Shortly after entering the special education field, Jason Dore began volunteering with the New York Special Olympics, and, for the past several years, he’s been assisting in the floor hockey tournament, medal ceremony, and other festivities.
“I also get a chance each year to watch many of the games in the tournament, which are always very exciting,” says Jason, a sports fan and athlete who has played everything from baseball to basketball and volleyball since his childhood. “It’s a really cool event to be a part of.”
Jason became interested in special education during his years at St. Thomas Aquinas College where he majored in social sciences and minored in education. Today, he is a teaching assistant at Rockland BOCES and a student once again at STAC where he is pursuing a master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in childhood education and special education.
Jason credits the social sciences program at STAC for preparing him to pursue a career in teaching by providing the foundations of a broad liberal arts education. He also appreciates the close-knit academic community where he received personal guidance from faculty mentors.
“STAC is special because of the attention each student is given by professors,” he says. “Because of the small class sizes, I felt that my professors truly cared about my success.”
A central focus of Jason’s work is to help his students make progress with their social and learning skills through instructional programs that focus on math, ELA, and communication. By working with them one on one, he’s made positive connections that have reinforced his passion for education. The most rewarding part of his career, he says, is watching his students make significant strides in their education.
“Special education is something I just started working in and I ended up loving it,” he says. “Carli, one of the classroom teachers I’ve worked with and my mentor, has had the biggest influence on me staying in that field and deciding to pursue it long-term. Having the opportunity to witness a talented teacher run a classroom every day is the best way for me to improve my own teaching.”
As an undergraduate student at STAC, Jason enjoyed extracurricular activities that fostered friendships and helped him develop critical leadership skills. He served as president of the Commuter Connection Club, and completed levels two and three of STAC’s LEAD Student Leadership Series.
His major in social sciences also sparked Jason’s interest in traveling and studying in the U.S. and abroad, experiences that he says had a “major impact” on his education. One of his favorite courses, Native American History & Resistance, included a service learning trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In collaboration with the volunteer organization Re-Member, he and his classmates worked on community projects, learned from members of the Oglala Lakota tribe about their culture and issues they faced on the reservation, and participated in cultural activities.
For an International Law course, Jason trekked through London, Amsterdam, and Brussels, where he learned about the European government and visited historical sites.
“Both of these trips helped me learn about different cultures firsthand, which I think is the best form of education,” he says. “The Pine Ridge trip in particular was especially meaningful since I was able to talk to local residents about their culture and hear about things from their perspective.”