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Training and Consultation


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

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

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


BEHAVIOR SUPPORT

School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (SWPBIS)

AIU8 TaC will support local districts teams in developing a comprehensive system of behavior support that will be tailored to meet schools’ needs. This will be done through utilization of the School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (SWPBIS) framework, a research-based, tiered system of support. SWPBIS is based upon a three-tiered model. Tier 1 (the Universal Tier) serves as the foundation upon which the other two tiers are built. Tier One training and development period is typically 3 to 5 full days over a 6 month to a year span. The training is provided to a small core leadership team that represents a broad population of the building staff.

Tier Two (Secondary Tier) provides targeted interventions to support students who are classified as “at risk,” and require more intervention than is typically provided within Tier One Universal support. Tier Two supports are delivered in small groups of students with similar skill deficits. Tier Three (Tertiary Tier) supports require the most intensive level of interven­tion and are designed for individuals with the most significant behavioral / emotional support needs. Training at the advanced tiers is provided to a small core team of individuals. The core team composition should consist of individuals who have behavioral expertise, administrative authority, and knowledge of the students. Advanced Tiers training will focus on the system development, intervention planning and delivery, universal screening, Functional Behavior Assessment, Positive Behavior Support Plans, and data-based decision making. The IU8 provides networking opportunities for districts at various stages of implementing SWPBIS for both staff teams and student teams.

Classroom Management

Face-to-face or online positive classroom management training can be provided to district staff.

AIU8 consultants will provide onsite, one-to-one consultation and/or coaching, based on evidence- based classroom management practices to teachers. AIU8 consultants will also provide customized training and consultation regarding classroom management and behavioral interventions. This training can be provided in a face-to-face or on-line form. AIU8 consultants will also provide onsite consultation and / or coaching in a one-on-one manner, based on evidence-based classroom management practice.

Behavior Management

AIU8 continues to offer behavior management / physical intervention strategies through Crisis Prevention Institute’s certification program, Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI). AIU8 consultants provide courses for beginners, as well as, refresher courses for those who wish to maintain their certification. Non-violent Crisis Intervention is a research-based, behavior management program that provides participants with the knowledge and strategies to effectively manage undesired behavior. These strategies are a framework for decision-making and problem solving to prevent, de-escalate, and safely respond to disruptive or physically aggressive behavior.

AIU8 is able to provide NCI training to all education staff in the districts that it serves. Trainings are offered at AIU8 Office locations and can also be facilitated at district locations, when there are at least 10 participants. Trainings include the following:

  1. Initial Training – this training is for anyone who never had Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training, or for anyone who let his/her certification expire. Participants can obtain their initial certification in a “2-Day, Initial” training, or participate in the “Flex/Hybrid” (blended learning) training. The “2-Day, Initial” training is a 12-hour training that takes place over two days. The “Flex/Hybrid” training takes place in two phases. In phase I, the participant must complete a 3-hour online training. In phase II, the participant must attend a 3-hour face-to-face training with one of AIU8’s certified NCI instructors.
  2. Refresher Training – this 3-hour face-to-face training is for anyone who is currently certified in NCI, and wants to renew their certification. Those who are certified in NCI must renew their certification annually, by participating in NCI Refresher training.

De-escalation Training

With the ongoing need to reach students with behavior deficits, it has become increasingly important for educators to understand behavior and how to manage it effectively. AIU8 offers a 3-hour training devoted specifically to de-escalating disruptive behavior. This training will focus on de-escalation techniques as a method of prevention.Communication is a key component in the ability to de-escalate any situation.Participants will learn to recognize the signs of escalating behavior and discuss strategies that can prevent, or de-escalate, an individual who is experiencing behavioral difficulties.

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


INCLUSIVE PRACTICES

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:

  1. To help students and their families look at future plans beyond school involving work, post-secondary education and training and living arrangements
  2. To make connections and link students to appropriate agencies
  3. To make educational experiences directly related to reaching the desired outcomes of students and their families
  4. 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


PARAEDUCATOR TRAINING

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


MULTI-TIERED SYSTEMS OF SUPPORT (MTSS)

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