Equity. Excellence. Education.

Professional Learning

Official 2016-17 SERC Professional Learning Listings.

SERC believes the most effective learning opportunities are learner-driven, in a variety of formats. We offer comprehensive in-district technical assistance and support, online courses and learning modules, resources through the SERC Library and website, and other means to serve the unique needs of the learner.

This page features our pre-scheduled learning opportunities, with specific dates, for those who wish to plan ahead to attend in person. Registration is required. For anytime online learning, click the “Online Courses” tab.


What Is Assistive Technology (AT) and How Can It Help My Child? - Secondary - Session B (In Spanish)

April 4, 2017

If you are a parent of a middle or high school student with special needs, you have likely heard the term "assistive technology" or "AT," but you might not be familiar with exactly what that means or how it can enhance your child's learning in school, at home, or in the community. In this session, parents/guardians will learn about the scope and functions of AT, and actually handle many of the low-, mid-, and high-tech devices (from SERC's AT Corner in the SERC Library) that can enhance student learning.

Participants will have the opportunity to share their questions and experiences with other families participating in the session. Parents will discover how they and the rest of the Planning and Placement Team can determine their child’s need for AT; how to choose AT devices and systems that would make a positive difference in their child’s learning; how to advocate for providing their child with an AT device or product he or she needs; the child’s legal right to AT equipment; and how AT can help a student achieve Secondary Transition goals and objectives.

This session is a collaboration among SERC, the CT Parent Information and Resource Center (CT PIRC), and the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC).

Time: 5:30 p.m.

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Creating Measurable Behavioral/Social Emotional IEP Goals & Objectives

April 4, 2017

This professional development opportunity covers how to write effective behavioral and social-emotional goals and objectives for individualized education programs (IEPs). The goals must be SMART -- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely -- and meet the rigorous expectations set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004).

Goals for behavior, however, are often vague and left up to interpretation. So this session will help participants write clearer, measurable, and attainable behavior goals to better track student progress; identify appropriate accommodations, modifications, and supports needed to attain those goals; and foster student success by helping them internalize the skills that are relevant in their everyday life.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Multi-day Event: 4/4/2017, 4/5/2017

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Special Education Professional Learning Modules: Developing IEP Goals and Objectives Aligned with the CT Core Standards

April 6, 2017

According to the Federal Office of Special Education Programs, ensuring all children, including children with disabilities, are held to rigorous academic standards and high expectations is a shared responsibility for all of us. To help make certain that children with disabilities are held to high expectations and have meaningful access to Connecticut’s core state standards, an individualized education program (IEP) for an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be aligned with the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of best practices in developing student IEP’s through the lens of the CT Core Standards.

Time: 8:30 a.m.

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PBIS Info Session

April 7, 2017

This session provides an overview of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and the district and school application process for PBIS implementation.

PBIS is a systems-based approach to adopting and implementing evidence-based practices in order to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. It emphasizes the use of data to determine effective behavioral practices and develop a school-wide system, using a continuum of supports ranging from universal to individualized.

This session is intended for districts that would like to begin implementing PBIS at their schools and for individual schools that have not implemented PBIS yet, although other schools in their district may have. It is also open to schools or districts that have existing behavioral programs and are looking to incorporate them into PBIS.

Participants will learn how PBIS works to improve overall school climate, maximize academic achievement for all students, and address both non-classroom and classroom management/disciplinary issues, as well as the specific needs of students with severe emotional and behavioral concerns.

Time: 8:30 a.m.

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Together We Will 24th Annual Conference

April 21, 2017

The theme of the 24th annual early childhood conference is "Together We Will Address Racial Equity in Early Childhood." Conference presenters will engage participants in meaningful discussion and share evidence-based tools and resources that ensure the health, education and well-being of families and children ages 0-5.

Walter S. Gilliam, Ph.D. of the Yale University Child Study Center will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Gilliam, director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, will discuss "Preschool expulsions and suspensions, implicit bias, and what we need to do in the search for racial and gender equity."

Other highlights include sessions on: "Exploring Racial Equity through Personal Reflection," "How to Achieve Health Equity," "Addressing Racial Inequity through the Lens of the CHILD," and "Relationships Matter for Young Children: Connecticut’s Early Childhood Consultation Partnerships." Presenters include Ingrid M. Canady, SERC’s Executive Director; Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-founder of Embrace Race; Chin R. Reyes, Ph.D., associate research scientist at the Yale Child Study Center and Edward Zigler Center; Michele Stewart-Copes, CEO of SEET Consultants, LLC (System for Education Equity & Transition); and Wendy Waithe Simmons, Ph.D., Director of Development, Community Affairs and Equity at SERC.

Time: 8:00 a.m.

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Special Education Professional Learning Modules: “Best Practices” in PPT Facilitation that Lead to Effective IEP Development

April 25, 2017

“Best Practices” in PPT Facilitation that Lead to Effective IEP Development At times, PPT meetings may be challenging for a variety of reasons. However, there are measures that may be taken before and during a PPT meeting that may help in avoiding these challenging situations. Participants in this session will learn about a variety of proven practices designed to assist school teams in facilitating organized PPT meetings focused on the special education student and the development of a comprehensive IEP.

Time: 8:30 a.m.

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Finding and Using Low-Cost/No-Cost Technologies for the Classroom - Session A

April 26, 2016

This learning opportunity will introduce educators and families of students with disabilities and learning differences to low-cost/no-cost technologies that support learning in school and at home.

The Internet and app stores are full of resources, software, and apps that are of little cost or entirely free. Participants will learn how many of these valuable technologies support student learning by providing alternative means of accessing the curriculum. These technologies include open source software, free and low-cost apps for iPad and Chrome book, Google apps, and free literacy and teaching resources and websites.

This training will provide context and examples for the use of these technologies. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to explore SERC’s new Assistive Technology Corner that features displays and demonstrations of various assistive technologies.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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Math for Everyone: Strengthening Tier I Instruction

April 26, 2017

Math classes are increasingly comprised of students with widely varying skill levels. Teachers are challenged to effectively provide access to the math curriculum for every student. This conference will help secondary math teachers meet this challenge.

The keynote speaker, Max Ray-Riek from the Math Forum at NCTM, will address the importance of using rich tasks to move students toward mathematical goals. A math team from a local school will present its math program challenges and successes. The afternoon will include time for facilitated planning for math teachers/teams to begin planning how to embed some of these techniques into their own curricula and classrooms.

Math educators will walk away from this conference with concrete research-based ideas that will help strengthen their Tier I math instruction.

Time: 8:30 a.m.

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Proud to Be Me, and Other Social Studies Themes in Early Childhood to Promote Positive Self Image

April 27, 2017

Positive self-image fosters achievement in all learners, especially students of color. Families often socialize their children in ways that promote racial and ethnic pride, high expectations for learning, and positive behavior. As educators serve the increasingly diverse needs of children and families, they must be prepared to support children’s growing curiosity about themselves, other people, and the communities in which they live and learn.

Even in early childhood settings, learning about social studies can build on the family’s contribution to their child’s development of self-image. This two-day professional learning opportunity provides support and time for early childhood professionals developing social studies units for preschool and kindergarten children.

Participants will learn about understanding and supporting positive self-image and identity and the role of family for all children; how to implement equitable learning and anti-bias education; and opportunities to develop a social studies curriculum and units of study using the CT Early Learning and Development Standards.

Each participant is asked to bring lesson plan templates and/or a non-fiction or fiction picture book they wish to incorporate into the social studies unit they seek to create.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Multi-day Event: 3/23/2017, 5/17/2017

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Middle School Math: Making Meaning with Manipulatives

April 28, 2017

Elementary math classes often incorporate manipulatives to help students extend their math reasoning from concrete to abstract. Too often, this practice is abandoned in the higher grades. Yet the use of manipulatives by learners of all ages is an effective way to increase conceptual understanding of math concepts, as called for by the Connecticut Core Standards (CCS) for Math. Manipulatives can be especially useful for English learners, struggling math learners, and any student who may be disengaged.

In this full-day session, middle school educators will be introduced to fraction bars and algebra tiles. Participants will practice using these manipulatives and develop strategies to incorporate them into lessons aligned with the CCS.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

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