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ST. THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE STUDENTS AND FACULTY PARTICIPATE IN NYS FEDERATION OF CHAPTERS OF THE COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Meghan Byrne and Dr. Elizabeth Finnegan
Meghan Byrne and Dr. Elizabeth Finnegan
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE STUDENTS AND FACULTY PARTICIPATE IN NYS FEDERATION OF CHAPTERS OF THE COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN ANNUAL CONFERENCE

(November 15, 2013- SPARKILL, NY)-- St. Thomas Aquinas CollegeSchool of Education students and faculty participated in the Annual Conference of the New York State Federation of Chapters of the Council for Exceptional Children, in Melville Long Island in October, announced Dr. Elizabeth Finnegan, Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Graduate Education Programs.

The Council for Exceptional Children is a national organization which works to improve the educational success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The state-wide conferences provide educators the opportunity to learn from each other and develop new ideas.

Megan O’Sullivan, a teacher at Rockland BOCES and a co-operating teacher for the School of Education, received the Excellence in Teaching award. She was nominated by Meghan Byrne (Orangeburg, NY), a Childhood and Special Education major at St. Thomas Aquinas College, class of 2014.

“Megan O'Sullivan is the true definition of what it means to be a special education teacher,” said Byrne. “She has dedicated herself to teaching students with disabilities for over twenty years and her knowledge of the population she works with and how to best instruct them, is exceeded solely by her compassion. Being able to interact with others helps her students feel accepted and enables them to participate in the community independently. I believe that her students are most apt to participate not because they can, but because they want to, due to Mrs. O'Sullivan's obvious and genuine interest in what they have to say,” she added. 

Lauren Smith (Nanuet, NY), a graduate student at St. Thomas co-presented “Reading Comprehension and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Problem of Understanding” with Dr. Finnegan and Dr. Amanda Mazin, Assistant Professor of Education.

Smith shared her experiences in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder through her position as a teacher’s assistant in a school which specializes in educating children with challenging behaviors. Drs. Finnegan and Mazin discussed the research available on reading comprehension difficulties in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr. Athena McAlenney, Assistant Professor of Education at St. Thomas, presented “Successful Tier 2 Reading Intervention: A Special Educator’s Role” in which she reviewed three reading programs teachers can use with their students who are struggling to read.

Lauren Grillo (Stony Point, NY), a Childhood and Special Education student at St. Thomas, class of 2014, also attended the conference.

For more information about our programs in teacher education, contact the School of Education Office at 845-398-4150/4158.

St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located on 60 acres in Rockland County, NY which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College’s 2,800 full and part time students can choose from more than 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dualdegree programs across three Schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, and Education. The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top-Tier for Regional Universities, by Colleges of Distinction in both its New York and Catholic editions, by Affordable Colleges Online as a top College in New York for Return on Investment, and is included as a Military Friendly School®. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; its School of Education is accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and its School of Business is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). For more information, visit www.stac.edu.

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Danielle Kobryn at 845.398.4016 or dkobryn@stac.edu
Contributing Writers: Dr. Elizabeth Finnegan & Natalie Catavero

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