Director of Professional Learning and Organizational Development
Office: 814-940-0223 Ext. 1320
Office: 814-695-5643 Ext. 4306
Office: 814-940-0223 Ext. 1386
DR. MEGAN HORSH
Office: 814-695-5643 Ext. 3327
Office: 814-262-7392 Ext. 4314
Office: 814-472-7690 Ext. 2304
Office: 814-695-5643 Ext. 3306
Office: 814-262-7392 Ext. 4305
DR. AMY WOOMER
Chief Education Officer
Office: 814-940-0223 Ext. 1372
Office: 814-262-7392 Ext. 4302
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 providing the appropriate framework and guidance while recommending possible strategies/devices for a trial and/or implementation. A consultant may provide assistance in securing devices to be used on a trial basis as well as providing training and guidance for operation and implementation of devices and strategies. A consultant provides support for the students, teachers, parents, paraeducators, and administrators while using these devices on loan. Information provided by the consultant may be utilized during IEP development and for implementation of goals, objectives, specially designed instruction, and support for school personnel (including administration). Information may be provided for families, students, paraeducators, day care providers and therapists to ensure appropriate implementation and generalization of AT utilization.
Trainings are available and can be developed according to the needs of the students and team. Examples of trainings that can be offered include: AT Considerations, Communication Strategies, Technology Accessibility, and Specific Device Trainings. Assistive Technology Roundtables are held to network and provide resource opportunities. Additionally, device representatives will be coordinated to provide additional support and resources during the annual Assistive Technology Expo, held at a location near you!
AT consultation is geared toward not only meeting the needs of targeted students, but also for building the local capacity for implementation of the AT process at your district. AT team members may include parents/students (as appropriate), teachers, speech therapists, paraeducators and administrators. On-site training is offered at the request of the specific team and 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: Breanne Venios
School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (SWPBIS)
School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) is a proactive approach to discipline that promotes appropriate student behavior and increased learning. SWPBIS is a research-based framework that is based upon a three-tiered model. IU8 consultants will support local districts teams with developing their comprehensive system of behavior support. Training at each tier will focus on developing a system of support. All training will be provided to a small core leadership team for each of the three respective tiers.
Social and Emotional Learning
Social and Emotional Learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (CASEL). SEL develops “emotional intelligence,” which has been demonstrated to have a greater impact on life success than IQ (Goleman).
IU8 consultants will provide training and support to districts around 4 key strategies that promote SEL.
Free standing lessons with explicit instruction
General teaching practices that create classroom and school-wide conditions that facilitate and support
Integration of skills instruction and practices within the context of the academic curriculum
Guidance to administrators and school leaders on how to create policies and organizational structures
Face-to-face or online positive classroom management training is available to district staff.
IU8 consultants will provide onsite, one-to-one consultation and/or coaching, based on evidence-based classroom management practices to teachers. IU8 consultants will also customize training and consultations that address classroom management and behavioral interventions. This training can be provided in a face-to-face or on-line format. IU8 consultants will also provide onsite consultation and/or coaching in a one-on-one setting, to assist with the implementation of evidence-based classroom management practices.
Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI)
IU8 continues to offer behavior management and physical intervention strategies through Crisis Prevention Institute’s certification program, Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI). IU8 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.
IU8 is able to provide NCI training for all education staff within IU8 school districts. Trainings are offered at IU8 Office locations and can also be facilitated at district locations when there are at least 10 participants. Trainings include the following:
Initial Training – This training is for anyone who never had Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training, or anyone who let his/her certification expire. The training is a 10-hour training that takes place over two days.
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.
With the ongoing need to reach students with behavior deficits, it has become increasingly important for educators to understand behavior and implement strategies to manage it effectively. IU8 offers training devoted specifically to de-escalating disruptive behavior. This 2-3 hour training focuses on using de-escalation techniques as a method of prevention and communication as a key component in de-escalating an intense 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, Dr. Megan Horsh, & Brad Theys
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 staff provides training and support to grade level, building and district teams in implementing inclusive practices. PASA training and implementation support can be provided to paraeducators, teachers, and administrators in understanding and administering the assessment and the DLM platform. Training for inclusion relies heavily on the principles of Universal Design for Learning in order to broaden mindsets of inclusion. Additional layers of training are offered to target areas including: co-teaching, effective teaching principles, differentiated instruction, 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. Consultation is available to teams throughout all phases of implementation.
Contact: Andrea Zern
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: Brad Theys & Sonia Schilling-Mansour
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 and 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 instruction and intervention within all tiers (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 MTSS Lending Library. Request access to the MTSS Lending Library
Contact: Dr. Megan Horsh, Amanda Williamson, and Breanne Venios
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