PHILADELPHIA, April 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Catapult Learning, a provider of instructional services for students and professional development solutions for teachers in K-12 schools, today announced a partnership with Jenna Mancini Rufo, Ed.D., a renowned education expert in inclusive practices and author of Reimagining Special Education. The partnership is designed to raise awareness of the need to equip all teachers with the training, tools, and strategies necessary to effectively support the growing population of students with disabilities in general education classrooms.
The collaboration between Catapult Learning and Dr. Rufo aims to address this issue by working with general and special education K-12 administrators on professional development opportunities that foster pro-social, pro-academic learning environments, ensuring teachers can support individual needs and help all students thrive.
“With experience as a special education teacher and administrator, coupled with her deep focus on inclusive practices, Jenna is the ideal expert to work with Catapult Learning as we continue breaking down barriers for teachers and creating inclusive classrooms where all students can excel,” said Jessica Petersen, general manager, professional development services for Catapult Learning. “Together we will partner with education leaders to prioritize the implementation of inclusive practices and empower teachers with everyday strategies that help prepare students to learn.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students nationwide with disabilities who spend more than 80% of their time in regular education classrooms has more than doubled in recent decades to 64.8%1. With this increase comes the urgent need for educators to be confidently equipped with the knowledge and resources to improve student engagement and learning in inclusive environments. Research shows that only 17% of general education teachers feel “very well prepared” to instruct children with mild to moderate learning disabilities.2
“We have a unique opportunity to create a more inclusive and equitable educational system,” said Dr. Rufo. “I am excited to partner with Catapult Learning to provide educators with the necessary resources and support to make this vision a reality. There have always been students on the margins of what has historically been considered ‘typical’ or ‘average’. Post-pandemic, we are seeing just how great the need is for teachers to be able to meet the needs of learners with diverse needs.”
Dr. Rufo is a leader in inclusive practices and has dedicated her career to promoting educational equity. As an advocate for students with disabilities, she works to inspire and enable educators and schools to create inclusive environments where all students can thrive. She is the founder of empowerED School Solutions and author of Reimagining Special Education: Using Inclusion as a Framework to Build Equity and Support All Students.
She will assist with Catapult Learning’s professional development program for all educators around inclusive practices for teaching and learning. The Inclusive Practices Institute instills knowledge with courses that address today’s education challenges, reinforce professional learning with rigorous job-embedded coaching and deliver effective strategies to address the unique needs of every student, whether in general or special education.
To kick off the partnership, Catapult Learning and Dr. Rufo will host a free professional development webinar on Wednesday, May 3, at 3 p.m. ET, titled “Rethinking School: The Case for Inclusive Education.” The webinar will include discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed educational inequities and areas of urgent need, presenting schools with a pivotal moment to reimagine their approach.
The session will encourage educators to shift their practices, focusing on student strengths rather than deficits, and will share how an inclusive approach can elevate learning for all children, not just students with disabilities.
To register for the webinar, please visit https://catapultlearning.com/2023/04/21/rethinking-school-the-case-for-inclusive-education/.
For more information on Catapult Learning, visit www.catapultlearning.com.
About Catapult Learning
Catapult Learning, a division of FullBloom, provides intervention programs for students and professional development solutions for teachers in K-12 schools, executed by a team of experienced coaches. Our professional development services strengthen the capacity of teachers and leaders to raise and sustain student achievement. Our intervention programs support struggling learners with instruction tailored to the unique needs of each student. Across the country, Catapult Learning partners with 500+ school districts to produce positive outcomes that promote academic and professional growth. Catapult Learning is accredited by Cognia and has earned its 2022 System of Distinction honor.
1 National Center for Education Statistics, 2019
2 National Center for Learning Disabilities and Understood, 2019