Preparing Educators as Leaders

Abigail Symes

PDS Intern
Primary office:


Diversity is an issue that every teacher will have to address in their classroom. A classroom can be a very diverse environment where students have come from many different backgrounds. The children can range in ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, exceptionalities, gender, religion, sexual orientation and geographic area. Students with a range of different backgrounds will learn in different ways, based on their personal experiences and thus teachers must adjust their teaching styles to fit the students’ individual needs.
Diversity is beneficial for the classroom; it will bring in different points of view and teach the children tolerance and understanding for others at a young age. Students will learn to be able to work and collaborate with all students. Acceptance is a vital trait to obtain early and is very important to include in early childhood education. Included in diversity are children with exceptionalities. Inclusion is a necessary part of their education and their classmates. Children with exceptionalities will teach both students and teachers empathy and patience. Diversity is an essential component of the classroom. If educators approach classroom diversity appropriately students will naturally learn important life skills including: tolerance, patience, empathy, and understanding. Being involved in the PDS program will enable me to not only make an impact on my students' lives, but mine as well. I am passionate about teaching and especially teaching children from diverse backgrounds. I want every child to be given an equal opportunity towards success and the PDS program sounds like an exceptional way to make this idea a reality. Along with making an impact on students that I may teach, they will impact me even more. I am looking to continuously looking to grow in my classroom management skills and how to address diversity and this program will enable me to do this.


10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
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