What Movement Means to the Student


In this episode of DanceCast, Silva interviews New York City-based movement educator Rachel McCaulsky, who describes how she had always wanted to teach special education, but her path led her on a professional dance track first. She eventually switched careers to public education through the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. To her surprise, her principal requested she teach movement and dance across multiple school sites instead of serve as a classroom teacher, so she became a dance educator to students with severe disabilities. That experience restructured how she thought about movement, what movement means to students, and what goals benefit them. The inquiry led Rachel to become passionate about writing dance curriculum that infuses academics and developing creative assessment tools.


Rachel McCaulsky smiling in a hallway

Photo by Nigel Persaud

Rachel McCaulsky (MSEL, MST, BFA) is the arts coordinator, remote learning unit coordinator, and movement teacher at P396K, a New York City Department of Education District 75 school servicing students with severe to profound disabilities. She incorporates movement into the school’s curriculum, creating units of study that fuse literacy and social studies with dance. Her movement units have been published multiple times in the NYC Department of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance. Rachel holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, a dual master’s degree in Childhood Education and Childhood Special Education, and a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in Dance. She has performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ailey II, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre.   

2 Responses to “What Movement Means to the Student”

  1. Yolanda Lopez-Head

    I have enjoyed all of these articles and as both retired educator with responsibilities for Special Education programs have found this one, along with the bio info, especially interesting. Thank you.

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