My name is Elizabeth Blackwell and I am excited to join the Instructional Lead Team this year! My post-secondary education began at University of California Santa Cruz where I received my Bachelor’s degree in History. I began working in the education field right out of college as a general education instructional aide at several elementary schools in wealthy areas; the ones that can afford aides in general education. Following that, I became a special education instructional aide at a middle school in Bayview/Hunters Point in San Francisco. I was blown away by the extreme differences in access to resources that students in different regions received, and addressing this disparity became a focus for me. It was at this school that I began to love teaching and knew I wanted to work in Special Education.
I received a dual teaching credential in Multiple Subjects and as an Education Specialist in Mild/Moderate disabilities from CSU East Bay. In addition I earned my Master’s Degree in Reading Education and a Reading Specialist certificate from the same institution. I have always had a passion for helping students who sometimes exist on the margins of our educational system, and who often need not only some targeted academic support and different ways of accessing education, but also who need to feel seen, heard and loved. This school year, I am fortunate to have narrowed my teaching focus to basic reading instruction, providing targeted dyslexia instruction for those who have been overlooked by our system for too long.
Our system does not often support those who learn differently, and this can have a huge effect on the confidence and spirit of our youth. In special education, we are seeing unprecedented referrals of students who are struggling with their mental health and are dealing with extreme anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation. It is one of my main missions as a teacher to find ways to help our students, staff and educational systems to heal.
I look forward to the work ahead this year on the Instructional Lead Team and beyond!