"Having grown up with a family member who was disabled, I learned not only to accept diversity but to celebrate it," says Donna Della Porta, a special education teacher at Coventry High School in Coventry. Ms. Della Porta has been instrumental in the creation of the "Reach Out" Program, a program that increases opportunities for disabled students to develop significant and long-lasting friendships with their non-disabled classmates. The program provides peer tutors, Special Olympics volunteers, team sports and partnerships for extra-curricular activities. Ms. Della Porta has also developed a model transition and job training program, which, with the support of the community, has contributed to her students' success, both before and after graduation. Ms. Della Porta has also been instrumental to the development of an adult program that provides services to disabled community members and their families.
1978 Rhode Island College, B.A.
M. Ed. Special Education, Providence College