HDC Spotlight: Ali Kowitz, M.Ed., ET/P
Ms. Ali Kowitz recently joined the staff of HDC’s K-12 Educational Initiatives as an educational facilitator. Ali coaches special educators and regular education teachers to better serve students, including those with disabilities in several school districts across South Louisiana (i.e., Iberville, East Baton Rouge, ReNEW-New Orleans, and Belle Chasse Academy). According to Ms. Julie Riley, HDC’s K-12 Education Initiatives director, “Ali may have only been in this role for three-months, but her expertise in instructional strategies and transition has added greatly to our team.” In fact, Ali has already developed professional development materials focusing on instructional strategies and accommodations/modifications to assist students with disabilities function within school-wide and classroom norms. Happily, these strategies work for students of all abilities!
“Inclusion is the golden rule. We should not be gatekeepers to a good education. We must find ways for everyone to participate throughout the school day in multiple settings, including the community.”Ali Kowitz, M.Ed., ET/P
Ali’s strength as an educational facilitator is her ability to inspire teachers to see the deeper and more meaningful changes needed to ensure all students are included. Ali states, “While teachers are in the trenches doing the hard day-to-day work, my job as an educational facilitator is to break down the latest research for special and general education teachers and support them to apply new strategies collaboratively.” Ali helps regular and special education teachers collaborate to pair their existing expertise with evidence-based strategies to improve academic, social, behavioral, and emotional outcomes of students. Ali aims to build educators’ capacity to effectively collaborate so that their existing strengths reach even more learners.
Ali coaches regular and special education teachers to co-plan ways to build in supports, accommodations/modifications and scaffold learning opportunities to meet each student’s unique needs. Ali supports teachers to become comfortable and confident collaborating to design and implement instruction, including creating and providing students with necessary supports. Ali explains, “When students’ individual strengths and needs are thought of proactively, it makes in-the-moment teaching more productive and meaningful, and it lets teachers see that inclusion works!”
The cornerstone of high quality educational facilitation is coaching teachers to collaborate at the classroom, school and community, and district levels. All of HDC’s K-12 Education Initiatives are designed to support educators create lasting systems change.