Donna is an educator with 35 years of experience, 30 of those years teaching at Cooperative Educational Services (CES) located in Trumbull, CT. Donna is a special education teacher in the Transition Learning Center (TLC) which is a transition program for special education students ages 18 to 21 years. The TLC program exposes students to experiential learning in the community.
Donna is a firm believer of using a hands-on approach during instruction and applying learned skills to real world situations. The community is her students’ classroom, where they can practice functional academic skills such as shopping at the local store, social and communication interactions during work sites and recreational activities to name a few. Each trip requires research of site, planning, organization and knowledge of technology whether creating visuals for students or entering information into speech generating devices. Donna also teaches her students self-regulation strategies to use when feeling anxious during community outings. Her greatest satisfaction is watching her students have that “a-ha” moment of understanding and observing her students participate in activities with more independence. She also encourages her students to give back to their community through community service. Her students have volunteered raking at the local Audubon Center, made ornaments during the holidays for an adult living community, made and sold baked goods for hurricane relief sponsored by the American Red Cross, and coordinated a clothing drive for local donation centers.
Donna enjoys sharing her personal interests and hobbies with her students in hopes to spark new interests and ideas to expand their leisure and recreation skills. She has written grants and was awarded funds from the CES Foundation to develop new opportunities for the students in the TLC program, including starting a gardening program and a bowling league. Donna believes that if you are excited about a project, your enthusiasm will rub off on your students.
Throughout her teaching career, Donna has mentored new teachers and has served as a cooperating teacher to student teachers. She is also a participating member of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) at the local and state level. She feels accomplished helping other teachers grow in the field of education.
Donna received a B.S. in special education/ elementary education from the University of St. Joseph (West Hartford) and a M.A. in special education from Southern Connecticut State University. She resides in Seymour with her husband John, who has been a great support to her during her career as a teacher. Her son, Michael, has followed in her footsteps and also pursued a career in education.