CASEPS Board of Directors
CASEPS is a nationwide organization that helps educators to meet the needs of nontraditional, cultural minority, and/or at-risk students. By creating supplemental educational standards and offering professional development for teachers, CASEPS gives educators the tools they need to effectively reach all learners.
Reggie Younger Jr., VRC
Sports Psychology Performance
Brianna Balch, MA
Teacher of The Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Minoritized Student Advocate
Assistant Director of Academic Affairs Rutgers University
Adriana Corona, Ed.S.
Bilingual School Psychology Early Learning
Virginia Commonwealth University, RUF
Lynn O’Brien, ABD
Counselor Supervision Buena Vista University
Director of Academics LaSalle University
CASEPS Leadership Team
Director of Social Justice Education and Outreach
(215) 701-3938 Ext. 4
Mission & Purpose
CASEPS believes that every student belongs in the classroom.
At-risk or nontraditional students face significant barriers to achievement in today’s educational system. These students must navigate a number of unique obstacles to success, from difficulty accessing financial aid programs to feelings of cultural alienation from the educational system as a whole.
CASEPS works to eliminate those barriers. Through its training institute, teachers across the United States learn how to reach all students with culturally relevant teaching and classroom community-building practices that embrace diverse cultural norms.
To achieve this broader goal, CASEPS creates standards and professional education programs geared toward the following objectives:
1. To Improve Learning Outcomes for All Students
The achievement gap is no secret. Historically, students from minority cultural backgrounds have achieved at a lower level than their white peers. That gap has narrowed overall in the past two decades, but it is nowhere near closed.
A significant part of this achievement gap comes from cultural mismatches between the student and the learning environment. Behavioral expectations fail to consider cultural norms in minority groups. Cultural assumptions about the role of teaching and learning are often at odds with the underlying structure of American education, which is itself an outgrowth of the dominant culture.
Through CASEPS, teachers from kindergarten through university-level learn what a culturally inclusive learning environment looks like. They receive a thorough grounding in supplemental standards that measure the cultural relevance of the classroom environment, curriculum, and instructional delivery. At the same time, each educator develops the skills and understanding they need to implement these standards.
2. To Create and Strengthen Feelings of Connectedness for Marginalized Populations in Higher Education
The institutional structure of higher education assumes significant support from the home, and many students from marginalized backgrounds lack that support. A first-generation student, for example, may struggle to fill out financial aid forms, as their parents can’t offer support based on personal experience.
Youth formerly in foster care are more likely to drop out of university studies by the end of their first year—and even more likely not to progress to graduation—than peers who were never in foster care. Even after adjusting for gender and race differences, the gap is substantial. The root cause is typically a lack of services and support, which needs-aware educators can recognize and account for in course expectations.
CASEPS also helps educators to serve another marginalized population in higher education, namely the mature nontraditional student. The construct of higher education typically assumes a traditional student profile: under 22, single, with no children. Yet adult learners may make up more than 40% of all college students in the US at any given time.
University systems expect all students to be able to meet outside of class, complete homework with a quick turnaround, and perform other tasks more suited to residential undergraduates in their late teens. However, many mature students face childcare responsibilities, work schedules, and other adult responsibilities, often in combination with financial struggles that higher educators may not recognize. This culture can make nontraditional students feel disconnected and unseen in higher education.
CASEPS teaches educators how to welcome all students into the classroom experience. Techniques include the application of realistic learning and study methods, as well as the creation of a classroom environment that honors all experiences. Teachers learn how to invite students’ personal and cultural lives into the classroom, rather than simply “acknowledging” those differences.
3. To Increase the Proficiency and Skills of K-12 and Higher Education Instructors Teaching in Face-to-Face and Online Spaces
CASEPS is committed to helping educators reach all students in all environments, including in-person and virtual classrooms.
The common thread in all CASEPS standards is that they support the success and inclusion of all students and provide a pathway for marginalized, racialized and under-represented students to succeed in systems that were not traditionally built for their success. For that reason, many CASEPS standards are highly adaptable to online formats. Others are specifically designed to meet the challenges of those formats, which reach different ethnic groups in different ways.
CASEPS Standards address all relevant areas of competence including: