Training and Consultation
Assistive technology services are provided to support the 35 school districts, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 programs, and Early Intervention (Birth-3) in the four county IU8 area by providing the following support: receiving district referrals for students that may be in need of assistive technology services or devices; providing an assessment of a child's needs for assistive technology. A consultant supports the team by recommending strategies/devices to be used on a trial basis and helps to secure devices to be used on a trial basis. A consultant provides support for the students, teachers, parents, paraeduators, and administrators while using these devices on loan. This support includes, but is not limited to, training, troubleshooting, acquiring equipment, repairing equipment and providing resources. Assistance in IEP development and implementation of goals, objectives, specially designed instruction, support for school personnel (including administration), families, students, paraeducators, day care providers and therapists is also provided and/or organized by the assistive technology consultant.
Trainings are available and developed according to the needs of the students. Examples of trainings currently being offered: Visual Strategies, Low Tech Communication Strategies and Specific Device Trainings. A company representative offers the specific device trainings with the assistive technology consultant providing assistance. The consult arranges the trainings. Trainings occupy one full day. Trainings are typically offered at one of the IU8 offices and are opened to teams. The team may include parent/student (as appropriate), teachers, speech therapists, paraeducators and administrators. Trainings are also offered on-site for specific teams. These trainings may be a full day, half-day, or a few hours depending on the needs of the specific team. On-site trainings are offered at the request of the specific team. These trainings are provided by the assistive technology consultant and, when appropriate, a company representative. On-site trainings may also be conducted in the student's home, when appropriate.
Contact: Andrea Zern
Autism consultation service will be provided in the form of individual, staff, and/or parent training and technical assistance concerning the recommendation and implementation of research-based instructional strategies that have proven successful within students with Autism.
Contact: Julie Della
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff provides consultation and facilitation for teams in developing school-wide and individual behavior support plans for school districts.
Trainings and Guided Practice are available to teams, special education and general education teachers, paraeducators, administrators, social workers, psychologists, agencies, and parents. The trainings are layered in order to build capacity at the local level. Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff work with the districts to develop a research base approach in order to enable them to make decisions that are appropriate for them and keeping with best practice.
The first level of trainings for administrators, special and general education staff deals with school-wide effective behavior support. This allows the district to target a particular building, look at both qualitative and quantitative data and use that information to design instruction, build a support system, and develop a climate conductive for all children to learn. The next level looks at targeted interventions for at-risk behavior. At this level, the Intermediate Unit trains building staff, parents and agency personnel in prevention and intervention strategies designed to main the students in the least restrictive environment. The last level addresses Individual Support Plans for intensive and chronic behavior. At each level, data are collected and progress is monitored and utilized to help make decisions on how to support students, with the goal being to maintain the student in the least restrictive environment. parents are included at each level and additional training is provided to families through collaboration with outside agencies. Training is provided with follow-up guided practice by an educational consultant.
Contact: Don Arotin, Mark DeRubeis, Megan Horsh, Brad Theys
EARLY INTERVENTION SUPPORT
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff provides training and technical assistance for Head Starts, Child Care Facilities, Parents, Early Intervention Programs, Non-Public Schools and Preschools, School Districts, Intermediate Unit and District Paraeducators.
Training and technical assistance is provided for staff in early childhood settings (Birth-5) in the areas of Inclusion of Special Needs Children, Differentiated Instruction, Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, Typical Child Development, Literacy and Language Development, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, and Early Childhood Assessment. Technical assistance is provided in the areas of Adaptations to the General Education Classroom, Behavior Support and Assessment. Coaching is provided for classrooms using Competent Learning Model Curriculum and Assessment.
Contact: Susan Knarr, Julie Della
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff provides training and support to grade level, building and district teams in implementing inclusive practices. Trainings are provided on the PASA to prepare teachers, paraeducators, and administrators in understanding and administering the assessment. Trainings focus on differentiated instruction, co-teaching, effective teaching principles, progress monitoring and instructional strategies to support students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Consultation on all facets of the Special Education process may also be requested. Trainings can also be provided as a team approach through guided practice in the planning for inclusive practices. Consultation is available to teams throughout all phases of implementation.
Contact: Troy Eppley
INTERAGENCY COORDINATION AND TRANSITION
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff recognizes that students with disabilities have unique needs and require programs that emphasize special education and related services designed to prepare them for employment and independent living. Technical assistance and support can be provided to local school districts and IU programs:
- To help students and their families look at future plans beyond school involving work, post-secondary education and training and living arrangements
- To make connections and link students to appropriate agencies
- To make educational experiences directly related to reaching the desired outcomes of students and their families
- To optimize success once students exit school
These services include by are not limited to assessment, technical assistance to IEP teams regarding transition services, suggestions for vocational training, and the development of job placements and monitoring of work sites. Transition team members complete follow-up studies for assigned school districts to assist them in local Transition Councils and serve as a liaison between school districts and agencies.
In response to requests, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff develops and provides training and technical assistance to Alternative Education Programs, Partial Hospitalization Programs, and families with students in these programs on transition to adulthood for adolescents with disabilities. This includes inservicing and technical assistance to assist families and staff in planning for students who are transitioning from these programs to the home school district. Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 continues to provide technical assistance and support as needed to districts seeking to apply for grants and implement transition programs.
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff provides technical assistance and training resources to assist school districts in effectively overseeing the provision of FAPE and monitoring the progress of students with supportive services from outside agencies. This assistance and support is viewed as ongoing, not as a series of one-time events. The IU helps facilitate coordination and collaboration through participation in local Transition Councils.
As an outcome of joint meetings held with school districts, local providers, parents, agencies, and Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, written material was developed for educators about mental health/behavioral programs, services and issues.
Interagency Coordination Contact: Mark DeRubeis
Transition Contact: Don Arotin
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 recognizes the valuable role of paraeducators in the classroom and school community. To assist special education paraeducators in meeting and maintaining highly qualified status, as specified in Chapter 14, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 facilitates PATTAN training opportunities and offers web-based training opportunities throughout each school year. These trainings offer Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 and school district paraeducators the opportunity to gain information and knowledge to effectively support students with disabilities in a variety of educational settings.
Contact: Jennifer Anderson
PARENT ENGAGEMENT TRAINING
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 sees families adn professionals working together as mutually respected equals. parents are invited to participate in the annual IU8 Department of Educational Programs and Services August Special Education Institute. parent training is also provided to any school as requested. trainings include a variety of areas such as developmental theory on reading in children; instructional strategies for parents; interactive activities for families to increase the students reading ability; reading strategies for parents; educational needs that parents can meet to increase their child's success in school; understanding IDEA and PA special education regulations; promoting classroom inclusion; and understanding and managing behavior with positive supports. In addition, the Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 Autism Assessment Team supports families of children with Autism and those suspected of a disorder in the Autism Spectrum.
Contact: Jennifer Anderson
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 is committed to providing interested districts with no-fee, customized support in the academic areas of reading, mathematics, and writing screening and intervention. In addition to on-site district support, series are offered annually at the IU in support of evidence-based instruction in reading, writing, and math.
Examples of training, consultation, and technical support provided by IU8 MTSS consultants include:
- Review and consultation in regards to core instruction in tier 1 (ensuring high-quality, standards-aligned core instruction with high numbers of student response opportunities and quality feedback)
- Training and on-going coaching for teachers and administration in the areas of formative assessment, effective questioning, administration and interpretation of universal screening and progress monitoring
- Access to applications for PaTTAN professional development series including stipend money in support of growing the capacity of the MTSS Team and purchase of new interventions
- Establishment and training of MTSS Leadership Team, Problem-Solving Team, and Grade-Level Teams
- Data analysis and interpretation including calculating student rate of improvement, percentile growth, and progress monitoring
- Assist in developing individualized and customized MTSS manual to specify procedures and resources to increase consistency and effectiveness
- Additional professional learning in the areas of intervention, assessment, system-level change, classroom coaching, PLC/blended learning/face-to-face opportunities customized to meet the district’s needs
- Lending of resources and assessments from the IU8 Lending Library
Contact: Dr. Laura Miller or Dr. Megan Horsh
SPECIAL EDUCATION LEADERSHIP
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 administrative staff provide leadership in the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education in accordance with IDEA and PA Regulations as well as in more specific areas such as IEP development, procedural safeguards, and confidentiality. Training, consultation, and technical assistance can be provided for parents, agencies, and professionals as well as non-professional district and IU staff. Consultation and technical assistance is available via the telephone and/or on-site visits.
For districts scheduled for compliance monitoring, consultation, technical assistance, and training will be available prior to as well as following the monitoring. Compliance related training is provided by PATTAN and IU staff.
Contact: Dr. Amy Woomer