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Southwest Florida Music Education Center offers teacher training

Free monthly sessions through April help arts educators work with students who learn differently

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) offers teacher trainings monthly in February, March and April. The sessions, led by SWFLMEC’s partner, the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education (BIAAE), teach best practices for arts educators for students who learn differently.

Sessions will be held virtually from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday Feb. 16, March 30 and April 27. The training is free, but registration is required in order to receive the meeting link.

“In addition to reaching neurodivergent students through our certificate programs, we understand the important impact we can have on arts education overall as ambassadors of inclusive teaching approaches for students with disabilities,” said Jennifer Clark, SWFLMEC executive director. “Through our partnerships, we can bring the community access to cutting-edge arts education programs.”

In the fall, the BIAAE and SWFLMEC offered a free two-day intensive training for local music educators. The purpose of this training was to cultivate inclusivity and improved learning for neurodivergent musicians at every age. Teachers gathered virtually and were led by Berklee professionals.

The BIAAE training equips educators with a combination of evidence-based practices in special education and pedagogical approaches in music education. Sessions help educators meet each student where they are by employing adaptations, accommodations and modifications in their teaching approaches and classroom activities. BIAAE is an international leader in professional development and pre-service music educator training in accessible music education.

The two-hour sessions are open to local educators of children in pre-K through adult learners in instrumental and vocal music, visual art, dance, theater and musical theater and tactile art. The sessions are also designed for teachers working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, speech and language disorders, Down syndrome, students who have been affected by trauma and more.

This fall, SWFLMEC began offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for neurodivergent students. The program is a partnership initiative with the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Consulting Director of Mental Health

In her role as consulting director of mental health, Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor will provide behavioral and program support to student musicians and staff. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL, Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs. An experienced, independent, motivational leader, she is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of change through music and the arts. She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.