Childhood Special and General Education '22
Everything changes all the time, right? Sometimes by the next lesson you have to teach. By self-reflecting, I learned to look deeper—to identify something I wanted to change, see the reasons why, and figure out the supports that I needed to make it happen.
Danielle Quick had completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice and was on her way to law school when life took a turn—her son was diagnosed with autism. As she learned to navigate his needs, Danielle also began exploring what it meant to work in the field of education, and she knew she had found her life’s work. While working as a paraprofessional in a special education classroom, she completed an online master’s program at Bank Street in 2022, and she’s now a certified special education teacher at P94M, a District 75 school located in Manhattan.
Here’s what Danielle had to say about her experiences in Bank Street’s online Dual Certification Childhood Special and General Education program.
Why did you choose Bank Street?
I chose Bank Street for two main reasons. The DOE recommended the program to me, and once I researched it, I knew Bank Street would provide the kind of personal attention that would help me to learn and get what I needed.
Tell us about your supervised fieldwork.
My fieldwork was a combination of two experiences. I did my general education fieldwork at the Go Project, where I worked with middle school children and families who are under-resourced and struggling in New York City’s public school settings. And for my special education fieldwork, I was placed in the special ed program at P94M, the public community school where I now work. These hands-on experiences were so important for me. They weren’t just educational, they allowed my mind to shift and morph the way that I needed it to as I moved from being the paraprofessional into the role of being the teacher. I cannot tell you just how important that personal growth was.
As part of your fieldwork experience, you also attend a weekly conference group, where you join a cohort of students doing fieldwork. What is your top takeaway from your group?
Part of what we learned in the conference group was to practice self-reflection. It’s something we all do in our own way, but Bank Street values it in a very large capacity. Everything changes all the time, right? Sometimes by the next lesson you have to teach. By self-reflecting, I learned to look deeper—to identify something I wanted to change, see the reasons why, and figure out the supports that I needed to make it happen. Now, when I have I teach a lesson, I remember to relax and look for what is and isn’t working in the moment and make adjustments. You learn to stay aware of the way you are, which is so important when you’re working with students with special needs.
What’s one of your best Bank Street memories?
For me, the community I built was the best part of my graduate school experience. My conference group met weekly, and it became my school family. It gave us the time we needed to bounce ideas off each other. At the time, everything was shutting down due to COVID-19, and we were all going through hard times. In that moment, my baby brother also lost his battle with cancer. The people in my conference group were there for me, and I will never forget that. We all connected so deeply with each other and with our professor. From the extra five minutes before class started or the time we spent together after class, these friendships formed and allowed me to understand that even when things are hard, we never have to be alone. We studied together for the certification exam, and to this day we email each other and have kept our group chat active. If it wasn’t for Bank Street, I would have never met these people who have become like family.
What three words would you use to describe Bank Street?
Life-changing, affirming, and potential. Choosing Bank Street was one of those things where life somehow put me exactly where I needed to be in the exact right moment. I may have questioned myself about choosing this path, but being at Bank Street helped me realize that it wasn’t a question that needed to be a part of me. And I’m now where I was meant to be all along.