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Immaculata principal receives national award for inclusion


Dana Corcoran, principal of Immaculata Catholic School in Durham, has been awarded the 2016 Dandy Award from the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion.

“She has done this, not with any fanfare or special program, but because it is our faith,” Beth Foraker, the organization’s founder, said.

The National Catholic Board of Full Inclusion promotes inclusion in Catholic schools for students with disabilities. The board’s mission is to inspire schools to become inclusive by providing educational research, real life success stories and mentors for schools, families and teachers.

Immaculata Catholic School, a National Blue Ribbon School serving students in Pre-K through Grade 8 is located in Durham. Dana Corcoran has been principal of Immaculata since 2009.

During her tenure, inclusion opportunities have included differentiated classroom instruction, special and gifted educational resources, current technology and a growing S.T.E.M. program.

“When you talk to Dana, she lights up about the resources the school has to offer,” parent Cara Ragusa said. “She is so passionate about giving all of God's children the chance to learn. And [she] has a willingness to try to accommodate each student.”

At Immaculata, teachers are trained and strongly encouraged to differentiate instruction to each student’s ability, learning style and interests.

"As a former special educator, Dana Corcoran places a premium on resource and inclusion support,” Kerry Schepers, resource director, said. “Dana has created a school environment of high expectations and acceptance for all students as well as an attitude among teachers that we can work together to serve students with learning and language differences.”

“Mrs. Corcoran has been steadfast in her support of educating all students, including those with special needs,” Dr. Mike Fedewa, superintendent of Diocese of Raleigh Schools, said. “Her approach to inclusion is one that all schools could model.”