The College of Mount St. Joseph has developed a partnership with the Education Ministry of Bavaria in Germany aimed at studying the special education system in the United States and Germany.
Amy Emery, TEAM-MSE clinical experience coordinator at the Mount, recently met with Erich Weigl, minister of special education with the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, and German educators of children with disabilities in Munich, Germany to formalize the arrangement. In June, she will accompany 12 graduate students to Germany as part of a course, “Inclusive practices in Bavaria,” which will allow Mount students to tour special German schools for children with disabilities, observe inclusive practices for children with disabilities and meet with teachers and other education officials. The course was co-designed by Emery and Clarissa Rosas, Ph.D., program director of TEAM-MSE, an accelerated graduate program in multicultural special education designed for individuals who aspire to teach as an intervention specialist. The students going to Germany are part of the Mount’s TEAM-MSE program.
“This is a unique opportunity for our students who will be able to see Germany’s special education model firsthand as they move to inclusive practices for children with special needs,” said Emery. “Our hope is that German educators will come to our country and observe our inclusive practices and learn more about services for students with special needs in the United States.”
In Bavaria, children with special needs historically have been placed in special schools. Bavaria is moving toward an inclusive model of delivery of special services in a methodical manner. Emery and Weigl met last summer during her involvement with the Munich Teacher Exchange through the Hamilton County Education Service Center scholarship program. During this dialogue of inclusive best practices, it was determined that a future exchange would occur with the Mount’s TEAM-MSE students to foster global awareness and to further develop the knowledge of the teacher from Bavaria in inclusive practices.
“Our German counterparts in education are looking at other practices for special education students, including inclusive practices,” Emery said. “I think they will gain a new insight when they come to our country to understand how our inclusion works.”
“This is also a wonderful opportunity for our graduate students and practicing teachers in the field of special education to have firsthand international experience as they further their knowledge on ethical perspective of inclusive practices for students with disabilities,” Rosas added.
Three Rivers School District teacher Julie Davey, a Mount alumna, received professional time off from the district to accompany Emery to Germany. The district received a technology grant to purchase iPads which allowed Davey to conduct some lessons from Germany with her students at Three Rivers Middle School using Facetime.