Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Speakers & Topics

Featured Speakers

Dr. Beth Harry, University of Miami

Dr. Beth Harry is a Professor of Special Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. A native of Jamaica, she entered the field of special education as a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, an experience that has been chronicled in her memoir, Melanie, bird with a broken wing: A mother’s story.

Inspired by her experience as a parent, Dr. Harry’s research and teaching focus on the impact of special education on children and families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her studies have included Puerto Rican, African American and a wide range of other cultural groups. In 2002, Dr. Harry served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ panel to study the disproportionate placement of minority students in special education. Her research on these topics have been published in numerous books and articles, most recently, two books: Why are so many minority students in special education? and Case Studies of Minority Student Placement in Special Education, published by Teachers College Press. In 2003 she received a Fulbright award to do research on Moroccan children’s schooling in Spain, where she was based at the University of Seville.

Dr. Todd Fletcher, University of Arizona

Todd Fletcher, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Outreach Professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies in the College of Education at the University of Arizona where he coordinates the graduate program in bilingual/multicultural special education. His research interests and scholarly writing focus on culturally responsive educational practices for diverse learners in the U.S. and educational reform, special education policy and inclusive practices in Latin America, in particular, Mexico. He is co-editor of the book Educating Children with Disabilities and Their Families: Blending US and Mexican Perspectives.

Dr. Fletcher served as president of the Division of International Special Education Services, which is one of thirteen divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children, an organization of 30,000 members located in the U.S. In 2009, he established a non-governmental organization in a rural area in Central Mexico (Resplandor International) who mission is to provide educational programs and services to children and families at the local, state, national and international levels. He also coordinates the Verano en México summer program providing graduate and undergraduate students with opportunities to work with special populations in cross-national contexts in Mexican public schools.

Dr. Margarita Calderón, Johns Hopkins University

Margarita Calderón, Ph.D. is a Johns Hopkins University Professor Emerita and Senior Research Scientist. Since 2004, she conducted research studies funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She continues to work with New York City's Department of Education training K-12 teachers and administrators who have low-performing English-language learners in their classrooms.

The author of more than 100 articles, chapters, books, and teacher training manuals, Dr. Calderón's most recent professional books are:
  • Teaching Reading to English Language Learners, Grades 6–12. Teaching Reading Comprehension to ELs, K-5.
  • Preventing Long-Term ELs: Transforming Schools to Meet Core Standards
  • Breaking Through: Effective Instruction and Assessment for Reaching English Learners
  • RIGOR 1, RIGOR 2 and RIGOR 3 (Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers), a series of intervention resources for SIFE, newcomers and special education students reading at preliterate–Grade 3 levels but entering middle and high schools.
Dr. Calderón has been a member of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth, and has served on committees working with the National Research Council, Carnegie Foundation, ETS, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Dr. Catherine Crowley, Teachers College

Senior Lecturer and Distinguished Lecturer, Coordinator of Bilingual/Multicultural Program Focus and the Ghana and Bolivia programs, and Director of the Bilingual Extension Institute

Dr. Catherine Crowley's work focuses on enhancing the quality of services that our children and adolescents receive particularly those bilingual and minority students and students from lower socio-economic status. First and foremost this requires that professionals who work with these students have the highest quality knowledge and skills. The nexus of special education, sociolinguistics, bilingualism and bidialectalism, is where Dr. Crowley's scholarly interest lies.

Since 2006 Dr. Crowley has led annual trips to Ghana and Bolivia whereby her TC SLP graduate students provide e free services to people with communication disorders. The international work is designed to provide opportunities for student to acquire high quality clinical skills and cultural competencies that will transfer to their work with diverse populations in the U.S., and developing a "world citizen" approach to SLP.

Dr. Julie Esparza-Brown

Julie Esparza Brown, EdD, is a third generation Chicana, and an assistant professor in the Special Education Department at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She received her doctorate from Portland State University, her master's in special education at the University of San Diego and her bachelor's of music at Willamette University with a specialization in Music therapy. Before relocating to the Northwest, she completed her school psychology training at San Diego State University.

She taught in bilingual, special education at all levels in San Diego and Vancouver, Washington for almost 15 years and worked as a practicing bilingual school psychologist for one year. Currently, her teaching, research, and publications focus on the interface of bilingual and special education.  Additionally, she consults locally and nationally on issues related to RTI and ELL students, least biased assessment of ELL students, and effective instruction for diverse learners.

She is currently on the National Advisory Board for the National Center on Response to Intervention. Her publications include a chapter in the book The Psychology of Multiculturalism, published by the National Association of School Psychology, and a chapter in the International Reading Association's book Improving Literacy Achievement in Urban Schools. She is a co-author of a national brief A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners. Since 1998, much of her focus has been on preparing ESL and bilingual teachers and most recently, bilingual special educators.

Dr. Bernice Moro, Fordham University

Bernice Moro, Ph.D., is currently working with the Center for Educational Partnerships at Fordham University, as part of the New York City Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (NYC-RBERN), where she provides technical assistance and professional development to teachers and administrators in the New York City Public Schools.

Previously, Dr. Moro was the Associate Director of a non-profit community based organization that services individuals with developmental disabilities and their families; and was the Director of the Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (BETAC) at Hunter College. For a formidable part of her career she was a bilingual and special education teacher, staff developer, and administrator with the New York City Public Schools.

In her various administrative roles, such as Deputy Superintendent of Community School District 7 in the South Bronx, and Director of Special Populations for English Language Learners, NYC Department of Education, she was instrumental in the development of policies that ensured all students, as well as English Language Learners (ELLs) and those identified to have special needs, received appropriate educational programs and support services.

For many years she has been involved with organizations that advocate and promote quality education for all ELLs, such as the New York State Association for Bilingual Educators (NYSABE) and the Latino Coalition for Early Care and Education (LCECE). Dr. Moro will present on challenges, solutions, and strategies to facilitate working with families and ELLs with disabilities.

Scholars in the Field

Dr. Aida Nevárez-La Torre, Fordham University

Dr. Aida Nevárez-La Torre is an associate professor of TESOL Education in the Division of Curriculum and Teaching at Fordham Graduate School of Education. She directs the Office of Multilingual Education.

Before she earned her doctorate she taught ESL and Bilingual education in elementary and middle schools in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts.

Her research interest is on linguistic diversity in teacher preparation, literacy development in English language learners, and practitioner research.

Dr. Oneyda Paneque, Miami Dade College

Dr. Oneyda M. Paneque has worked in the field of education for over 30 years. She began her career as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Illinois. Throughout the years, she has taught students of all ages including pre-service as well as in-service teachers.

For the past twenty-five years, Dr. Paneque has dedicated her professional career to the area of teacher preparation and professional development in Florida and Puerto Rico. At the university level, she has developed and taught courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Furthermore, she has presented at numerous local, national, and international conferences on issues related to bilingualism, second language learning, special education, bilingual special education, teacher preparation, and family involvement. Her most recent research projects and publications focus on the use of English and Spanish in the classroom by special education teachers.

Dr. Paneque holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts in Bilingual Education and Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois, and a Doctorate of Education in Exceptional Student Education from Florida International University. Since 2007, she has been a faculty member in the Miami Dade College School of Education. In addition, she was the Director of the Pathways to Excellence in Teaching (PET) Project, a Title III National Professional Development Grant funded through the USDOE, Office of English Language Acquisition. Currently, she is Co-Director of the personnel preparation grant, Project Early Identification Early Intervention Opportunities (EiEiO) funded through the USDOE, Office of Special Education.

Dr. Yi Ding, Fordham University

Dr. Yi Ding is an assistant professor in School Psychology Program.

She went to University of Minnesota Medical School for her internship in Pediatric Psychology and Pediatric Neuropsychology rotations. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from The University of Iowa.

She is a Certified School Psychologist in the state of Iowa, Ohio, and New York and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). She has experiences practicing in different school settings, department clinics, and hospital settings.

Dr. Elizabeth Ijalba, Queens College

Dr. Elizabeth Ijalba is Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College, CUNY. She teaches classes on language acquisition with a bilingual focus. She is trained as a speech-language pathologist and her research focuses on literacy, bilingualism, and parent training.

She established the Bilingual Biliteracy Lab and is Principal Investigator for the Bilingual Early Language and Literacy Acquisition project (BELLA). The aim of this project is to develop effective methodologies that can improve outcomes for children with autism, language disorders, and language delay from low-income immigrant families who speak a language other than English at home.

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