The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities (CCLD) has a proud history. Founded by pioneers in the field of special education, its early members were passionate about serving persons with learning disabilities and providing professional-development opportunities for educators in the field. The CCLD scholarship has been created to support the new pioneers who are completing teacher preparation programs in Colorado and entering the field at a time when the role of special education is being redefined and rewritten.

The Scholarship

Eligibility: The scholarship is open to Colorado residents currently enrolled in teacher preparation programs in an accredited college or university in Colorado. Applicants must be working towards a generalist license and have completed at least one half of their program plan of study. Applicants must have an overall-cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher in their Special Education coursework. The scholarship will be awarded to a student in a different institution of higher education each year to ensure representation throughout the state.

For more information regarding our scholarships, contact Sabrina Raugutt.

2016 Tuition Scholarship Awards

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is pleased to honor our 2016 scholarship recipients.

Brooke Lawrence

Brooke Lawrence currently attends the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorders. When asked to describe why she decided to pursue a degree in special education, Brooke stated,

“My passion for working with students with disabilities, their families, and advocating within the community has encouraged me to pursue my Master’s Degree in Special Education.  My motivation for pursuing this degree has been based on my life experiences.  With each new opportunity, my motivation continues to grow.”

Kristie L. Venrick, principal of Blue Mountain Elementary said of Brooke,

“As a building level administrator I had the pleasure of working alongside Ms. Lawrence for the past three years.   I always found her to be a creative, passionate individual with solid values based on what is good for students.   She remained flexible and positive in even the most difficult situations, always keeping students’ well-being the focus of her work.  She worked tirelessly to make her position successful, of which I greatly appreciate and admire.  The knowledge and skills she is learning through the Master’s program will positively impact the programming at a building level, focusing on the successes of students with unique needs. “

Dr. Margarita Bianco, a professor at UCD said of Brooke,

“Brooke is extremely reflective and considers what is best for herself professionally in order to fully connect with her students.  She shows interest in developing programs and implementing interventions students with learning disabilities can use to be successful in the general education classroom.  She collaborates well with her colleagues, which helps foster a positive relationship with the general education teacher. “

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Brooke as a 2016 scholarship recipient.

Carley Moser

Carley Moser is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Special Education at University of Colorado—Denver.  Carley reflects about her passion for working with students with disabilities in her autobiography, stating “I love each and every day that I have the opportunity to come to school and do what I absolutely love to do!  My passion for this profession goes beyond just a love for teaching and kids.  I view my work as an educator as my calling.”

Carley’s mother was a teacher; she was Carley’s biggest role model and the reason why she is so passionate about her role as an educator.   Her mother taught her that her job is not only to teach her students how to learn and be successful academically, but also how to be kind, respectful, responsible, and independent.  Carley learned that as an educator one must take on whatever role is necessary to support students in their learning.

Dr. Patty Meek, UCD professor, remarks about Carley,

“Carley is the kind of person that steps up and goes beyond what needs to be done.  She advocates not only for struggling students, but speaks articulately and convincingly about the needs of all students, including those who are academically advanced.”

Cyndi Burdik, principal at Walnut Hills Community Elementary School stated of Carley,

“Carley is an individual who is a natural teacher. She has an intuitive sense of how children learn and how to address their needs that goes beyond her experience or background.  Her classroom is a fun place to visit.  She has many routines and procedures and one can see students who are engaged and having fun while learning.   She is understanding of the individual needs of her students and is open and willing to try something new. “

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Carley as a 2016 scholarship recipient.

Vanessa Vander Meulen

Vanessa Vander Meulen is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Special Education at University of Colorado—Denver and will graduate in the spring of 2016.   Vanessa reflects about her motivation for working with students with disabilities in her autobiography.

“My motivation for pursing a degree in special education stems from my own learning struggles as a student.  I remember going into high school and receiving D’s on my papers that I was so proud of.  I also recall being terrified if a teacher called on me in math because I was unsure of an answer.  I wanted so badly to be a great student and make my family and teachers proud, but I struggled to grasp concepts as quickly as many of my peers.   Like so many of my struggling students today, I found solace in off task behavior and ended up having to take summer school in middle school because I had completely given up and abandoned trying to understand and pass geometry.   I fondly remember two teachers who changed my entire thinking and refused to give up on me because they saw I had the potential to be great.  I understand the importance to take a fixed mind set and turn it into a growth mindset.  I am passionate about digging into the root cause of my students with disabilities and helping them feel the thrill of truly understanding like I was able to do.”

Dr. Barbara Dray, UCD professor, remarks about Vanessa,

“Being a primary faculty advisor for Vanessa, I have seen her application of what she has learned.   Vanessa works with students with learning disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  She has a deep commitment to high standards and providing access to the general education curriculum for her students.   Many conversations have been around problem solving and the best approaches for meeting the needs of her students and continually challenging them to get to the next level of learning.  She provides support in math and it is clear she is a master of content but also has an understanding on how to scaffold supports to ensure her students continue to progress.”

Raynard Eddings, assistant principal at Aurora Hills Middle School stated of Vanessa,

“Ms. Vander Meulen is conscientious and thoughtful about her teaching.  She continuously seeks out better ways to improve her practice and maintains direct content-focused instruction with her students in each of her classes from start to finish. She develops personal connections with each of her students and they positively respond to her instruction. “

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Vanessa as a 2016 scholarship recipient.

2015 Tuition Scholarship Awards

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is pleased to honor our 2015 scholarship recipients.

Megan Weaver

Megan Weaver will graduate from University of Colorado Denver (UCD) this spring with a master’s degree in special education. When asked to describe why she decided to pursue a degree in special education, Megan stated,

My interest in special education relates to my little brother. He was born with many needs including autism, bi polar tendencies, and other mental health related behavior issues. I have always had a passion for children and teaching, but it wasn’t until my brother graduated from high school that I decided I needed to be more than just a general education teacher; I wanted to become a special education teacher. Being a special education teacher means putting others first and becoming an advocate and voice for students who do not have self-advocacy skills.

Dr. John Cumming, an instructor at UCD said of Megan,

Megan was by far one of the most successful students I have ever had in any of my educational research methods courses. She has the ability to take complicated theoretical research concepts and not only apply them to her work as an educator, but to also explain them in non-technical terms to stakeholders and even her peers.” She is a successful student because she not only has the drive and determination to complete demanding coursework, but she also has the passion for working with children and their families.

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Megan as a 2015 scholarship recipient.

Cassondra Al Mouradi

Cassondra Al Mouradi is completing her degree in special education at Metropolitan State University. Cassandra reflects about her passion for working with students with disabilities in her autobiography.

It became clear that diverse learners need far more than just academic support, they need strategies that will help them best succeed in the classroom and beyond – accessibility and advocacy. These two strategies are imperative because of the many injustices people with disabilities often experience usually due to unawareness. This lack of mindfulness regarding the needs of people with learning and developmental disabilities has influenced me to educate myself and those around me about the beauty of differences and the cruelty of indifference. This has truly become my life’s work. I have found that the best way to combat ignorance is through empathy and, while I may not have a learning disability, I can empathize and, therefore, learn. This isn’t just a job or a career; I need the journey in education and my future students far more than they need me. I aspire to, and am confident that I can become that difference.

Kerry Warner, site supervisor, remarks about Cassondra,

She has great respect and empathy for children with disabilities and demonstrates it in her daily activities. She has been successful in both creating and teaching academic skills and tasks, as well responding to difficult behaviors.

Dr. Barb McKenzie comments,

Some students understand theory but have difficulty generalizing theory into practice; this is an area in which Cassondra excels. Cassondra is an amazing collaborator who has the needs of students with disabilities at the forefront of all decisions.

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Cassondra as a 2015 scholarship recipient.

2014 Tuition Scholarship Awards

Two outstanding students, Sheena Renninger and Ally Garcia were awarded CCLD Tuition Scholarships of $1500 each at the February Math on the Planes (MOP) Conference, February 22, 2014. These awards were funded by proceeds from the MOP conference.

Sheena Renninger

Sheena Renninger is currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Colorado Denver. Sheena reflects, I chose to enter the field of special education because of the progress that has been made in the field thus far and my passion to be part of the future. I entered this profession to be both an advocate for my students and for the field of special education.

Sheena’s professors recognize the unique talents she brings to the classroom. Judy Weaver, Site Professor, commented,

Sheena demonstrates her knowledge of curriculum in her planning each day. She focuses on district, state, and school standards and she understands that assessment results drive instruction.

Gina Quintana remarks,

Sheena understands and genuinely abides by the philosophy of the presumption of competence.

The CCLD Board is honored to recognize Sheena as a 2014 scholarship recipient.

Ally Garcia

Ally Garcia is in the process of completing a Master’s degree at Metropolitan State University. Ally finds inspiration in the quote, The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. She discovered the why when she was sixteen: My passion for special needs children is apparent because it defines me in part. My intent is to build a foundation of knowledge on which I might construct solid teaching. . .

Dr. Barbara McKenzie remarks,

She is an amazing collaborator who has the interests of students with disabilities at the forefront of all decisions.

Katie Lents, a supervisor at the Denver School for Science and Technology describes Ally’s skills in the following statement:

She is able to be a direct teacher, a trainer/coach on children’s programs, one who communicates with parents, shares her knowledge with volunteers, and takes time to teach and educate typical peers on relationships and friendships with children with disabilities.

Ally plans to receive an Applied Behavioral Analysis Certification, earn a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, followed by a Juris Doctorate in Disability Law.

The CCLD Board is also honored to recognize Ally as a 2014 scholarship recipient.

2013 Tuition Scholarship Awards

Two outstanding UCCS students, Michelle Freddolino and Olivia Latendresse, were awarded CCLD Tuition Scholarships of $1500 each at the February Math on the Planes (MOP) Conference. The awards were presented on February 23, 2013 and funded by proceeds from the MOP conference.

Michelle Freddolino

When asked What makes an effective teacher for students with learning disabilities? Michelle wrote:

She builds confidence by turning individual strengths into learning tools. She teaches her students to think critically and inferentially. No matter the specific disability of her students, an effective teacher must empower her students with the desire to understand so that they can ask themselves: Does this make sense? and then use the strategies to be successful.

Michelle receives praise from her professors at UCCS for her insight, thoughtfulness, energy and sincerity.

Olivia Latendresse

In her letter of recommendation for Olivia, Dr. Elaine Cheesman writes:

In my estimation, Olivia is one of the top ten students I have had the pleasure of working with in my 12 years as a university professor and 20 years providing teacher professional development courses in reading and writing for students with learning disabilities.

Olivia writes that an effective teacher for students with learning disabilities has the qualities of patience, compassion and respect. She says:

Respect is a crucial characteristic of an effective teacher . . . Respect establishes a classroom culture that facilitates learning and allows everyone to feel welcome and appreciated.

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities was honored to present the Tuition Scholarship Awards to these fine recipients.

2012 Tuition Scholarship Awards

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities (CCLD) is honored to award two Tuition Scholarships totaling $3,000.00. Recipient selection is based on high academic achievement and recognition by professors and site supervisors of an in-depth understanding of pedagogical content knowledge. Each teacher candidate has shown an outstanding ability to develop rapport with students and to work collaboratively with other professionals. Additionally, recipients are strongly committed to supporting persons with learning disabilities as well as all other students who struggle academically. In addition to the $1,500.00 award, each recipient receives a one-year membership renewal to CCLD and CLD. This year’s recipients are attending the Math on the Planes Conference February 24-25 as guests of CCLD.

Terese Hutchins is finishing her Master’s degree at University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Donna Sobel comments in her letter of recommendation for Terese, It is obvious she loves the day-to-day interactions with students and staff. Students gravitate to her due to a genuine sense of rapport. Ms. Hutchins is keenly aware of the value of planning for the unique needs and backgrounds of her learners and this is consistently evident in her instructional practices.

Elisabeth O’Brien is currently enrolled at Metropolitan State College and she is the current president of the student chapter for CEC/CLD.

Dr. Diane Carroll states in a letter of recommendation for Elisabeth, She has a strong commitment to the field of education and her dedication to students is remarkable. She demonstrates professionalism, collegiality, and diligence.