February 10, 2023 3 min read
Chicopee Public Schools Expands Professional Development to Support Inclusive Instruction
Chicopee Public Schools Addresses Emergency Teacher License Training Requirements and Expands PD to Support Inclusive Instruction
Chicopee Public Schools in Massachusetts
Provide relevant, high-quality on-demand courses that special education teachers, school psychologists, and others can take during mandatory PD time. District leaders at Chicopee Public Schools were struggling to provide appropriate, useful, professional learning options for mandatory PD days when some staff members had planned PD, but others did not have anything specific assigned for them to do.
Provide all staff members with professional learning options to help them support diverse learners and students with challenging behavior. The district was seeing an increase in challenging student behaviors since the pandemic and wanted to better support their educators in utilizing evidence-based strategies and interventions for effective classroom and behavior management.
Provide support to help employees who are applying for emergency teacher licenses meet state training requirements. To address staffing shortages, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education allows those without a traditional teaching education to apply for an Emergency Academic Teacher License. Several of Chicopee Public Schools’ staff members were in the process of applying for Special Education Teacher Emergency Licenses and needed to fill mandatory requirements for training on topics such as educational terminology for students with mild to moderate disabilities, federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to special education, and more.
The district adopted Vector Solutions’ Inclusive Instruction & Interventions course library to:
- Fill the need for engaging, relevant, on-demand PD options that employees can participate in during their mandatory PD time.
- Provide training that also helps those who are applying for Special Education Teacher Emergency Licenses meet the state requirements.
- Provide support for staff members on managing challenging student behavior.
Chicopee Public Schools is now able to better meet its employees’ PD needs by:
- Expanding the options employees can choose from when deciding how to use their mandatory PD time.
- Providing relevant PD that can help all staff members, not just special education teachers and staff, understand how to better support diverse learners and manage challenging student behaviors.
- Helping those applying for emergency teacher licenses with training that will help them meet their state requirements. This in turn supports the district’s efforts to recruit and retain teachers and reduce special education staffing shortages.
Implementation Lesson from the Field:
Give employees high-quality options, and let them choose what interests them to obtain buy-in
Chicopee Public Schools first rolled out Vector’s Inclusive Instruction & Interventions courses to a small group as a pilot. It was so well received that it is now being offered district wide. One thing that has helped to increase buy-in was offering the courses as a choice, rather than a mandate, to those who needed options to fill mandatory PD time. Employees chose the courses because they found them interesting and relevant, not because they were required to, which made the training more impactful.
About Vector Solutions
Vector Solutions’ Inclusive Instruction & Interventions course library includes more than 100 online, expert-authored courses to help teachers, administrators, and paraeducators meet the needs of diverse learners and manage challenging behaviors. Course topics include:
- Managing Challenging Behavior
- Special Education Law
- Differentiated Instruction
- Restraint and Seclusion
- Trauma-Informed Practices
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- And More
Dr. Andrea Stolar
Director of Special Education, Chicopee Public Schools