A special education teacher for D.C. Public Schools, Demetria Clark is improving the lives of young people every day.
“My work centers on children in kindergarten through second grade who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” she says, “and I can already see the impact I’m having on my students.”
After completing her undergraduate degree at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Demetria chose to continue her education at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), where she could focus her research on early childhood education.
Thanks to support from the Mary Hatwood Futrell Scholarship, Demetria is excelling at GSEHD. She says that her GW education has taught her to “better educate at-risk youth in the nation’s capital and enhance the lives of students who cannot advocate for themselves.”
Since enrolling in GSEHD, Demetria has felt supported by professors like Jennifer Frey, an early childhood special education expert who “cares deeply about the success of her students and connects material from the classroom with the real world.”
For Demetria, who plans to work on providing early education intervention for at-risk infants and toddlers after graduation, real-world connections are important. For example, GSEHD’s family engagement course taught her how to “foster trusting relationships with my students’ parents.”
So far, Demetria’s work and education have already come together to spell success in the field. “My students’ academic progress, as well as attendance, has been on a steady incline since my enrollment in GW,” she says. — Sophie Ota, SMPA ’18