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Rachel Anne Schles

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Special Education, Department of Special Education
Coordinator of Visual Disabilities Program, Department of Special Education

Rachel Anne Schles has taught students with visual impairments, including deafblindness, in pre-K, elementary, and secondary school settings. Her research and practical experiences focus on conducting high-quality assessments with students to inform specialized instruction and accommodation recommendations; improving opportunities for collaboration among teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) as well as collaboration between TVIs, students and schools; and the importance of gathering accurate local, state, and national data on students with visual impairments to inform program planning.

Dr. Schles is interested in how mixed-methods research can be used to shed light on critical issues surrounding students with visual impairments. Particularly, how accurate population data can lead to a better understanding of how students with visual impairments are identified to receive special education services, and how variations in states’ eligibility criteria are resulting in students being identified based on where they live, rather than on the severity of their disability. Additional research interests include professional development for pre- and in-service TVIs relating to assessment and instructional strategies.

Prior to receiving her doctorate, Dr. Schles worked as a TVI, with students placed across the educational continuum of specialized education programs (including schools for the blind or other special education settings due to students’ additional disabilities), students included in general and inclusive educational classrooms, and students in advanced/gifted education classes. Dr. Schles received the 2016 Teacher of the Year Award from the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Visual Impairments and Deafblindness.