Changing Lives on the Border: Preparing Rural, Culturally Responsive Special Educators

Patricia J. Peterson, Alma M. Sandigo, Susan E. Stoddard, Kathleen Abou-Rjaily, Judith Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Arizona teacher education programs are largely concentrated in urban or suburban areas, with the majority of practicum experiences and student teaching placements located in the same metropolitan areas. However, in Arizona, 35% of K–12 students are served by the 135 school districts that qualify as “rural.” In the extreme southwest corner of Arizona bordering Mexico, 70% of these rural K–12 students are of Hispanic background with Spanish as their first language, and 26.7% of these Hispanic families are living below the poverty line. The “Grow Your Own” programs described here, developed through university–school district partnerships, are specifically designed to prepare culturally responsive educators to meet the needs and ultimately improve the lives of students with disabilities in southwestern Arizona rural border communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalRural Special Education Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • English learners
  • border communities
  • cultural and linguistic diversity
  • rural special education
  • teacher preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development


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