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Denise L. Ferrara is an educational consultant and lecturer in the Graduate Programs in Special Education at Queens College of the City University of New York.  Her focus is on collaborating with people labeled with a disability, families, schools and communities to dismantle the social constructs of disability and create meaningful social and academic access.   Denise enjoys the interplay between her work supporting teachers in real classrooms and her work in preparing future special educators to examine the realities of students receiving special education supports in our classrooms.  Specifically, Denise explores how students receiving special education supports may be positioned in schools and communities as “other” which precludes real opportunities for community membership.  As a result of this exploration, Denise works with school communities to reflect on their own ideology and practices and to shift those practices in curriculum, instruction and classroom participation to reposition students with exceptionalities as fellow learners and community members.  This requires a deep exploration of standards, content, instructional strategy and community building to create classrooms in which all belong and benefit.

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