Professional Competencies

ADVOCATING FOR THE STUDENT

I had an extensive career in the educational and financial services industries, in senior management and entrepreneurial roles which grounded my professional competencies in leadership development, presenting, recruitment, and relationship management. Drawing upon this foundation, as an academic scholar, my desire is to continue advocating for the student by disseminating knowledge and research of inclusive education through community networks, educational institutions and professional organizations. Therefore, the two artifacts which demonstrated my professional competencies were;  a video presentation at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) conference (artifact #4) and my community service contributions at UPEI (artifact #5) outlined below: 

Artifact #4- Conference Presentation: The Integration of Technology with UDL and RTI in Inclusive Classrooms

My presentation (and supplementary conference proceedings) at the CSSE conference combined the results of two research studies; 1) the examination of inclusive practices of elementary school teachers in online and bricks and mortar classrooms and, 2) the online learning experiences of students with and without disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The student study revealed that limited means of engagement was the most significant factor impacting students' motivation and ability to learn. The teachers' study indicated a need for consistent assessment approaches to earlier identify and meet the needs of all students. As this was my first time at the CSSE, I was especially nervous so I prerecorded the presentation several times to critique and make improvements, so the video artifact is a practice session and not the final conference presentation.

The outcome of this presentation resulted in an invitation from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to share my research with their entire Special Education department at a professional development day on Sept. 6, 2022.  In my role as Vice Chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), I was able to propose recommendations that aligned with some of TDSB’s current initiatives including refined learner profiles to address barriers in inconsistent assessment approaches and a consultative model to support teachers in the classroom. Whenever I assumed the Acting Chair role, I continued to encourage the advocacy of other SEAC members as in the October 17, 2022 meeting. In addition to the TDSB, I also cultivated networks at UPEI.  

ARTIFACT #4: CSSE Conference Presentation 2022- Montgomery, D. (2022, May 17). The Integration of Technology with UDL and RTI in Inclusive Classrooms. Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association. (Conference Presentation). Canadian Study for the Society of Education conference. Online.

OTESSA Conference Proceeding 2022: Montgomery, D. (2022). The Integration of Technology with UDL and RTI in Inclusive Classrooms. Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association: Vol. 2. Critical Change. (pp.xxx). Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association. In press.

TDSB Special Education Presentation– Montgomery, D. (2022, Sept. 6). Integration of Technology with UDL in Inclusive Classrooms. Toronto District School Board Special Education Department. online.

TDSB SEAC meeting– Acting chair of Oct. 17, 2022 meeting. Recorded webcast

Artifact #5- Community Service Contributions at UPEI

As an out-of-province student, I understood one of the expectations of the first year residency was building relationships and community. However, it wasn’t until the completion of a communities of practice assignment in Dr. Snow’s graduate seminar course that I realized the significance of informal communities and organic collaboration on my PhD journey. Communities of practice, coined by Lave & Wenger, is a group of people who "share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly" (Wenger-Trayner, 2015, par. 5 ). These groups may include traditional formal apprenticeship supervisor-student relationships and formal peer groups initiated by an organization; however less promoted models also include peer to peer learning established and maintained by a group of individuals (Flores-Scott & Nerad, 2012). 

Recognizing that I only had eight months to build my community on the island, I maximized the formal opportunities of a shared workspace, study groups and faculty initiated social gatherings; but I also felt the need to maintain a connection with the larger university community. Upon investigation, I discovered the existence of a graduate student association (GSA) but they were inactive and seeking leadership and community support. Prompted by Dr. Preston to revive the GSA newsletter last published in 2018, Christina Perry and I assumed co-editor roles, launching our first publication in Feb. 2022. The newsletter led us to actively promote and recruit new members for the GSA (as the only standing member at the time was the acting president). The new GSA was established in June 2022 and desiring to continue my involvement after leaving the island, I agreed to be the GSA representative for the online graduate students. Having recently completed the online Masters program myself, I previously experienced isolation at times without natural peer connections, so my hope was to establish more opportunities for informal community for this group of students.  

In addition to the broader student UPEI community, it was also important to stay connected within the Faculty of Education so I participated in one of the tenure track hiring committees. Based on my past human resources and recruitment experience in the bank, I was able to transfer my skills, establish relationships with the faculty members and learn about the teaching requirements and needs of the faculty as a member of the hiring committee. The committee, chaired by Dr. Fitzgerald, consisted of multiple zoom meetings where the members initially screened numerous resumes, cover letters and teaching portfolios, and deliberated on the most suitable candidates before conducting the final in person interviews. My involvement on the committee helped me expand my listening, communication and critical thinking skills as the comments expressed by each member were so crucial to the decision making procedure. The depth of discussion at each meeting provided me with a greater appreciation for the faculty as a whole, and the quality of teachers materialized through this extensive undertaking.     

The most recent committee I am involved with is the Faculty of Education council as one of the three sessional instructor representatives which has been another way to stay connected from afar.  

References

Flores-Scott, E.M. and Nerad, M. (2012)., Peers in doctoral education: Unrecognized learning partners. New Directions for Higher Education, 2012: 73-83. https://doi.org/10.1002/he.20007

Wenger-Trayner, E. (2015). Introduction to Communities of Practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from: https://www.wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/