations that are doing incredible work to support all learners. Our involvement with the Reimagine Learning initiative has led to strong collaboration with The Center for Individual Opportunity, The New Teacher Center, Understood.org and many more organizations and individuals.
We are also excited to partner with organization—such as Eye to Eye and Ramapo for Children—to bring high quality professionals into the field who have a strong background, experience, and mindsets around embracing all learners.
We continue to learn from organizations such as the Council for Exceptional Children, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and specialized schools like AIM Academy, Denver Academy, The Hill Center, and others who push our thinking around best practices for supporting our diverse learners.
We support the following initiatives:
Jennifer started teaching at Tyler Elementary School eight years ago. Today, she works as Tyler’s Leadership Initiative For Teachers ambassador. The individualized high expectations and support she provides students led to Jennifer being honored with a 2012 Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching by chancellor Kaya Henderson (New York '92).
Jackie is a professor of special education at the college of William and Mary in Virginia. Her dissertation for her doctorate from the University of Central Florida focused on her work with United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Jordan, where she lived and researched for a year. She is on the board for the Division of International Special Education Services of the Council for Exceptional Children.