DLD Awards and Honors 2019

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We would like to congratulate this year’s DLD Award Winners!  Below is a description of each award and our winners.

Samuel A. Kirk Awards

Winning Research Article: Baker, D. L., Richards-Tutor, C., Sparks, A., & Canges, R. (2018). Review of single subject research examining the effectiveness of interventions for at-risk English learners. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice33, 64-74.

Doris Luft Baker is an associate professor in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. Her area of research is developing and testing interventions and assessments for English learners and students who are learning to read in Spanish in bilingual and monolingual settings. She and Cara Richards-Tutor published a book last year on second language acquisition, and she also published with Cara Richards-Tutor in Exceptional Children a review of experimental studies that address the needs of English learners at risk or with disabilities. Doris just received a Fulbright award to conduct research and teach in Chile.

Winning Practice Article: Schumacher, R.F., Jayanthi, M., Gersten, R., Dimino, J., Spallone, S., & Haymond, M.S. (2018). Using the number line to promote understanding of fractions for struggling fifth graders: A formative pilot study. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice33, 192-206.

Robin F. Schumacher, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at Instructional Research Group. Her research has concentrated on mathematics interventions in upper Elementary grades for students with or at risk for specific learning disabilities.  Dr. Schumacher has focused on topic areas such as rational number understanding with an emphasis on fractions, word problem solving, and algebraic reasoning. Her most recent work centers on efforts to improve the quality of students’ explanations and the use of the number line to develop mathematical insights.

The Kirk Award is named after Samuel A. Kirk, one of the United State’s foremost leaders in special education and the field of learning disabilities. This award is overseen by DLD’s Publications Committee, is given occasionally, and recognizes excellence in professional journal articles that have been published in Learning Disabilities Research

Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award

Winner: Dr. Asha Jitendra, University of Minnesota

Asha K. Jitendra, is Professor and Peloy Chair in Learning Disabilities in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. She previously served as Rodney Wallace Professor for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota for 10 years and on the faculty of Lehigh University for 14 years. Jitendra is the recipient of the Special Education Research SIG’s Distinguished Researcher Award from the American Educational Research Association; the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Oregon; the Excellence in Research award and the President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentor Recognition from the University of Minnesota. She is a Research Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities. She has received several grants, totaling approximately $9 million, from federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support her scholarship. Her scholarly contributions include over 100 publications in high impacts outlets (e.g., Exceptional Children, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, Elementary School Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of School Psychology, Learning and Instruction, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness). She has published two research-based mathematics curricula and the IES Practice Guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 through 8. 

Jitendra has been the associate editor of the Journal of Learning Disabilities. Her research focuses on instructional design, specifically mathematics problem solving and reading interventions for students with learning disabilities; assessment; and textbook analysis. Jitendra is best known for her research on schema-based instruction (SBI) for solving word problems. Specifically, her work on SBI has evolved over the last 25 years to incorporate curriculum design theory and combine best practices in special education and contemporary mathematics education to improve mathematics outcomes for a wide range of learners (e.g., students with learning disabilities, students at risk and not at risk for learning difficulties).

The Fleischner Career Leadership Award honors those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research or organizational leadership throughout their career.

Marva Collins Diversity Award

Winner: Anna Elise Kay, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Anna Kay. She is a special education teacher for a second, third, fourth, and fifth grades Cross-Categorical self-contained classroom at Emerson Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Emerson is a Title I school, as well as a community school, which provides 100% free lunch and breakfast to all students and outreach programs to students and parents in their neighborhood. Some programs include GED, ESL, technology classes for parents, weekly Homework Diners, an on-site medical clinic, monthly food pantry, and a Walking School Bus Program.

The exceptionalities of her students include Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Impairment, and Developmentally Delayed. All her students come from homes that are impacted by situational, generational, and/or absolute poverty. Approximately 66% of her students come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including Mexican-American, African American, Navajo, and Pueblo Indian. Her primary objective each day is to create lesson plans that meet the unique IEP goals of each student and foster learning experiences that both celebrate and are sensitive to the diversity in her classroom. She has conducted a systematic literature review on mindfulness interventions for children with emotional and behavioral disorders and presented her work at CEC conference with her peers and faculty members, which is an often discussed but scarcely researched area. She has successfully translated research into practice and has employed these approaches with her students.

The Marva Collins Diversity Award honors a special education teacher who makes a significant impact in the education of children and youths with learning disabilities who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Outstanding Educator of the Year Award

Winners: Dr. Kelly Grillo, Flagler County Schools & Corali de Pablos, Broward County Schools

Dr. Kelly J. Grillo, earned her PhD at the University of Central Florida. Her research focus is the achievement of students within Inclusive STEM Environments. Currently, Dr. Grillo is an Inclusion Biology Faculty in Technology-Rich Flagler County Schools. Dr. Grillo’s End-of-Course Exam outcomes speak to her expertise, despite disabilities, reading/language barriers, 58% of her students earned a 3 or above in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years out of 313 students being assessed. Dr. Grillo has served as a member of the AIM-AT-UDL FL State Oversight Committee, on Florida Council for Exceptional Children State board and as the education Director of Mills Aviation Charities. Dr. Grillo currently serves on the Leadership Development Committee for Internal CEC, has numerous publications, conference presentations and awards. She was honored as a nominee in Washington as a STEM Champion for Change. Dr. Grillo is a national advocate for persons with Learning Disabilities so that she herself can accept her own disability. Follow her on Twitter @kellygrillo.

Corali de Pablos Corali de Pablos is a 3rd grade teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School in Broward County, Florida. De Pablos taught special education for 6 years before moving to a general education classroom. She was a 2016 Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction in Collier County Public Schools for the best practice of “Teaching with a Big Heart”, and most recently was awarded the honor of being named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year for Deerfield Beach Elementary. De Pablos has a passion for making a personal connection with every child she teaches. Her belief that every child will succeed drives her dedication to her craft. She uses her wealth of experiences across grade levels, settings and service models to develop lessons that best meet the needs of the children in her classroom. She currently teaches 18 students in a Title 1 school, with a mix of English language learners (Spanish, Portuguese, Haitan-creole and Mandarin speaking) and students with disabilities in the general education setting.

Outstanding Educator-of-the-Year Awards are designed to recognize outstanding professionals who serve students with specific learning disabilities. Nominees may be special educators, general educators, administrators, or other educators who have spent at least 5 years serving students with learning disabilities at any grade level.

Congratulations to our DLD Award Winners!