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teacher training

Jennifer Guerra / publisher23

I want to give a huge shout-out to all the teachers who took our recent State of Opportunity survey about special-education training. You ROCK! We got a ton of responses and I promise to share some of them with you, but first, a bit of context.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Our story this week featured a family that struggled to get the best education for their special needs daughter. It took the help of a lawyer from the University of Michigan's Pediatric Advocacy Clinic to get the school district to agree to put the young girl in a general ed classroom instead of a self-contained classroom for severely disabled children.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Chamonique Griffith stands in front of her second-graders on a Thursday morning, about to try something that, for her, is new.

"How many of you know that I go to class at night?" she asks.  

Her second graders all quietly raise their hands.

"So, last night, I got to do a really cool activity with my teacher," Griffith continues, "and so I wanted to try the activity with you."

Griffith is part of the first cohort of teachers in a new college of education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. This college is focused entirely on preparing teachers for urban classrooms. The students enrolled in the master's level program, for now, are all currently teaching at Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Sarah Carr / Michigan Radio

Sarah Carr is editor of The Teacher Project, an education reporting initiative at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism dedicated to covering issues facing America's teachers. While in Detroit she put together this story for State of Opportunity.

In Detroit and across the country, pre-school instructors are being asked to teach more formal academic skills so their students can get off to a strong start in school and life.