Welcome! This Summer we launched our first cohort of EMBRACE educators! This group of educators is working on special education certification through the amazing education team and program at Benedictine College. These folks are currently educators in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and wanted to expand their experience and knowledge base on the best practices for including students with disabilities in our Catholic schools. We wanted you to meet a few of them today, and we will be introducing a few at a time over the next few months. They each have a huge role in the Catholic School Community. We asked a few of them why they became educators in the first place and what they hope to accomplish throughout the year. Let's dive in!
Meet Mallorie! She is the Learning Resource Director at Bishop Miege."My current position as Learning Resource Director at Bishop Miege High School has provided me with the opportunity to support students of all abilities in receiving a Catholic education. EMBRACE has provided many resources for us to build our inclusive environment, and when an opportunity arose for me to continue to expand my knowledge and expertise, I jumped on it. Partnering with EMBRACE, and now continuing my education through the EMBRACE educator program, has allowed me to not only share my experiences and ideas but has given me the chance to collaborate with other Catholic educators on ways we can all continue to grow. My goal, as an EMBRACE educator, is to share my knowledge and continue to develop our programming to ensure the spiritual, social, and academic success of our students in and out of the classroom."
Meet Colleen! She is a Resource Teacher at Ascension Catholic School. "I became an EMBRACE Educator, because I wanted to learn more about my students with disabilities in order to help serve them better within our Catholic school community. I want to use what I learn to make it possible for our parish schools to serve those who may not have been able to be served in the past due to lack of resources such as those the public schools have and doing it competently and confidently."
Meet Darlene! She is a Resource Teacher at St. John the Evangelist. "I am extremely grateful for the EMBRACE program. It's benefits will be far reaching for years to come for the hundreds of students and dozens of educators that will be touched by it. When our schools become more inclusive every student, not just those with disabilities, will be provided a higher quality education. By sharing what we have learned with our colleagues, EMBRACE scholars can help the whole school staff to grow in their understanding of students with exceptionalities and their professional skills to serve them. As a Title 1 teacher and Instructional Assistant I will be able to impact the education of my struggling students and those with disabilities both through direct contact and as a resource to classroom teachers and IEP teams. I decided to pursue this opportunity for the benefit of my entire school community. None of it would be possible without the scholarship award. Thank you!"
Again, we could not accomplish our mission without our EMBRACE educators. They are key to the inclusion of students with disabilities in our Catholic Schools, so we wanted to say thank you to all of the educators who dedicate their time and talent to EMBRACE to keep the mission going. We should also note, being in one of our cohorts isn’t the only way to be an EMBRACE educator. Many of our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas are already working hard to include students with disabilities. If you would like to join our EMBRACE circle of educators, please reach out to us. We want to build a network that supports one another, across schools and the archdiocese, while expanding inclusion for all students, and also sharing our mission to help ensure we are able to support those students and schools that need additional resources.
With that, we also want to say thank you to our wonderful community who continue to support the EMBRACE mission both financially and prayerfully in order for the inclusion of students with disabilities and this circle of EMBRACE educators to be a reality. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.
Lastly, we would like to take a moment to introduce you to Erin Earhart. Erin joined EMBRACE at the height of the pandemic, and we cannot begin to tell you the impact she has had already.
Erin attended Holy Cross elementary school in her youth, high school at St. Thomas Aquinas, and topped out her well rounded Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas Catholic school experience at Benedictine College. Members of St. Agnes parish, Erin and her loving husband have 2 beautiful daughters, and they love exploring, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Erin only works a few hours a week with us, but she has her hand in it all. She is specifically working on what we would call our “stay connected” projects like the website, our blog, our newsletter, our mailings, our upcoming videos and partnership with NCPD. We are social, and she helps us keep it all together and moving along.
Erin can be reached at Erin@embraceks.org. We know she would love to hear from you about ways EMBRACE, Catholic education and inclusion of those with disabilities had, can and should impact us all. We want to tell your story.
Thank you friends!
Please follow us along for the upcoming blog to learn more about our educators and soon to hear from the students themselves! Don't forget to follow us on social media for all the latest updates and photos of the school year!