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March 8, 2017

To Whom It May Concern,

It is a pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Nicole Vance who is


applying for a teaching position in your school district. I have had the opportunity to
work with Nicole in several capacities, including as an instructor in our consultation
and collaboration class taken during the Internship year and as the MA Program
Coordinator for the Special Education Program at Michigan State University. In this
letter, I would like to provide you with a glimpse of the professional knowledge,
skills, and dispositions our students will bring to your school district, while also
speaking directly about this applicant.

Before I begin my formal description of our program, more generally, and my class
specifically, I would like to alert the Interview Committee to several aspects of
Nicoles academic performance and professional experience. First, a quick
examination of her background suggests to me that it may be working with individuals
with special needs that is her calling. Previously, Nicole worked as a teaching
assistant at Lyons Elementary School in East Lansing. She was also a paraprofessional
at Hiawatha Elementary in Okemos; where she developed positive relationships with
children with special needs and coordinated after-school activities. Through her
Department of experiences as a special education intern, she has also developed lessons, lead and
Counseling, participated in IEP meetings, and administered assessments for students in various
Educational Psychology, grade levels. This propensity to work with individuals with and without special needs
and Special Education makes Nicole fairly unique in my experience. With her academic and scholarly
talents, I think a teaching position in a special or general education classroom would
Richard S Prawat be an outstanding fit for Nicole.
Chairperson

Michigan State University


We believe that the special education program at MSU is providing comprehensive
447 Erickson Hall and cutting edge professional preparation. Specifically, we have tried to prepare our
East Lansing, Michigan teacher candidates both broadly to encompass the many roles that special education
48824-1034 teachers now play in schools, but also with depth and quality within these critical
roles. Special education teachers today must be able to participate in at least four
517/353-6417
FAX: 517/353-6393
areas, including (1) providing remedial instruction for students who have may have
significant skill gaps, (2) participating on any number of collaborative problem-
solving teams, such as Response to Intervention, co-teaching, IEPs, pre-referral
teams, and multidisciplinary evaluation teams, (3) provide access to the general
education curriculum within inclusive settings (i.e., instructional, behavioral, and
MSU is an affirmative-action,
equal opportunity institution.
social interventions, accommodations, differentiated instruction, Universally Designed
Learning), and (4) transition programming, including key skills related to self-
determination, self-advocacy, and self-regulation as students make transitions
throughout the lifespan (grade level and school-to-post secondary).

In the Fall of 2016, Nicole was a student in my CEP 801a Consultation and
Collaboration course. This course is specifically designed to bring to the student the
skills and knowledge related to facilitating collaborative interactions and relationships
between individuals. Additionally, this course is designed to prepare special education
teachers to deliver effective collaborative and consultative services to students with
learning and behavior problems, their parents, general education teachers, and
ancillary personnel. This course has several overarching goals, including the
examination and critique of the various theories of collaboration and consultation that
have been utilized in the field of special education, developing a defensible knowledge
of what constitutes effective collaboration and consultation skills, and the awareness
and utilization of a wide range of specific skills, strategies, techniques, and activities.

Beyond the content curriculum of a comprehensive curriculum, I believe there are


intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that mark Nicole as an outstanding student. It is
evident to me that Nicole was an active learner in my classroom---she engaged with
the material with a critical eye. She also displayed a very even and professional
disposition, all characteristics of excellent collaborators and problem solversmy
sense is that Nicole maintains a level-headed approach, even when under duress.
Additionally, Nicole displays a positive energy that is contagiousshe is organized,
goal focused, and thoroughly enjoys learning about things that may benefit her
students. Finally, there is an important difference between young teachers who want
to help and those who maintain high expectations through personal responsibility. I
believe Nicole is in this latter groupand this is a key disposition for new teachers to
develop. Rather than creating a kind of co-dependence where too much support is
provided and not removed, I believe Nicole holds high expectations for all of her
students and expects effort from every child. If I were building a school from the
ground up, I would want people like Nicolepeople who are focused on improving
the lives of their students through rigorous learning, high expectation, and able to
share their expertise with others in professional learning communities of all kinds.

To conclude, I believe Nicole would be exactly the type of teacher you are seeking in
your school district. In this letter, I have tried to provide some detail about the
professional skills and dispositions that our students develop as part of their teacher
preparation program. We believe that Nicole will be an outstanding teacher and will
excel in your school. We are extremely proud of our teacher candidates and confident
that Nicole Vance will make a good school betterand may even become a leader in
the area of Special Education. Of course, if you have any questions, please do not
hesitate to write (erinhami@msu.edu) or call (517) 432-0418.

Sincerely,

Erin M Hamilton
MA Program Coordinator
Special Education Program
Michigan State University