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U.S. Department of Education: Pandemic Distance Learning Resources Focused on Special Populations

During this session, participants will receive an overview of what distance learning is and is not and explore resources and guidance from the Department and various of its technical assistance centers on distance learning with an emphasis on meeting the needs of special populations of students.

This talk was presented at:
2021 National ESEA Conference
February 2021 in Cyberspace
Dr. Suprett Anand

Dr. Supreet Anand has been working in the field of education for more than 25 years. She currently serves as the deputy director for the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). As the deputy director for OELA, she informs policy decisions on English Learners (ELs), supervises OELA’s role in disseminating information on educational research, practices, and policies for ELs through the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. Her work also includes supervising the discretionary grant programs under Title III of the Every Students Succeeds Act.

Dr. Anand has also supervised formula grant programs in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Before joining the Department of Education, she served as the Title III director for the Maryland State Department of Education and supervised the Title III program in Prince George's County Public Schools, Maryland. In addition, she taught English as a second language grades(K-12) for over ten years in India and the US.

Nanmathi Manian, PhD

Dr. Nanmathi Manian is a Senior Study Director at Westat with 20 years of experience in research design and evaluation, focusing on children, youth, and families. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in children’s socioemotional development, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), maternal and child mental health, as well as expertise in mixed-methods approaches to data analyses. As part of the National Comprehensive Center, she leads the effort on trauma informed practices and social emotional learning (SEL). At Westat, she has conducted several international and national multisite evaluations, including state and district-wide efforts in supporting SEL in schools, communitybased resilience networks, and psychosocial interventions for vulnerable populations. Prior to Westat, she was a research fellow at the NICHD, as the principal investigator for a longitudinal study of maternal depression and early childhood outcomes. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and teaches a graduate course on research and evaluation. Dr. Manian received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Name of resource(s) to be presented: A Tip sheet on Student Engagement in Online Classes (fact sheet from the National Comprehensive Center) 

Maria del Rosario (Charo) Basterra

Charo is an educational psychologist with over 30 years of experience on issues related to educational evaluation, English Learners, family engagement, multicultural education, and early childhood education. At MAEC, Ms. Basterra provides day to day supervision of MAEC’s programmatic and evaluation activities. She also assists the President in overseeing fiscal affairs. In addition, she provides technical assistance to SEAs, LEAs, and schools to promote the academic achievement of English Learners, K-12. Ms. Basterra has edited several books, including Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity published by Routledge. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution as Manager of Multicultural Programs and at the Organization of American States where she conducted studies on Preschool Education in Latin America. Ms. Basterra holds a B.A. from Catholic University in Lima, Peru and a M.A. in Education from Temple University. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Resource to be presented: Reaching and Teaching English Learners, Newcomer Students, and English Learners with Disabilities During the Pandemic (webinar from the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC))

Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee, M.S., currently serves as the Improving Literacy Research Alliance manager with the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast. She served as the co-author for the Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher’s Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills and for several other literacy tools produced by REL Southeast. She was the lead author of the Guide and Checklists for a School Leader’s Walkthrough during Literacy Instruction in Grades 4-12. Ms. Lee has extensive experience in developing and delivering professional development in literacy throughout the Southeast. She is currently finishing her dissertation to complete her Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy at Florida State University.

Resource to be presented: Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home: REL Southeast created a series of videos and activities to provide families with information about how to support children as they practice foundational reading skills at home.

Marcia Kosanovich, PhD

Dr. Marcia Kosanovich is a reading educator with 28 years of experience in teaching, creating and delivering professional development, and designing curricula. She completed a doctorate in Elementary Education with an emphasis in literacy at Florida State University. She is a former Pre-K-5th grade classroom teacher and tutor and taught undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Kosanovich is the lead author of many literacy guidance documents for educators at the state, district, and school levels. She has co-authored intervention reading curricula, research articles in peer-reviewed journals, and chapters in books. She is the former Director of Curriculum and Instructional Projects at the Florida Center for Reading Research and Deputy Director for the National Center on Instruction for Literacy. Currently, Dr. Kosanovich is the Chief Executive Officer for MK Educational Research & Practice, LLC and engaged in school leadership and literacy projects for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University.

Resource to be presented: Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home: REL Southeast created a series of videos and activities to provide families with information about how to support children as they practice foundational reading skills at home. 

Priscilla Irvine

Priscilla Irvine is a project officer at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), where she monitors and provides technical assistance for several state special education systems including Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, and Oklahoma. As the Collaboration Facilitator in the Office of Special Education Programs, Priscilla works across the Department of Education as well as other federal government agencies, and partners with multiple organizations on behalf of students with disabilities. Priscilla’s passion is, driving excellent outcomes for children with disabilities through effective collaboration. Born in St. John, Antigua, she is an avid reader who enjoys spending time with her four-year-old twin daughters.

Fariba Hamedani

Fariba Hamedani is a Program Officer for the Title III, Part A Program. Fariba joined the Department in March 2020. She has previously worked as an ESL teacher in Mexico, and as a bilingual elementary school teacher in the U.S. She also has explored other careers, working for a decade as a computer programmer, and several years as a land management planner. In her current role at the Department, Fariba will also lead the data collection efforts for the Title III, Part A Program.

Kate Moran

Dr. Kate P. Moran has dedicated her life to the education of students who have learning disabilities, mental challenges, and other health impairments. For over 12 years, Dr. Moran has overseen States Special Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. In addition to her role as a State Lead, she is the Differentiated Monitoring and Support Systems (DMS) Implementation Team Facilitator and a lead for Disaster Response within OSEP. In October 2017, after volunteering to participate in the FEMA Surge Capacity Force, she was deployed to Puerto Rico for 45 Days, assisting Hurricane Irma and Maria Survivors, through an assignment to the Disability Integration Team, on the Western Side of the island, in Mayaguez. The work experience with FEMA has proven invaluable to her work at OSEP.

In December 2014, she received her Doctorate in Special Education Leadership, from George Mason University, and has worked in the field of education for more than 25 years. Dr. Moran's research focused on the effects of the CrossFit Kids Program on improved academics and fitness with students with disabilities. Dr. Moran studied theater at the Catholic University of America and followed that with a Master's in Special Education from The University of Virginia. After graduation she ran a behavior program with Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia and was a Special Education Coordinator with the Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia, prior to obtaining her position at the Department.