Advocacy

Current statistics cite 90% unemployment among ASD populations, demonstrating significant need for post-secondary transition plans, including access to college, trade, and employment programs. Improving public understanding of ASD, strengthening the pipeline of qualified educators, and supporting Colorado companies in recruitment and retention plans for ASD employees are all projects in which Dr. Katie is currently involved.

Through partnering with legislators, educators, and executives, Dr. Katie supports Colorado families to find right-fit opportunities throughout educational stages and beyond high school to improve educational and employment outcomes.

She is involved in numerous advocacy efforts, some of which are detailed below. Dr. Katie works from Connects Co-Working Space in Golden, CO, and is actively building connections throughout Golden, Jefferson County and West Denver. Her current priority is to help organizations, especially those with public education and youth programs, to grow in their access for ND-ASD populations.

If you would like to improve your organization's ability to support students with ASD, get in touch!

 
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As a board member, Dr. Katie organizes logistics for 2022's Walk for Autism, writes ASD guides focused on Colorado, improves the Autism Society's data collection efforts, and helps with advertising.

In 2022, Dr. Katie is reworking ASC's Autism 101 program and will serve as co-facilitator. This professional development training, offered to communities across Colorado, aims to improve public awareness of ASD and can be tailored according to an organization's need.

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The bill asks post-secondary institutions to increase the data they track related to postsecondary outcomes for students with a disability, specifically graduation rates. Dr. Katie partnered with CDHE representatives to edit the bill proposal language, will partner with Colorado House Rep. David Ortiz (D-38) to present the bill to the General Assembly (anticipated Spring 2022), and plans to serve as a task force candidate (anticipated Fall 2022).

Bill HB22-1255 was approved Feb 14, 2022.

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JeffCo Public School District

Dr. Katie is a credentialed substitute teacher in JeffCo Public Schools, and she offers SpEd support for elementary programs, especially Shelton Elementary School. She regularly volunteers for new teacher hiring committees, with particular focus on SpEd lead teachers. 

Dr. Katie  is also a parent representative for JeffCo's SpEd division middle school ASD center-based pilot program for academic year 2021-2022. Pilot schools include Moore, Drake, Bell, and Summit. She is also a volunteer parent focus group facilitator for data gathering purposes.

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Dr. Katie qualifies and certifies special education (SpEd) teachers. Her goal is to support efforts to patch teacher pipeline leaks and employment placement.


Dr. Katie partners with UNC's SpEd program faculty to support post-baccalaureate, MA, and PhD candidates. She also contributes to pre-teacher training opportunities, guest teacher speaking events, and job fair recruitment.

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Opening in Fall 2022, Prospect Academy is a public, grades five through eight charter school serving students with learning disabilities, regardless of medical diagnosis. As the academics committee chair, Dr. Katie led hiring of 20+ qualified teachers and support staff. She created a hiring rubric and faculty annual review documents.