The State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education in collaboration with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) annually offers a professional development series to guide and support personnel serving in an administrative capacity in a school district. Each year school administrators from around the state have the opportunity to participate in training sessions designed to inform and support them in the area of special education. Many sessions are appropriate for both general education as well as special education administrators. Having general and special education administrators participate helps inform and implement unified policies, procedures and practices to ensure improved outcomes for all students.
The following sessions are examples of those currently being offered as professional development resources. Session details may be viewed by following the included links. Please watch the Bureau Bulletin for updates and additions to professional development options and opportunities as the summer progresses.
New requirements regarding professional development in the areas of special education and individualized education programs (IEPs) were passed in the 2012 session of the Connecticut General Assembly and the June 12, 2012 Special Session. Beginning July 1, 2013, as part of the annual 18 hours of professional development that each school district is required to make available to all certified employees, information on the following topics should be provided. The first bullet applies to all teachers; the second bullet applies only to special education teachers who have positions requiring special education endorsements:
- For all certified teachers: “…the growth and development of exceptional children, including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education, including, but not limited to, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities, and methods for identifying, planning for and working effectively with special needs children in a regular classroom, including, but not limited to, implementation of student individualized education programs…” [Public Act 12-173, Section 3 (a)(3)]
- For special educators in a position requiring special education endorsements: “…training in the implementation of student individualized education programs and the communication of individualized education program procedures to parents or guardians of students who require special education and related services for certified employees with an endorsement in special education who hold a position requiring such an endorsement . . .” [Public Act 12-2, Section 138(b)(5)]
No specific minimum number of hours of professional development are required to address the two areas above. As part of each district’s planning of professional development, we urge district administrators, directors of special education and teachers’ representatives to meet to consider effective ways to include these two areas of information and training in the professional development provided for all educators and special educators.
Further information will be released by the CSDE and the State Board of Education as part of new guidelines related to professional learning.