The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an international professional association dedicated to improving the educational success of children with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.
A senior from Walkerton, Ind., and a 2009 graduate of Oregon-Davis High Keiper has student taught in special education classes at two central Indiana schools—last fall, at Indianapolis Public Schools No. 91, and, since Jan. 14, at Allisonville Elementary.
“Karly’s a natural. She has a great presence and has developed good rapport with the kids,” said Cynthia Grillo, the cooperating teacher who shares her Allisonville classroom with Keiper. “She finds out individual children’s interests and uses that to make learning meaningful to them.
“You can see the joy she has in doing that,” said Grillo, who has taught in special education for 11 years. “She’s inspired me to see [aspects of teaching] in a new light.”
The CEC award also recognized Keiper’s involvement in a CEC student chapter—she is co-president of Butler’s chapter—and her advocacy for special needs children beyond the classroom.
Last year, Keiper recruited Butler and community volunteers to join her in mentoring students in the Indianapolis U.S. Dream Academy, an afterschool program for children with an incarcerated parent and youth at risk of incarceration.
At Keiper’s urging, members of Sigma Nu fraternity at Butler became mentors. So did some of her co-workers at Brooksource, an Indianapolis staffing agency. Brooksource employees put together and donated bicycles to academy students, and have adopted the academy as an ongoing philanthropic cause.
Keiper declines credit for the projects. “I was just the facilitator,” she said. “I have two very supportive loving parents, a sincere passion for teaching children, and would like for all children to have the support I’ve received in my life.”
She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi Education Fraternity, Athletes in Action Bible study, and the College of Education Dean’s Advisory Board. She has served as vice president for member education for Delta Gamma Fraternity.
She has collaborated with other Butler students—representing education, art, and pharmacy studies—to write a book, He Huffed and He Puffed But…, to be published in May. Keiper and Jennifer Goshert were the primary authors of the book, which educates young people about juvenile asthma.
After graduation in May, she hopes to teach special education in grades 4-6, using methods she learned in COE to integrate the arts into classroom instruction. She’s has particular interest in teaching students with autism.
“A lot people view students in special education as someone to be sympathized with,” Keiper said. “I don’t feel that way. My students are intelligent and talented. They achieve in different ways from other students, so [the teacher has] must work to learn their language. They just need more people to be their cheerleaders.”